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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1002074

Hob Uid: 1002074
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Brendon and Countisbury
Grid Ref : SS7706049660
Summary : The remains of a settlement or farmstead of possible medieval date can be seen as earthworks and cropmarks, immediately to the west of Desolate, Countisbury parish, in a field known locally as `Old House Close'.
More information : Earthworks centred at SS 77114974 immediately west of Desolate, represent settlement possibly predating or contemporary with the habitation at Desolate itself.

The site lies within a pasture field on south and west-facing slopes at the head of a shallow combe running eastwards into Dogsworthy Combe close to the sea.

The earthworks represent at least one farm complex forming a straggle of platforms up the slopes of the combe. They are bounded on their north side by a substantial field bank and on their south by a very disturbed linear hollow which is probably both a hollow way and the result of surface water run off. Within this area, the earthworks have been disturbed by differential land improvement which has smoothed the earthworks in the southern part of the site. The edge of this improvement is now marked by a strong west-east scarp emerging from a gateway at its eastern end and running westwards parallel with the field boundary.

The earthworks are characterised by a series of amorphous and irregular platforms which are difficult to interpret in detail, but which appear to form at least two blocks or complexes.

The field is known locally as "Old House Close" (1-2).


The remains of a possible hamlet or farmstead and associated fields, potentially of medieval date, are visible on aerial photographs as cropmarks and low earthworks. The site now lies under improved pasture, on a north-east facing slope at the head of Desolate combe at circa SS 77074967, immediately to the south-west of the current settlement at Desolate.
The earthworks described above by authority 1 can be seen on aerial photographs of 1946. The improvement and differential land improvement also described above appears to have begun by 1952. By 1972 the entire field has been improved and the settlement earthworks, including a number of probable platforms, and a number of field boundaries are visible as cropmarks. A sub-rectangular field, approximately 90 metres by 50 metres in size, may occupy a levelled area centred on circa SS 77024967. On photographs of 1970, very diffuse cropmarks at circa SS 769495 may indicate the settlement or field system continued to the south and west. However, these cropmarks, and those described above are too unclear on the available aerial photographs to be transcribed. (S3-6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : R & S Pile, Coombe Farm, Lynton, EX35 6NF
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Wilson-North W R, 19-APR-94, RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 3
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 3142-3 11-JUL-1946
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Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/910 (F20) 3004-5 17-OCT-1952
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/72065 013-014 15-APR-1972
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Source Number : 6
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/70064 032-033 03-MAY-1970
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Source : Desolate settlement/ink survey
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Settlement
Evidence : Earthwork, Cropmark
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Settlement
Evidence : Earthwork, Cropmark

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 NE 36
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1461921
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01