HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Badgworthy

Hob Uid: 35247
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Brendon and Countisbury
Grid Ref : SS7930044470
Summary : Earthwork remains of a deserted medieval settlement at Badgworthy Water. The settlement originated in the medieval period and was noted in the Domesday Book. It is believed to have expanded in the seventeenth century. It is alleged to be the site of the homestead occupied by the Doone clan who were exiled form Scotland to Exmoor and formed the basis of the Lorna Doone story. The remains of approximately 14 building platforms and foundations are visible although covered in dense bracken.
More information : The 'Doone Houses', or the Hermitage (1) lay in the Doone Valley west of Badgworthy Water. This may be the site of the Lacoma (Lank Combe) of Doomsday Book, which mentions a quarter hide of arable for use as a hermitage attached to Brendon Church. In the 12th c this area at Badgworthy passed into the hands of the Brethren of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (2). Then in the 13th c tenancy passed to the family of Badgworthy (3), when it became a considerable village, and final mention historically is around 1430 when the village was fast falling into decay (4). The outline of two long houses have been identified under rough growth and the DMV Research Group class the site as 'A' (5) which means:-

"Clear pattern of earthworks recognisable as roads and crofts together with building platforms".

This can not be verified from APs at present available. (1-5)

At least twelve buildings exist within a hectare centred at SS 79354445 and dense bracken may conceal further remains. Five appear to be long houses, four being 17.0m long and 5.7m wide, the fifth 30.0m long. Generally subdivisions are indistinct or untraceable, though the dry stone outer walling ,turf and bracken covered, averages 0.5m high. Because of tumble the gaps of doorways cannot always be found on both sides of a house. Seven other buildings of varying sizes in square and rectangular plan may represent store-houses etc. No road pattern or garden plots are identifiable for the village as a whole. 150.0m to the SW at SS 79174436 is another long house and outbuilding, separated from the main settlement by a large knoll in the valley bottom.

Surveyed at 1:2500. (6)

Remains clearly visible on Air Photographs taken early in the year. The NGR quoted in authorities 2 and 5 is in error. (7)

Badgworthy and 'Lorna Doone'. The Doone family and their depredations on Exmoor are not fictitious. There is documentary evidence in the family papers of the Doones of Braemuir that Ensor, a troublesome son of James Stewart, Lord Doune, was in 1616 driven out of Scotland into exile on Exmoor, where he lived under the name of Doone until his death in 1684, producing four sons, who themselves had illegitimate issue. The doings of the family on Exmoor were 'not peaceable' and they were recalled to Scotland in 1699. This is generally corroborated by written Exmoor legends which were available to Blackmore, whose grandfather was a man of antiquarian taste and Rector of Oare. 'Oare' and the 'Lyn valley' are the only places mentioned in the Scottish sources as occupied by the Doones on Exmoor, but the local legends specify Badgworthy, which by no means conflicts, but is possibly suspect because it would be very natural to associate a deserted settlement with a notorious band of villains settled in the area. The names 'Doone Valley' (published by OS, 6" 1962 for instance) and 'Lorna's Bower', associated with the Badgworthy settlement, were in Chanter's belief "first applied to these side valleys by my cousins, the Miss Chanters, of Ilfracombe and Brendon, soon after Lorna Doone was published". (8)

Doone Valley

The deserted settlement at Badgworthy Water consists of 14 structures or pounds. In addition, a number of field boudaries are visible as well as earthwork lynchets, suggesting medieval arable cultivation.

Building tabulation.

