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:MDV7414
Name:Deserted Medieval Settlement at Hound Tor

Summary

Houndtor deserted Medieval village comprising substantial well-preserved remains of eleven stone-built structures, including four large longhouses with associated smaller buildings and three corn-drying barns. The site, which was excavated in the 1960s, is managed by Dartmoor National Park Authority on behalf of English Heritage.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 746 787
Map Sheet:SX77NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishManaton
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishMANATON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX77NW/7
  • Old SAM County Ref: 601
  • Old SAM Ref: 28786

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (VIII to XVI - 701 AD to 1600 AD (Between))

Full description

Reichel, O. J., 1914, The Hundred of Tavistock in Early Times, 223, 225 (Article in Serial). SDV8646.

Houndtor appears in the "Charta" of Tavistock Abbey (1166), and the Testa de Nevil (1241) under the fees of the Abbot of Tavistock.


Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M., 1932, The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two, 482 (Monograph). SDV337894.

Houndtor is mentioned at 'Hundatora' in 1086, as 'Hundetorre' in 1238 and as 'Houndetorre' in 1438.


Ordnance Survey, 1960, SX77NW30 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV307241.

Village situated in sheltered valley with 3 springs on lower ground to northeast. Fields to the west of the site appear to be contemporary with settlement. Some traces of lynchetting are visible on their lower side.


Royal Air Force, 1961, 58/4424, F42.0108 (Aerial Photograph). SDV280247.


Minter, E. M., 1962-1963, Interim Reports and Plan, 341-343, Fig. 102 (Article in Serial). SDV307242.


Minter, E. M., 1964, Interim Report and Plan, 282-283, Figs. 90, 91 (Article in Serial). SDV307261.


Minter, E. M., 1965, Interim Report, 210-211 (Article in Serial). SDV307266.


Linehan, C. D., 1966, Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, 119 (Article in Serial). SDV307246.

Houndtor i: 11 buildings with enclosures. Other details: Table 2.


Ancient Monuments, 1966, Hound Tor (Schedule Document). SDV307240.

Houndtor. Site of deserted medieval village. Typical moorland granite site - substantial remains of 8 peasant houses and 3 corn drying barns set in rectangular crofts with roadways between. The site is being completely excavated by Mrs. E. M. Minter. Site intact, under grass and bracken.


Minter, E. M., 1966, Interim Report and Plan, 210 (Article in Serial). SDV307267.


Cambridge University Collection, 1971, BFF 50 (Aerial Photograph). SDV307270.


Minter, E. M., 1972 - 1973, Eleven Years of Archaeological Work on Dartmoor, 112-117 (Article in Serial). SDV307263.

Remains of 3 shielings constructed in 10th century for use during the summering of cattle on the tor. Seasonal use of site was of short duration, and soon after abandonment, establishment of permanent settlement followed. Turf-walled buildings under remains of stone-walled 13th century village passed through three phases, and were replaced by stone-walled buildings in last decade of 12th century. Manorhouse on east side (two-roomed). Three small single-roomed houses, and four two-roomed houses, corn-drying barns on north side.12th/13th century pottery found in three houses. This is Domesday village of Hundatora (See Minter, Interim Reports). Other details: Part iii, Plan, Plate.


Hall, J. + Hamlin, A., 1976, Deserted Medieval Settlements in Devon, 5 (Article in Serial). SDV38836.

As above. Visually one of the best sites in England.


Beresford, G., 1979, Three Deserted Medieval Settlements on Dartmoor: a Report on the Late E. Marie Minter's Excavations, 98-158 (Article in Serial). SDV307264.

The full report on the excavation is published by Guy Beresford in Medieval Archaeology. In its final phase, the site consisted of a "manorial enclosure", containing gardens and a paddock, with a three-roomed longhouse, an associated cott (perhaps originally a corn-drying barn), and two barns. Both barns had earlier been dwellings. Outside the manorial enclosure lay 2 longhouses and two smaller houses. There were also 3 corn drying kilns, possibly of the 14th century. The change of function of some buildings may reflect climatic deterioration and gradual desertion of the site, which was complete by the mid 14th century. The site may date back in origin to c700-800.


NMR, 1980, SF1746/210 (Aerial Photograph). SDV307276.


Beresford, G., 1981, Medieval Villages in Britain, 30-35 (Article in Monograph). SDV307247.

Beresford reviews the archaeology of the site. He suggests that transhumance was followed by settlement. He attributes the failure of the settlement to the worsening climate - evidenced by the construction of the corn driers. Footrot, lungworm and murrain also contributed to the causes for desertion. Hutholes failed for a similar reason. Desertion was gradual, as some farmers soldiered on for longer than others.


Austin, D. + Walker, M. D. C., 1985, A New Landscape Context for Houndtor, Devon, 147-152 (Article in Serial). SDV307251.

