Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairnfield 790m north west of Stoneyhurst

A Scheduled Monument in South Tawton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7103 / 50°42'37"N

Longitude: -3.9149 / 3°54'53"W

OS Eastings: 264893.011459

OS Northings: 91826.001164

OS Grid: SX648918

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.9N3D

Mapcode Global: FRA 27P6.GLX

Entry Name: Cairnfield 790m north west of Stoneyhurst

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1999

Last Amended: 24 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017284

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28704

County: Devon

Civil Parish: South Tawton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: South Tawton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a cairnfield situated on a gentle east facing slope of
Cosdon Hill. The cairnfield survives as a tight cluster of ten mounds
standing between 0.3m and 1.2m high. Six of the mounds are circular in shape
with their diameters varying between 3m and 5m and the remainder are ovoid
with lengths between 4m and 5.5m. A short length of rubble walling measuring
1m wide and up to 0.25m high lies immediately west of the cairnfield and may
represent a broadly contemporary unfinished field boundary. In the same area,
another unfinished field boundary is represented by four short lengths of
drystone walling foundations. This boundary is of historic date and
illustrates the method used to enclose moorland.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and,
because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most
complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The
great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence
for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards.
The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites,
land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later
industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the
pattern of land use through time. Cairnfields are concentrations of three or
more cairns sited within close proximity to one another; they may consist of
burial cairns or cairns built with stone cleared from the land surface
(clearance cairns). Round funerary cairns were constructed during the Bronze
Age (c.2000-700 BC) and consisted of earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes
ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. The
considerable variation in the size of cairnfields and their longevity as a
monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and
social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The cairnfield 790m north west of Stoneyhurst survives well and contains
important archaeological and environmental information relating to the
monument and the landscape in which it was formed. The adjacent unfinished
walls are of interest because they illustrate the method by which moorland was
enclosed in the historic period.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1997)

Source: Historic England

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