Building 1
12.2 x 5.7m
The remains of a rectangular building with ?lean-to to west and integral compartments at east. It is defined by roughly coursed rubble walls 0.5m high and 0.8m wide. Much of the interior is covered with rubble. An entrance lies at the east end of the south side. The small rooms at the east end presumable served as a store of dairy; they are reached through a separate entrance in the south wall. It is possible that they represent a later subdivision. The structure has been terraced into the hillside on its northern side. A small rectangular yard is visible to the south, and a larger enclosure or paddock adjoins the stream.
Building 2
A pair of practically conjoined structures:
a)
12.5 x 4.5m
The remains of a rectangular building aligned north-north-west to south-south-east, and terraced into the hillside by 1.4m at its northern end. It is defined by stony banks 2m wide and 0.5m high, composed of large stones and rubble; no wall facing is visible. The entrance, 0.8m wide, lies on the eastern side. The western side of the building has been robbed away in places, and it cannot be ascertained whether there was a second entrance here.
b)
17.1 x 4.1 - 5.4m
An irregular sub-rectangular structure lying along the contour and terraced into the hillside by 1.3m on its northern side. The feature is defined by banks of partly turf-covered rubble 1.5m wide and 0.4m high with large upright slabs facing them externally in places. The northern side is visible simply as a scarp. An entrance, the sides of which are defined by upright slabs, is on the southern side. To the west of the entrance, the south side of the structure has a sinuous course; this does not appear to be the result of slumping, and cannot easily be reconciled with its interpretation as a building. It may be, therefore, that 2b is a yard or pen.
Building 3
17.1 x 6.2m
The remains of a rectangular building defined by roughly coursed rubble walls 0.5m high and 1.1m thick (wall faces) with an overall spread of 2.5m. An entrance 1.1m wide is visible mid-way along the northern side. The building is cut into, by 0.8m, a natural outcrop or moraine to the west.
Building 4
8.5m x 5.9m
A sub-square ?pound defined by a stony bank or collapsed wall, 1.7m wide and 0.4m high, on its south, west and south-east, and by a massive stone-crested scarp 0.9m high on the north. This gives the appearance that the structure runs up the natural slope, rather than being terraced into it. An entrance, 0.6m wide, lies on the east.
Building 5
11.1 x 4.7m
The remains of a rectangular building defined by compact rubble banks 1.2m wide and 0.6m high. An entrance, 1.7m wide, is on the southern side. A "moraine"-like mound of natural material 2.2m high adjoins the west end of the building. The northern side of the building has a shallow external ditch 0.3m deep, and a low bank continues its north wall eastwards, suggesting an associated enclosure or yard.
Building 6
17.1 x 4.4m
The remains of a rectangular building defined by roughly coursed rubble banks 0.7m high with facing visible in places forming a wall thickness of 1.1m. The building is divided into three cells. It appears to have been stepped into the hillside with the compartments being on slightly different levels, the western one being cut 1.2m into the natural slope. The two small western compartments are now obscured by rubble. The western one has a floor width of 0.8m, although wall facing suggests a former width of 2.3m, it also has an entrance on the northern side. The middle compartment has wall facing suggesting a former width of 1.6m - 2m, and no entrance. The eastern part of the building comprises a cell with opposed entrances, now utilised by a path. There are traces of possible internal walling at the western end. An attached paddock on the south side of the building encloses an area adjacent to the stream.
Building 7
7.1 x 4.3m
The remains of a rectangular building defined by stony banks of roughly coursed rubble 1.9m wide (0.7m wall faces), and 1m high. The building has an entrance 0.9m wide at the western end of the north side. An upright slab 0.35m high lies on a west-east alignment close to the east wall of the structure.
Building 8
13.4 x 5.6m
The remains of a rectangular building defined by stony rubble banks 1.7m wide. An entrance, 1.9m wide, lies on the south-western side. At its north-west end is a spread of rubble which may mark a former lean-to. The whole building has been disturbed by cattle trample, both on the walls themsleves and over most of the interior.
Building 9
25.1 x 5.9
The remains of a rectangular building defined by rubble walls 0.5m high and 2m wide. The building is divided into two cells by a stony cross scarp 0.5m high. The north-eastern cell, 16m long, has an entrance on the north-west side. Its north-east wall is missing, having been cut by a field wall and ditch. The south-western cell, 9m long, is crossed by a path, which has obscured any former entrances. Its south-west end is terraced 0.8m into the hillside. The south-east corner is irregular. The arrangement appears to be a dwelling with the addition of a cell at the upper or south-western end.
Building 10
8.5m x 7.6m
A former sub-square yard or pen lying on level ground beside Badgworthy Water. It is defined by stony banks 2m wide and 0.5m high. Its south-west side utilises a natural riverine terrace/outcrop, which is 1m high, and continues as a boundary to the north-west, comprising large pieces of tumbled rock with fragments of walling between. A probable entrance, 1.6m wide, is on the south-east, where large recumbant slabs may have served as door jambs.
Building 11
8.8m x 5.4m
The remains of a rectangular structure defined by fragmentary stony banks 1.7m wide, best preserved on the northern side where wall facing is visible, giving a wall thickness of 0.8m. An entrance is visible on the south-eastern side. The south-western end of the building is terraced by 1m in to the hillside, and it has been covered by tumble from the collapse of the building itself as well as land slip.
Building 12
13m
A sub-circular enclosure of pound, situated above the deserted village at Badgworthy Water, in a prominent position on a natural shelf on the slopes of a steep spur. It is defined by banks 0.4m high and 2m wide. It has an external ditch 0.3m deep on the western or upslope side. The entrance, 1.6m wide, is also on the western side. The interior of the feature is level. The pound is joined by a field boundary running roughly west-east down the point of the spur. The boundary appears to have incorporated the pound as if it were an existing feature, before continuing eastwards to the river.
Building 13
12.7 x 4.6m
The remains of a rectangular building on the south bank of an un-named tributary of Badgworthy Water. The building is defined by turf-covered stony banks 1.6m wide and 0.4m high; in places large stone slabs are visible poking through the turf. The northern side of the building has been largely eroded by the stream, with only a fragment now surviving. No archaeological deposits are currently visible in the face of the river bank. An entrance, 1.6m wide, is visible mid-way along the south side of the building. The structure is vulnerable to river erosion, which is presumably destroying archaeological deposits within it.
Building 14
14.6 x 5.6m
The fragmentary remains of a rectangular building south-west of the site of Badgworthy Cottage. The building is now more noticable for the substantial earthwork platform it occupied, rather than for the structural remains themsleves. The platform is 18m x 7m, and is cut into the slope by 0.9m on its northern side, with a downslope scarp of 1.2m The building is defined by fragmentary sections of turfed- over rubble banks. An entrance is visible mid-way along the south side. The interior is very disturbed and tussocky. It would seem that this building has been severely robbed, probably during the construction of Badgworthy Cottage in the 1860s. This observation is confirmed from contemporary documentary sources (Burton 1989, 115).
Badgworthy Cottage
Built in the 1860s by Frederick Knight as a shepherd's dwelling, Badgworthy Cottage was occupied until the 1930's. It fell within the area of the Exmoor Firing Ranges (see SS 74 NE 46), and was demolished by heavy artillery shells during practice firing by the US Army (Burton 1989, 236). The site is now marked by a rectangular heap of rubble measuring 17m by 13m and up to 2m high. The rubble is nor grassed over, and in places consists of collapsed sections of walling still held together by mortar. Due to dense bracken, no survey action was possible on this complex. It has, therefore, been recomended for large-scale survey when appropriate. (9)

