Ancient Monuments

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Medieval farmstead 340m south east of Cold East Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Ashburton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5518 / 50°33'6"N

Longitude: -3.7756 / 3°46'32"W

OS Eastings: 274307.441623

OS Northings: 73957.465149

OS Grid: SX743739

Mapcode National: GBR QG.SMSH

Mapcode Global: FRA 27ZL.WD4

Entry Name: Medieval farmstead 340m south east of Cold East Cross

Scheduled Date: 19 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019604

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34424

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Ashburton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Ashburton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a medieval farmstead situated on a gentle east facing
slope overlooking the valley of the River Ashburn. The farmstead includes at
least four rectangular buildings. The southern building is a longhouse,
although unusually it is built along the contour. The interior of this
building measures 15m long by 4.6m wide and is denoted by earthwork banks
standing up to 0.8m high. This building is terraced into the hillslope and a
gap in the eastern wall probably represents the site of an original entrance.
Attached to the northern side of the longhouse is a rectangular structure
measuring 8m long by 4m wide. This is also terraced into the hillside and
like all the smaller ancillary buildings was probably a barn. East of this
structure is a slightly larger building measuring 10m long by 4.2m wide, while
a short distance to the north is the final ancillary building which survives
as a 6m long by 3m wide rectangular hollow defined on the south by a

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 provides 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.
Over 130 deserted settlements retaining visible remains of medieval character
are recorded on Dartmoor. Many of these are single abandoned farmsteads but
the majority are small hamlets containing between two and six farmhouses.
Documentary evidence indicates that most such settlements on the Moor were
established between the 11th and mid-14th centuries AD. Although many of these
settlements were deserted by the close of the medieval period, some where
abandoned at a later period.
Deserted medieval settlements are often visible as close groupings of small
buildings, each containing a long house, its ancillary buildings and one or
more adjacent small plots which served as kitchen gardens or stock pens. These
components are arranged within the settlement around internal yards and
trackways which led from the settlement to its associated fields, pasture and
water supply. Occasionally such trackways show evidence for cobbling or
Long houses were the dominant type of farmhouse in upland settlements of
south-west England between the 10th and 16th centuries. Rectangular in plan,
usually with rubble or boulder outer walls and their long axis orientated
downslope, the interiors of long houses were divided into two separate
functional areas, an upslope domestic room and a downslope stock byre, known
in south-west England as a shippon. The proportions of the plan occupied by
the domestic room and the shippon vary considerably but the division between
the two was usually provided by a cross passage of timber screens or rubble
walling running transversely through the long house, linking opposed openings
in the long side walls.
Ancillary buildings were generally separated from the farmhouse itself, or
else constructed as outshuts attached to the long house and often extending
one end. These additional structures served as barns, fuel or equipment stores
and occasionally contained ovens and corn-drying kilns. While many settlements
in Devon are known from documentary sources to be of medieval origin, well-
preserved deserted sites are rare. Consequently, those on Dartmoor provide the
main surviving source of evidence for the distinctive form and layout of
medieval settlements in Devon.

The medieval farmstead 340m south east of Cold East Cross survives well and
will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the
exploitation of this area during the medieval period. The farmstead lies
within the nationally important Rippon Tor coaxial field system and therefore
provides a contrast to the earlier more intensive use of this area.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX77SW94, (1983)

Source: Historic England

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