HeritageGateway - Home

Login  |  Register
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


HER Number:MDV5767
Name:Rider's Rings, South Brent

Summary

Also known as Ryder's Rings, the site comprises two contiguous prehistoric enclosures or pounds containing a number of hut circles and courts or pens. The two pounds together occupy over 6 acres and enclose 36 hut circles and a number of courts built against the inner face of the pound walls. The south-west enclosure pre-dates the north-east one. The site also saw activity in the medieval period and it is suggested that a contrast can be made between thin-walled pens which are likely to have been prehistoric and thick-walled pens which were constructed in the medieval period during the course of which sections of the prehistoric walls were damaged or destroyed. The name Rider's Rings may in fact be a corrupion of Writer's Rings; wreytors or writers were men from off the moor who paid grazing rights to use the pens for their stock, and for which a written record was kept.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 678 643
Map Sheet:SX66SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSouth Brent
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSOUTH BRENT

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 66 SE 2
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66SE/73
  • Old SAM County Ref: 374
  • Pastscape: 441743

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ENCLOSED HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))
  • POUND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Beckerlegge, J. J., 1933, Second Report of the Plymouth and District Branch, 65 (Article in Serial). SDV178244.

The finest example of an early bronze age pound to be found on Dartmoor.


Worth, R. H., 1935, Dartmoor Exploration Committee, Twelfth Report, 115-119 / figs.1-9, plans. (Article in Serial). SDV259660.

Riders rings, two contiguous prehistoric enclosures or pounds containing a number of hut circles and courts. (Further details on related records). The two pounds together occupy over 6 acres and enclose 36 hut circles and a number of courts built against the inner face of the pound walls.
The south-west enclosure pre-dates the north-east one. The walls of the enclosures are of drystone construction, with blocks of red or pink felsite on each face, and a core of small stones.
A detailed survey was made of the northern wall of the north-east pound, and some excavation took place within the pound in 1930.


Worth, R. H., 1943, The Prehistoric Pounds of Dartmoor, 288-290, 291-293, fig.11, 12 (Article in Serial). SDV320337.

Substantially the same as Worth 1935.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, 2279-2280 (10/12/1946) (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950, SX66SE2, plan included (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV178241.

Visited 4/5/1950. Basic description as above. The enclosure walls are composed of large stones, turf-covered in parts with average width 4.0 metres and height 1.2 metres outside and 5.0 metres inside (due to land slope). At SX67796421 is a well-defined entrance 3.0 metres wide. The other entrance, at SX67926437 has been closed up by fallen stones.


Worth, R. H., 1953, Dartmoor, 115-116,149,156,162,150,157/figs.24,40, 41,42/photos, plans. (Monograph). SDV231148.

The south enclosure occupies about 3.24 acres and the northern one 3.73 acres; each section contains at least 17 huts, and both have courts (see related records) built against the walls. No huts are visible outside the pounds.


St. Joseph, J. K. S., 1967, Unknown title, 60-61 fig (Article in Serial). SDV219152.

Ruined walls of granite blocks form a double enclosure, an elongated (northern) compound being attached to (and later than), a squarish (southern) compound. A number of pens are defined within the main boundary wall, and several isolated hut circles. No traces of field systems in the vicinity.


Fox, A., 1973, South West England 3,500BC - AD600 (Revised Edition), 100, 101 /plan (Monograph). SDV16216.

Interpreted by fox as a pastoral settlement with stock pens (i.e: the courts) within the main walls.


Robinson, R., 1980, An Archaeological Checklist for South Brent (Worksheet). SDV150007.


Pearce, S. M., 1981, The Archaeology of South West Britain, 94, 95/ fig. 3:2 (Monograph). SDV81689.

Two distinct compounds with at least 12 hut circles distributed between them.


National Monuments Record, 1982, NMR SF2112, 1245-1246, 1250-1252 (19/4/1982) (Aerial Photograph). SDV345548.


Robinson, R., 1984, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984 (Un-published). SDV343082.

Visited 19/03/1984.


Griffith, F. M., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 36 (Monograph). SDV64198.

