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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1461327

Hob Uid: 1461327
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Brendon and Countisbury
Grid Ref : SS7505347580
Summary : A type of water meadow known locally as a catchwork system, of probable 19th Century date, is visible as a series of roughly parallel channels or gutters cut into both sides of a combe to the north-east of Brendon Barton, Brendon parish.
More information : A water meadow of a type known locally as a catchwork or catch-meadow system is visible as a series of roughly parallel channels, or gutters, cut into both sides of a combe to the north-east of Brendon Barton, Brendon parish, centred on circa SS 74944757. Overlapping gutters are visible to the south of St Brendan¿s Church, at circa SS 75004764, suggesting at least two phases of construction. This water meadow is probably 19th Century in date, although similar systems were operating elsewhere in the 17th Century.
Catchwork systems diverted water from a spring or stream along a series of channels or gutters to irrigate combe sides. When required, the water was caused to overflow the gutters, thereby irrigating the combe slopes. This film of water prevented pasture freezing during the winter and raised the temperature of the grass, thereby encouraging growth, particularly important during the `hungry gap¿ of the spring months. Any excess water then returned to the feeder stream or was removed by a tail drain. On Exmoor this system was often enhanced by a series of parallel gutters to encourage a more even flow.
As this catchwork system appears to be associated with the farm at Brendon Barton, it may be an example of an integrated system where the water was passed though a farmyard to pick up manure, washing the now liquid fertilizer onto the meadow sides.
The gutters remain visible on aerial photographs of 1995. (1-4)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/910 (F20) 4030-4031 17-OCT-1952
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/95026 080-081 12-MAR-1995
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Source Number : 3
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Taylor, C. (2007) The Archaeology of Water Meadows, in Water Meadows; History, Ecology and Conservation, eds. Cook. H. & Williamson, T.
Page(s) : 1
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Source Number : 4
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Cook. H. & Williamson, T. (2007) Introducing Water Meadows, in Water Meadows; History, Ecology and Conservation, eds. Cook. H. & Williamson, T.
Page(s) : 28-29
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Water Meadow
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 NE 106
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1461438
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461451
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461471
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461974
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1462004
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461591
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461600
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461339
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461402
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