Austin and Walker describe further work to reinforce the doubts given by Austin.
Peat samples taken from a bog immediately to the north west of the excavated settlement have indicated a phase of cereal cultivation in the medieval period. It is suggested that the inception of peat growth followed, and was partially caused by, this cultivation episode. Radiocarbon dates from the peat profile give 1220+-70 (uncalibrated) from near the base of the peat, and 1560+-80 (uncalibrated) later than the cultivation episode. The interpretation of the site as an extension of the demesne activity centred at Great Houndtor is restated.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Visible and recorded.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EO, 1, 1a, 2, 3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV307278.


Austin, D., 1985, Dartmoor and the Upland Village of the South West, 71-79 (Article in Monograph). SDV217979.

Austin casts doubt on the interpretation of the site, discounting the 'turf buildings' and suggesting a 12th century date for its foundation. Similar south-western sites are discussed.


Griffith, F. M., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 79 (Monograph). SDV64198.

The hamlet at Houndtor is a good example of a deserted site on Dartmoor. Houndtor hamlet exhibits a group of at least four farmsteads, of which the one in the foreground appears to be the most substantial. The houses are 'longhouses' and the farms have ancillary structures in the form of barns and lesser outbuildings. Corn-drying ovens can still be seen in some of the barns. The hamlet was extensively excavated in the 1960s by Mrs E. M. Minter.


Beresford, G., 1988, Three Deserted Medieval Settlements on Dartmoor. A Comment on David Austin's Reinterpretation, 175-183 (Article in Serial). SDV307253.

Beresford questions Austin and Walker on the grounds that their peat sample may have been taken from an area of accumulation owing to general occupational activity, rather than cultivation. He further questions the interpretation of the site as an extension of demesne activity, citing lack of secure evidence of early settlement.


Griffith, F. M., 1989, DAP/LU, 3-6 (Aerial Photograph). SDV307285.


Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East (Monograph). SDV299725.


Griffith, F. M., 1994, DAP/XK, 1, 2 (Aerial Photograph). SDV307288.


Newman, P. + Probert, S. + Riley, H., 1994, Houndtor Down, Manaton, Devon - A New Survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England., 3 (Report - Survey). SDV344628.

Houndtor medieval settlement situated between Hound Tor and Greator Rock, on a southeast-facing slope, 330m OD. The site consists of eleven ruined buildings; four longhouses, four associated smaller buildings and three corn drying barns, excavated in the 1960s by Mrs E. M. Minter. The excavations were not systematically backfilled so most of the walls, which were constructed from moor stone, are visible to floor level and spoil heaps remain at the site. The remaining walls stand to a maximum height of approximately 1.2 meters and are between 0.4 meters and 0.7 meters thick.


Henderson, C. G. + Weddell, P. J., 1994, Medieval Settlements on Dartmoor and in West Devon: the evidence from excavations, 119-140 (Article in Monograph). SDV344633.

Houndtor 1 is the largest site excavated by Mrs Minter, a loose assemblage of eleven stone-built structures; four longhouses and seven secondary buildings positioned within an irregular complex of enclosures and trackways, with a sunken roadway passing through it and associated field system. Henderson and Weddell question the existence of the earlier sunken floor buildings and turf structures, more satisfied with Austin’s interpretation of the stake holes at the site (1985). Discussion of the characteristic features of the longhouses on the site, including the types of drainage utilised in both the upper living areas, and also to drain the byre where cattle were kept. Scatters of stakeholes in the byre end of the longhouses identified as marking the positions of tethering stakes. Comparing the capacity of the barns and size of byres, the suthors propose that the four main farmsteads at Houndtor would have worked arable holdings of around the same size, supporting the theory that building 3 was of no higher status than the other longhouses.


Gerrard, S., 1995, Hound Tor (Site Visit). SDV307257.


Department of National Heritage, 1995, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV321020.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted in respect of proposed works concerning erosion and wall repairs.


Department of National Heritage, 1996, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV321022.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted in respect of works concerning erosion repairs and masonry construction.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2000, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV307258.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted, subject to conditions, in respect of proposed works concerning the recovery of eroded areas near the site of the village.


Dartmoor National Park + English Heritage, 2002, Houndtor: Deserted Medieval Settlement, 6 (Leaflet). SDV295904.

Small medieval hamlet including the remains of four longhouses, four smaller houses and three cereal-drying barns, as well as gardens, paddocks, lanes and an extensive field system to the north, south and west of the settlement. The structures can be dated to the 13th century and were occupied for around 150 to 200 years, after which the site was abandoned.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2003, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV307259.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted, subject to conditions recommended by English Heritage, in respect of works concerning the carrying out of management works to the site such as erosion repair and masonry consolidation in accordance with specifications.


Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Map object based on this Source.


White, P., 2013, Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads, Houndtor (Un-published). SDV352501.

