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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 439744

Hob Uid: 439744
Location :
Devon
West Devon
Peter Tavy
Grid Ref : SX5423078670
Summary : Neolithic tor enclosure Whittor.
More information : (SX 54287864) White Tor (NAT) Camp (NR) (1)

A camp on the summit of White Tor formed by a double wall, now in
ruinous condition. Both walls appear to have been 10 to 11 feet
thick, the outer wall being 4 to 4 1/2 feet high, the inner 6 to
7 feet high. The distance between the walls varies between 10 and
40 feet. The entrances are to the east, where access is easier, they
are not opposite and are protected by the spur walls.

Within the camp are four hut circles and three possible hut shelters,
and two northern circles (numbers 5 and 6 on plan) are joined by a
short wall.

Finds inside the camp have included a flint scraper and core, flakes
and chips, some burnt, also pottery sherds of cooking vessel type. (2-3)

No huts, but three Bronze Age Cairns (see SX 57 NW 5 and SX 57 NW
84). (4)

The summit of White Tor (Whittor) is a flat area of 0.75ha. at 460m.
O.D., covered with clitter and rock outcrops. The ground shelves
gently to east and west; to the north and south it progressed by
way of widely spaced natural terraces with steps up to 4.0m. high
and 20.0m. wide.

The 'fortification' encloses the summit with a double rampart of
small stones, utilizing natural outcrops, boulders and two cairns
on the perimeter. On the north and south sides the crest of the
slope to the first terrace is followed by the inner rampart, but
tumble within the restricted space has resulted in merging so that,
superficially, a slope 10.0m wide and 3.0m high appears to be a
continuous spread of rubble. There are no natural constrictions on
the east and west sides but each is set out differently. On the
east, facing the hinterland of the moor each wall is about 5.0m
wide and 0.5m high at the centre. There is an interspace from 6.0m
to 13.0m wide with two sub-divisions. AT SX 54347864 there is a
gap 1.0m. wide through the outer rampart, with a single short
out-turn on its southern side. This appears to be an original
entrance. The inner rampart has two gaps between outcropping rocks,
both of which seem original. On the west side of the fort the
walling is more frugal, from 2.5m. to 6.0m. wide and from 0.3m
to 0.5m high. The interspace is generally less than 2.0m., with
an exceptional 7.0m. at the south west, covered with large
boulders. There is a well defined simple entrance at SX 54227865,
1.5m wide.

Not withstanding the amount of stone taken to construct cairns
and ramparts, the interior is littered with embedded clitter.

Evidence of occupation/habitation takes several forms. Localized
clearence is suggested by some irregular patches of about 50.0
square metres, with relatively few stones, and there is one length
of low, piled, walling (G). There are five circular depressions within the enclosed area (A - E), and one outside at SX 54207861 (F).

All are 0.2m. deep with diameters from 3.0m. to 5.0m., often edged
with small stones which protrude from the turf. Their type is
indeterminate, with no clear entrances.

Two enigmatic features (II and III), which could have been either
huts or cairns, (see SX 57 NW 84). There are three type 1 huts on
the north side. Two (V and VI) at SX 54257867 and SX 54257868 were
excavated in 1898 (2). The former revealed a 'cooking hole'
and charcoal. It is set between the ramparts, a depression 0.4m.
deep with an internal diameter of 2.0m. surrounded by small
stones. The other, which produced nothing when excavated, it
set out from the lower rampart but joined to it by spread
walling. This appears to have been robbed from the original
rampart course resulting in a gap immediately to the east
leading to an inter-mural area some 5.0m. square. The hut
consists of a wall of pile stones 1.6m. thick and 0.5m. high
with no clear entrance; the internal diameter is now 2.0m.

The White Tor site is unique to Devon, but of the many clitter
covered tors this is probably the only one with a flat top and
adaptable to defensive purposes. Though at first sight impressive
the 1898 suggestion that the walls were over three metres thick
and 2.0m. high cannot be sustained by the visual evidence. For
most of the vulnerable east and west sides the volume of stone
would barely create field walls of modern type and size, say 1.7m.
high and 0.6m. thick. On the north and south sides where the slopes
are already scree covered it is difficult to judge the amount
of additional material.

At SX 54347866 there is a single face of three course walling 4.0m.
long. This may be modern (there are four shelters in the vicinity)
but if not it is the only evidence of coursing. Taken as a whole
the erratic plan, with bivallation occasionally merging to form
a single scarp; the weak defence on east and west and particularly
around the entrances, is unlike to normal Iron Age hillfort. Though
neither as large in area nor as erratic in plan, White Tor bears
comparison with the defended settlement at Rough Tor on Bodmin
Moor. Both enclose and utilize cairns which are nevertheless
respected; both have demarcated rather than defended entrances;
both have shallow hut scoops and a few larger (and later?) well
constructed huts with nearby but probably not contemporary
settlements and reave systems.

In sum, White Tor may be placed in the second rather than the
first millenium B.C.

Surveyed at 1:10 000 on P.F.D. with 1/1000 scale survey on
Illustration Card. (5)

(SX 54257865) Fort (NR). (6)

SX 532787. White Tor Camp, Cudlipptown Down, scheduled. (see
also SX 57 NW 84). (7)

(The grid reference quoted by Authority 7 is inaccurate. By
examination of Authority 8, and OS 1:10000 1982, the grid reference
for the camp can be located at SX 54257865). (8)

Additional bibliography. (9)





Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1954
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : T Devon Ass 31 1899 146 149 plan
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : AP's RAF 58/6399 F 65 0041-42 July 1964
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 4
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : Corr 6" (Aileen Fox 1953)
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 27-OCT-78
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 1:10000 1982
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE (IAM) Anc Mons Eng 2 1978 49
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE (IAM) Record Map
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : High Dartmoor 1983 955 (E Hemery)
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Source Number :
Source : White Tor/ink survey
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -700
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Enclosure
Evidence :

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DV 363
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : AF0767068
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : AF1087299
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 57 NW 8
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 439553
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SX 57 NW 8
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1978-10-27
End Date : 1978-10-27
Associated Activities : LANGSTONE MOOR - ENGLISH HERITAGE PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2003-10-01
End Date : 2003-12-12