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The Widow's Tenement medieval settlement and prehistoric settlement sites, Lundy

A Scheduled Monument in Area not comprised in any Parish-Lundy Island, Devon

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Latitude: 51.1898 / 51°11'23"N

Longitude: -4.6695 / 4°40'10"W

OS Eastings: 213554.255715

OS Northings: 146785.714603

OS Grid: SS135467

Mapcode National: GBR GTVJ.V66

Mapcode Global: VH2S4.0CS7

Entry Name: The Widow's Tenement medieval settlement and prehistoric settlement sites, Lundy

Scheduled Date: 17 June 1970

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017646

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30357

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Area not comprised in any Parish-Lundy Island

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Lundy

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes a diamond-shaped enclosure
of about 7ha containing medieval farm buildings and enclosures, close to which
is a complex of terraced fields and a medieval longhouse 100m to the south
east, which extends down the slope of the cliff above Threequarterwall Bay.
Within the enclosure are the remains of huts, cairns and associated field
systems of Bronze Age and Iron Age date.
The enclosure known as the Widow's Tenement is defined by a double row of
granite uprights which probably represent a turf bank which is no longer
visible. Within this enclosure, in the middle of its northern half, are
the remains of a medieval longhouse with associated buildings and stock
enclosures, while some traces of interior walls can be found on the western
side. The entire area within the enclosure contains narrow ridge and furrow
representing traces of medieval cultivation. Outside the enclosure on the
northern side there is a small 19th century enclosure and stock pound attached
to the wall.
Other medieval elements of the complex include a rabbit warren on the north
eastern side, intersected by the enclosure wall. Also at the south western
corner is a stone walled annexe measuring about 70m by 40m and a similar
annexe is attached to the north western corner where there was an entrance
way to the settlement. At the eastern corner is a spring which has been
enclosed to form a well with a small building, possibly a well head, above it.
At this point the wall uprights have been splayed to allow the passage of the
water out over the cliff. There are five millstones scattered within the
Across the south eastern end of the enclosure is a substantial bank and ditch
from an earlier field system. Several large terraced field headlands, known as
lynchets, cross the interior and these are generally attributed the Iron Age
period. Close to the southern boundary, at the western end of the bank and
ditch are the remains of a hut circle settlement with two huts and an
enclosing wall. This is similar to Bronze Age settlements elsewhere on Lundy.
This enclosure is partly cut by the bank and ditch and therefore pre-dates its
construction. There are traces of two hut platforms on the north eastern side
of the enclosure about 30m to the north west of the warren. There are five
cairns scattered within the enclosure of which at least two are burial cairns
of the Bronze Age. The status of the others is undetermined.

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

Lundy is a small, steep sided island in the Bristol Channel, 16m north of
Hartland Point, north Devon. Aligned north-south, it is 6km long by 1km wide
and supports a predominately moorland vegetation. The 100m high cliffs and
tabular form give it a striking appearance, visible in clear weather from
parts of south west England and south Wales.
Lundy's remoteness and (until the 19th century construction of the Beach Road)
its inaccessibility, combined with a lack of shelter and cultivable soils, has
meant that it has escaped more recent occupation or development. It therefore
preserves a remarkable variety of archaeological sites from early prehistory
(c.8000 BC) onwards, representing evidence for habitation, fortification,
farming and industry. There are also archaeological remains in the waters
surrounding the island - over 150 shipwrecks are already recorded. Most of the
island's archaeology is well documented from detailed survey in the 1980s and

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the extensive south west Peninsula sub-Province of the
Northern and Western Province, an area climatically, culturally and physically
distinct from the rest of England. It includes varying terrains, from the
granite uplands, through rolling dissected plateaux to fertile clay lowlands
in the east. While nucleated settlements are present, notably in the Devon
lowlands and throughout the South Hams, many originated as small towns, and a
high proportion may be of later date. Excluding only the moorland masses, the
sub-Province is characterised by medium and high densities of dispersed
settlements; indeed, some of the former industrial areas had densities as high
as any in the country.
The medieval settlement known as Widow's Tenement is well preserved with
sustantial remains of all elements of the settlement surviving as identifiable
features. Earlier remains of a Bronze Age hut circle settlement and burial
cairns, as well as lynchets, indicate that Iron Age cultivation survives in
the enclosure providing evidence for human activity over 2000 years.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gardner, K, Archaeology of Lundy, (1972), 23-24
Langham, A M, Lundy Bristol Channel, (1960), 82
Title: The National Trust new survey of Lundy
Source Date: 1996

Source: Historic England

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