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Historic England Research Records

Merrivale Prehistoric Settlement

Hob Uid: 440079
Location :
Devon
West Devon
Dartmoor Forest
Grid Ref : SX5550074900
Summary : Merrivale Prehistoric Settlement is a partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, including at least thirty six hut circles and four separate enclosures. The structures on the site are thought to have been constructed during the Bronze Age, over a long period from around 2500 BC to 1000 BC. They lie on both sides of the B3357 some 500 metres east of Merrivale Bridge. The huts survive in varying degrees of preservation, those nearest the road having been robbed to provide stone while some on the southern fringe of the site have been mutilated by slit trenches. The easternmost and largest enclosure was partially modified during the early 19th century. The hut circles survive as earth and stone banks. Sixteen have visible doorways, four lie within or are attached to enclosures and one has a porch. A string of six huts in the southern part of the settlement may once have been linked together by a palisade or similar feature. Six of the thirty six hut circles were excavated by Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1895. All contained charcoal, though only two hearths were identified. One or two were paved but the only artifact found was a flint flake. Evidence for post-medieval activity on the site is apparent from the remains of a deserted farmstead erected in the first half of the 19th century and a cider mill edge runner stone and stone cutting pits (see associated monument records). Merrivale is an English Heritage site but is also managed by the Dartmoor National Park Authority
More information : (SX 555749) Enclosed Hut Groups and Hut Circles (NR).

(SX 555750) Enclosed Hut Groups and Hut Circles (NR). (1)

A group of hut circles and enclosures visible on air photographs (4). Six of the huts were examined in 1895 (2). Two of them yielded hearths. Worth considers them to be Early Bronze Age. The enclosure at SX 556750 has been encroached upon by the garden of a cottage built in 1802 (3). (2-4)

A group of three dozen hut circles and four enclosures, centred at SX 55597499, occupy 6.0ha of a slight NW slope. Six huts are within or attached to the enclosures; the remainder are free standing. All are on open moorland; bisected by the A 384. It is probable that the huts were originally of Type 2 (SX 56 NE 71) with double walling, but many have been robbed to varying degrees, so that typology is uncertain. Internal diameters range from extremes of 2.7m. to 8.2m. but are commonly Between 5.8m. and 7.2m.; walling is usually 1.3m. wide and 0.7m. high. Where visible entrances are to the S and SW.

Two enclosures 'A' and 'D' have a little double walling but are mainly of single-non-contiguous blocks and slabs up to 0.8m. high. Part of 'D' consists of a band of clitter. Each of the enclosures has breaks in the walling but no clear entrance, and a single hut terminating a length of wall.

Enclosures 'B' and 'C' are heavily walled with double slabs and piled blocks, 2.2m. wide and up to 1.0m. high. 'B' has an entrance gap of 2.7m. in the S and incorporates two hut circles. 'C' has three gaps, two probably modern, in the NW and SW and an original, 2.0m. wide in the E. There is one internal hut cicle and another, much ruined, on the outer face of the NW wall.

There is no obvious field associated with the settlement.

Surveyed at 1:10 000 on MSD and at 1:2500. (5)

Centred SX55597498. Thirty seven hut circles lie on both sides of the B3357 on the SW flank of Little Mis Tor some 500m E of Merrivale Bridge.
The huts are in varying degrees of preservation, those nearest the road generally having been heavily robbed to provide stone,while four (25, 26, 27 and 28) on the S fringe of the site have had slit trenches cut into their interiors or extremities. All the huts have been terraced into the gentle SW facing slope to provide level, slightly ovoid interiors which range in diameter from 2.6m (23) to 9.3m (21). The huts generally possess low, well-built walls averaging 1.4m wide and 0.5m high many displaying signs of a double ring of orthostsat with a rubble infill. Entrances are apparent in 18 huts and all are oriented towards the S quadrant.
One hut (5) now exists as a stoney crescent on the N verge of the road. Limited reoccupation of the huts or their sites is evidenced at the single hut (36) which lies within the central enclosure and has a small circular structure built into its S side while hut 21 displays several phases of external refurbishment. The date of these reoccupations is uncertain. The fragments of four sub-rectangular enclosures are associated with the huts. Varying in size from 0.06ha to 0.24ha they are bounded by stoney banks averaging 1.5m wide and 0.6m high. These features have suffered heavily from stone robbing and none possess obvious entrances. Five hut circles (8, 15, 16, 24 and 36) are associated with these enclosures, three (8, 16 and 24) are adjoined by the enclosure walls.

Internal dimensions are averages - all dimensions are in metres.

NGRIDDiamWallWallEntComments
(Int)widthheight
SX5566751217.41.80.4S
SX5557751026.61.10.6?S
SX5558751036.01.20.5
SX5559751046.31.60.4
SX5557750756.91.40.5Bisected by road
SX5565750767.91.30.9Blocked entrance
SX5562750576.31.60.5
SX5565750287.41.30.4Adjoins enclosure
SX5567749998.81.40.5
SX55657970107.11.30.5
SX55617502115.71.50.6
SX55617488123.81.60.5
SX55527506137.41.60.5Heavily disturbed
SX55467507145.61.40.4Partially destroyed
SX55467503156.10.80.3Within Enclosure
SX55487503166.91.30.8Adjoins enclosure
SX55507502172.91.10.4Adjoins boulder
SX55507498186.21.20.4S
SX55547500197.21.00.5S
SX55567498206.21.40.7S
SX55617400219.31.90.5S
SX55617496222.90.90.4?SW
SX55597496232.60.70.5?SW
SX55627492246.41.50.7SWAdjoins enclosure
SX55597489255.51.20.5
SX55587490264.92.00.5S
SX55547490276.01.70.6?SW
SX55527490285.31.30.4
SX55557493294.21.10.5
SX55547494307.91.70.6S
SX55517493317.01.60.5?SW
SX55507490328.31.80.5SE
SX55527486333.01.40.5S
SX55477494344.81.10.4
SX55467496356.21.40.6SSW side removed
SX55527497367.91.80.5SWithin enclosure. Reused by small hut
SX55507506375.20.70.4Heavily disturbed
(6)

The site is scheduled. (7)

Source 8 is the Report on the survey mentioned above in source 6 (8)

Source 9 includes a brief accessible account of the remains for visitors. (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1963
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details : (Plan)
Page(s) : 86
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 27, 1895
Source Number : 3
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details : plan (R H Worth)
Page(s) : 280-302
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 75, 1943
Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : F63 58 RAF 6399 042-3, 02-JUL-1964
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 25-FEB-80
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Probert S 21-JAN-2000 English Heritage Field Investigation
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 12-Jan-96
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Merrivale Guardianship Area/Report
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Heritage Unlocked: Guide to free sites in Devon, Dorset and Somerset
Source details :
Page(s) : 26-27
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age settlement
Monument End Date : -1000
Monument Start Date : -2500
Monument Type : Enclosed Hut Circle Settlement, Hut Circle, Enclosure, Hearth, Floor
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit, Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Enclosed Hut Circle Settlement, Hut Circle, Enclosure, Hearth, Floor
Object Type : FLAKE
Object Material : Flint

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : HAW 9396/28
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 24191
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 285
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DV 332
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : HAW 9396/29
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : HAW 9396/25
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : HAW 9396/27
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 57 SE 19
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 440035
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1355487
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SX 57 SE 19
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1980-02-25
End Date : 1980-02-25
Associated Activities : MERRIVALE GUARDIANSHIP AREA : ENGLISH HERITAGE SURVEY PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1999-10-01
End Date : 2000-02-21