Ancient Monuments

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Beacon on Belland Moor 770m north east of Belland

A Scheduled Monument in Clawton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7495 / 50°44'58"N

Longitude: -4.3261 / 4°19'33"W

OS Eastings: 236000.448152

OS Northings: 97015.988178

OS Grid: SX360970

Mapcode National: GBR NM.24M7

Mapcode Global: FRA 17T3.BG3

Entry Name: Beacon on Belland Moor 770m north east of Belland

Scheduled Date: 11 December 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020609

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34274

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Clawton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Tetcott with Luffincott

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a beacon just below the summit of a high ridge forming
the watershed between valleys of tributaries to Lana Lake and Henford Water.
The monument survives as a low circular mound which measures 20.9m in diameter
and up to 0.5m high. There is a linear depression across the centre which
crosses the mound in an approximately east to west direction and measures up
to 4m wide and a maximum of 0.2m deep. This is probably the remains of a track
which cut across the field.

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

Beacons were fires deliberately lit to give a warning, by means of smoke by
day and flame by night, of the approach of hostile forces. They were always
sited in prominent positions, usually as part of a group, chain or line which
together made up a comprehensive early warning system covering most of the
Beacons were extensively used during the medieval period. Their use was
formalised by 1325 and although some were used later, for example at the time
of Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685 or during the Napoleonic wars, the system was
in decay by the mid-17th century.
Beacons were initially bonfires of wood or furze, but later barrels of pitch
or iron fire baskets mounted on poles were used. The poles were occasionally
set on earthen mounds. Access to the fire basket was by way of rungs set in
the pole, or by a stone ladder set against the beacon. More unusual beacon
types include stone enclosures and towers, mainly found in the north and south
west of England. Some beacon sites utilised existing buildings such as church
Beacons were built throughout England, with the greatest density along the
south coast and the border with Scotland. Although approximately 500 are
recorded nationally, few survive in the form of visible remains. Many sites
are only known from place-name evidence. Given the rarity of recorded
examples, all positively identified beacons with significant surviving
archaeological remains are considered to be of national importance.

Despite reduction in its height through cultivation, and its having been
crossed by a track at some time, the beacon 770m north of Belland survives
comparatively well and will contain both archaeological and environmental
information relating to the monument and its surrounding landscape.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX39NE3, (1983)

Source: Historic England

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