Ancient Monuments

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Cist on Whitehorse Hill, 910m south east of Taw Head

A Scheduled Monument in Gidleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6525 / 50°39'9"N

Longitude: -3.9574 / 3°57'26"W

OS Eastings: 261724.4966

OS Northings: 85475.872498

OS Grid: SX617854

Mapcode National: GBR Q5.1982

Mapcode Global: FRA 27LB.XSB

Entry Name: Cist on Whitehorse Hill, 910m south east of Taw Head

Scheduled Date: 12 March 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020871

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34445

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Gidleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Widecombe-in-the-Moor St Pancras

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a cist situated near the summit of Whitehorse Hill.
The cist was, until 2001, visible in the edge of an irregularly shaped
island of peat standing above its surroundings. Only the western edge of
the cist was exposed, the remainder, including the cist's original
contents, being sealed beneath peat deposits. The cist measures 0.3m deep
by 0.4m wide and its capstone remains in its original position.
Early in 2001 a protective drystone wall measuring 3m long by 0.9m high
was built in front of the western edge of the cist, which as a result is
no longer visible. The drystone wall is included in the scheduling.
This cist stands at a considerable height above sea level and, perhaps as
a consequence, no broadly contemporary settlements are known to survive
within its vicinity.

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. Cists are small rectangular stone
structures used for burial purposes and date to the Bronze Age. On Dartmoor
they are made up of regular stone slabs forming a box-like structure sometimes
topped by a larger coverstone. Short cists survive as free-standing monuments,
with no enclosing stone and earth cairn. On Dartmoor cists are also associated
with cairns, ring cairns and cairnfield groups, but these free-standing
examples form a separate group in their own right. Their longevity, having
been in use for a millennium or so, provides insight into the range of
ceremonial and ritual practices of the contemporary farming communities. The
Dartmoor examples provide one of the best preserved and most dense
concentrations of this class of monument in south-western Britain and, as
such, a high proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

The cist on Whitehorse Hill, 910m south east of Taw Head survives very
well and most notably it contains some of its original contents. Important
environmental information will survive both within and around the cist as
will crucial evidence relating to its construction.

Source: Historic England


Fieldwork by Joe Turner, Turner, Joe, Whitehorse Hill Cist, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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