The complex prehistoric enclosure known as Riders Rings is situated on the brow of the western side of the steep valley of the River Avon. It is a large and striking settlement. The southern enclosure covering some 1.32 hectares and containing at least fifteen round houses, appears to be the primary one to which the northern enclosure was subsequently added. Around the inside edge of the northern enclosure, and in some places in the southern one, a series of small enclosed 'courts' can be seen; it has been suggested that these are garden plots or animal pounds. If the latter, they would reinforce the interpretation of this settlement as that of a pastoral community, which its position certainly suggests. Riders Rings is one of the most handsome and well-constructed of the prehistoric Dartmoor 'pounds'. In some places the stone facing on the outer and inner walls can still be seen.


Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

Map object based on this source.


Fleming, A., 2013, Writers in Residence. The Secondary Occupation of Ryder's Rings (Article in Serial). SDV357767.

Article re-evaluating Ryder's Rings. It is argued that the site saw a major epidosede of medieval ocupation during which thick-walled pens, previously throught to be prehistoric, were built and during the course of which the wall of the prehistoric enclosure was damaged or destroyed in places. Two hut circles (18 and O) are also likely to have been reused. These thick-walled medieval pens, which are mostly in groups of two or three, can be compared with surviving thin-walled pens which are probably prehistoric. These thin-walled pens may once have been more widespread and damaged or destroyed by the builders of the later pens. The name Ryder's Rings is thought to be a corruption of Writer's Rings. Hansford Worth noted the use of the phrase 'foreigners and wreytors' in a documented of 1702. These were men from off the moor whose business it was to ensure that their animals grazing in the commons or Forest were written in the 'agistment roll'. The pens, therefore, were for writers who had paid their grazing fees.


Fleming, A., 2014, Writer's Rings? (Article in Serial). SDV357232.

Fleming focusses on the reuse of this site during the medieval period and theorises that there is a difference in the structures set within the enclosures. There are both thin-walled and thick-walled structures present; Fleming believes the former are the remains of Bronze Age hut circles, while the latter are medieval animal pens made by reusing stone from the earlier structures. The 'entrance' gaps are also thought to date to this later period; to allow better access for livestock. The name 'Rings' is thought to refer to animal pens, rather than the hut circles. Fleming suggests the name 'Ryder' may originate from 'wreytor', meaning 'writer' or 'foreigners' who lived off the moor, but penned their animals here.


Unknown, Unknown, Rider's Rings (Photograph). SDV178242.

Slide of plan.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Worksheet: Robinson, R.. 1980. An Archaeological Checklist for South Brent. DAS/DCRA Publication. 8.
  • Monograph: Fox, A.. 1973. South West England 3,500BC - AD600 (Revised Edition). South West England. Hardback Volume. 100, 101 /plan.
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950. SX66SE2. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. plan included.
  • Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2279-2280 (10/12/1946).
  • Article in Serial: Beckerlegge, J. J.. 1933. Second Report of the Plymouth and District Branch. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 65. Unknown. 65.
  • Photograph: Unknown. Unknown. Rider's Rings. Slide.
  • Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1943. The Prehistoric Pounds of Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 75. A5 Hardback. 288-290, 291-293, fig.11, 12.
  • Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1982. NMR SF2112. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1245-1246, 1250-1252 (19/4/1982).
  • Article in Serial: St. Joseph, J. K. S.. 1967. Unknown title. Antiquity. 41. 60-61 fig.
  • Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1935. Dartmoor Exploration Committee, Twelfth Report. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 67. Photocopy. 115-119 / figs.1-9, plans..
  • Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1953. Dartmoor. Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 115-116,149,156,162,150,157/figs.24,40, 41,42/photos, plans..
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
  • Article in Serial: Fleming, A.. 2014. Writer's Rings?. Dartmoor Magazine. 115. Digital.
  • Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1984. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
  • Monograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 36.
  • Monograph: Pearce, S. M.. 1981. The Archaeology of South West Britain. The Archaeology of South West Britain. Hardback Volume. 94, 95/ fig. 3:2.
  • Article in Serial: Fleming, A.. 2013. Writers in Residence. The Secondary Occupation of Ryder's Rings. Photocopy.

Associated Monuments

MDV19117Parent of: Hut circle in Rider's Rings settlement (Monument)
MDV19118Parent of: Hut circle in Rider's Rings, South Brent (Monument)
MDV19119Parent of: Hut circle in Rider's Rings, South Brent (Monument)
MDV19120Parent of: Hut circle in Rider's Rings, South Brent (Monument)
MDV19121Related to: Structure at Rider's Rings settlement (Building)
MDV19116Related to: Wall at Rider's Rings settlement (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jan 28 2015 12:26PM