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Coaxial field system, associated and later remains at Throwleigh Common and Kennon Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Throwleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7 / 50°41'59"N

Longitude: -3.9059 / 3°54'21"W

OS Eastings: 265499.6565

OS Northings: 90655.3946

OS Grid: SX654906

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.BBFJ

Mapcode Global: FRA 27Q7.64Q

Entry Name: Coaxial field system, associated and later remains at Throwleigh Common and Kennon Hill

Scheduled Date: 27 October 1971

Last Amended: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018916

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28694

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Throwleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Throwleigh St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes the larger part of the
prehistoric coaxial field system known as Throwleigh Common, six broadly
contemporary settlements, a length of territorial reave separating the North
Teign and Cosdon prehistoric territories, at least 27 cairns, two lengths of
leat, three shelters, a building and two boundary stones.
The coaxial field system includes a large number of fields arranged on a
single prevailing axis, subdivided by transverse boundaries. Within the area
defined by the fields there are two settlements. The largest of these
survives as a scatter of at least 27 stone hut circles extending over the
western slopes of Throwleigh Common. The stone hut circles survive as
walls each surrounding a circular internal area with internal diameters
rangingfrom 3m up to 10.5m with the average being 6.7m. Some of the huts in
this settlement are amongst the most visually impressive on Dartmoor with ten
having walls standing above 1m high. Eighteen of the huts have visible
doorways, and 11 are attached or linked to the coaxial field system. The
second settlement includes a solitary stone hut circle situated at SX 65459050
which survives as a 5.5m diameter area defined on the western side by a 0.8m
wide and 0.6m high single orthostatic wall. The remaining settlements lie
outside the coaxial field system and the one at SX 64959012 includes six stone
hut circles associated with an area of irregular aggregate fields and
clearance cairns. To the south of this at SX 65078977 is a linear cluster of
at least eight unenclosed stone hut circles and near to these are two round
cairns. The fifth settlement includes two stone hut circles associated with an
enclosure and lengths of field wall leading from the nearby territorial reave.
The sixth settlement lies beside the Gallaven Brook and survives as a `D'-
shaped enclosure containing two stone hut circles.
Most of the cairns within the monument were probably formed as a result of
stone clearance, but some were certainly built for funerary purposes.
A large number of archaeological remains relating to the historic period
survive within the monument and amongst these are a length of the Bradford
Leat, which was constructed in the mid-16th century to serve a tinwork at
Bradford Pool. The leat is about 19.3km long, with one length remaining in
use, and other lengths within moorland surviving as an earthwork. Within the
monument, the leat averages 1.7m wide by 0.7m deep with an associated bank
measuring 2m wide and 0.6m high. The length of leat within the monument is
known to have become disused after 1697. A number of buildings of historic
date survive within the monument, and whilst most of these are shelters
associated with upland grazing the structure at SX65549044 may have been a
dwelling. Two post-medieval boundary stones situated on the territorial reave
were erected to denote the edge of Throwleigh parish. One of these stones no
longer stands on the parish boundary and may therefore provide information
concerning adjustment of the boundary in historic times.

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,
major 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. Elaborate complexes of fields and
field boundaries are some of the major features of the Dartmoor landscape. The
reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced
during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone
banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of
kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and
watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher
moor and defining the watersheds of adjacent river systems. Occupation sites
and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated
with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other
monument types provide important information on the diversity of social
organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric
communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes
surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field plans. They are an
important element in the existing landscape and, as such, a substantial
proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The coaxial field system and prehistoric settlements at Throwleigh Common and
Kennon Hill survive well and some are amongst the most visually impressive on
the moor. The territorial reave provides information concerning large scale
early land division and the presence of irregular aggregate fields and
enclosures provides a significant contrast with the coaxial fields.
Information on use of the moor during the historic period survives and in
particular a well preserved length of the documented Bradford Leat will
contain important environmental and hydrological information. Taken as a
whole, this monument represents part of an impressive archaeological landscape
which survives within the Cosdon prehistoric territory.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 197
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1997)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1997)
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)
MPP Fieldwork by S.Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1997)

Source: Historic England

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