Houndtor with deserted Medieval longhouses.


Griffith, F. M., 21/07/1989, DAP/OX, 3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV307286.


Department of National Heritage, 24/06/1997, Scheduled Monument Consent Letter (Correspondence). SDV307256.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for management works; erosion repair and masonry consolidation.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Article in Monograph: Austin, D.. 1985. Dartmoor and the Upland Village of the South West. Medieval Villages. 5. Unknown. 71-79.
  • Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1961. 58/4424. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). F42.0108.
  • Leaflet: Dartmoor National Park + English Heritage. 2002. Houndtor: Deserted Medieval Settlement. A5 Stapled. 6.
  • Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East. One. Paperback Volume.
  • Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 1966. Hound Tor. Unknown.
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey. 1960. SX77NW30.
  • Article in Serial: Minter, E. M.. 1962-1963. Interim Reports and Plan. Medieval Archaeology. 6-7. 341-343, Fig. 102.
  • Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1966. Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Digital. 119.
  • Article in Monograph: Beresford, G.. 1981. Medieval Villages in Britain. Consequences of Climatic Change. 30-35.
  • Article in Serial: Austin, D. + Walker, M. D. C.. 1985. A New Landscape Context for Houndtor, Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 29. 147-152.
  • Article in Serial: Beresford, G.. 1988. Three Deserted Medieval Settlements on Dartmoor. A Comment on David Austin's Reinterpretation. Medieval Archaeology. 32. 175-183.
  • Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 24/06/1997. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter.
  • Site Visit: Gerrard, S.. 1995. Hound Tor. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset 140563.
  • Correspondence: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2000. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
  • Correspondence: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2003. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter.
  • Article in Serial: Minter, E. M.. 1964. Interim Report and Plan. Medieval Archaeology. 8. 282-283, Figs. 90, 91.
  • Article in Serial: Minter, E. M.. 1972 - 1973. Eleven Years of Archaeological Work on Dartmoor. Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society. 16. Unknown. 112-117.
  • Article in Serial: Beresford, G.. 1979. Three Deserted Medieval Settlements on Dartmoor: a Report on the Late E. Marie Minter's Excavations. Medieval Archaeology. 23. Unknown. 98-158.
  • Article in Serial: Minter, E. M.. 1965. Interim Report. Medieval Archaeology. 9. Unknown. 210-211.
  • Article in Serial: Minter, E. M.. 1966. Interim Report and Plan. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Unknown. 210.
  • Aerial Photograph: Cambridge University Collection. 1971. BFF 50. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs.
  • Aerial Photograph: NMR. 1980. SF1746/210.
  • Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EO. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1, 1a, 2, 3.
  • Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1989. DAP/LU. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3-6.
  • Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 21/07/1989. DAP/OX. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3.
  • Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1994. DAP/XK. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1, 2.
  • Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
  • Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1995. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter.
  • Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1996. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter.
  • Monograph: Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M.. 1932. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. IX. A5 Hardback. 482.
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
  • Report - Survey: Newman, P. + Probert, S. + Riley, H.. 1994. Houndtor Down, Manaton, Devon - A New Survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. A4 Spiral Bound. 3.
  • Article in Monograph: Henderson, C. G. + Weddell, P. J.. 1994. Medieval Settlements on Dartmoor and in West Devon: the evidence from excavations. The Archaeology of Dartmoor. Perspectives from the 1990s. Paperback Volume. 119-140.
  • Un-published: White, P.. 2013. Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads. Excel Spreadsheet. Houndtor.
  • Article in Serial: Hall, J. + Hamlin, A.. 1976. Deserted Medieval Settlements in Devon. Devon Historian. 13. A5 Paperback. 5.
  • Monograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 79.
  • Article in Serial: Reichel, O. J.. 1914. The Hundred of Tavistock in Early Times. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 46. A5 Hardback. 223, 225.

Associated Monuments

MDV70771Parent of: Building 1, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70960Parent of: Building 2, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70961Parent of: Building 3, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70962Parent of: Building 4, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70963Parent of: Building 5, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70964Parent of: Building 6, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70965Parent of: Building 7, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70966Parent of: Building 8, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70967Parent of: Corn-drying barn 1, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70968Parent of: Corn-drying barn 2, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70969Parent of: Corn-drying barn 3, Houndtor (Building)
MDV70970Parent of: Medieval field system associated with Houndtor settlement (Monument)
MDV22901Parent of: Pottery from Houndtor settlement (Find Spot)
MDV6028Related to: Blackaton Deserted Medieval Settlement, Widecombe in the Moor (Monument)
MDV7423Related to: Deserted Medieval farmstead north-east of Hound Tor (Monument)
MDV7509Related to: Field system on Houndtor Down, Manaton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV529 - Minter's excavations at Houndtor medieval village

Date Last Edited:Jul 10 2018 2:26PM