The buildings, field system and deserted settlement at Badgworthy are clearly visible on a number of aerial photographs. Several of the nearby enclosures, defined by irregular banks, show traces of ridge of furrow ploughing. Several possibly associated trackways or hollow ways are also apparent on the photographs (see NMR UID 1475995 and 1475963)
Badgworthy Cottage, constructed in the 1860s and inhabited as recently as 1930, has now been recorded separately, owing to its different origins to the rest of the settlement (see NMR UID 1475992) (12-14)., .

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hermits and Anchorites of England 1914 (RM Clay)
Page(s) : 244-245
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The archaeology of Exmoor : Bideford Bay to Bridgwater
Source details :
Page(s) : 129, 214
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Badgworthy deserted medieval settlement
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1501 4215-17 13-MAY-1946
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1655 4077-78 11-JUL-1946
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/931 4069-70 08-NOV-1952
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Devon Archaeological Exploration Society newsletter
Source details :
Page(s) : 2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 28 (1969)
Source Number : 4
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details :
Page(s) : 24-25
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 60 (1928)
Source Number : 5
Source : Medieval Village Research Group annual report
Source details : 1965
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 01-OCT-74
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS APs 73087 680/81 17.4.73
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details :
Page(s) : 239-250
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 35 (1903)
Source Number : 9
Source : Badgworthy medieval settlement/location plan
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Wilson-North W R 09-AUGUST-1994 RCHME Field Investigation.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 1430
Monument Start Date : 1100
Monument Type : Deserted Settlement, Hermitage (Religious), Settlement, Building, Field System, Chapel
Evidence : Earthwork, Demolished Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 642
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MDE1258
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 SE 14
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1475963
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1475992
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1475995
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1476001
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1476631
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, BADGWORTHY
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1974-10-01
End Date : 1974-10-01
Associated Activities : Primary, BADGWORTHY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1994-08-09
End Date : 1994-08-09
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01