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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 443524

Hob Uid: 443524
Location :
West Devon
Chagford, Gidleigh
Grid Ref : SX6597085960
Summary : The remains of possibly five double stone rows and one single stone row, all of Bronze Age date, on Shovel Down. The stones vary in appearance from barely detectable stumps to 1 metres in height.
More information : (SX 65898616 to SX 65938605) Stone Row (NR)

(SX 65968615 to SX 65968601) Stone Row (NR)

(SX 65948601 to 65998590) Stone Row (NR). (1)

The remains of five double stone rows and one single row can
be seen on Shovel Down (Shuggledown) between Batworthy Corner
and Thornworthy Corner. They may represent processional
avenues, originally they appear to have led from an erect stone
on the lower side of a slope to a cairn set up on the false
crest of the ridge above.

('A' SX 65898616 to SX 65938605) A double row, 476ft long
with 4 feet between the lines, so seriously robbed as to be
almost a single row. It has no special feature marking either

('B' SX 65968615 to SX 65968601) A double row, 596 feet long
with 3 1/2 feet between the lines, and the stones spaced about
6 feet apart. Only twelve pairs and fifteen single stones
remain. The southern end of the row terminates in a four-fold
dtone circle (SX 68 NE 17).

('C' SX 65948601 to SX 65998590) A double row, 380 feet long,
with an average distance of five feet between the rows. Most
of the pairs of stones are complete and the southern end
terminates in a barrow (SX 68 NE 34). No special feature marks
the northern end.

('D' SX 66008588 to SX 66058575) A single row, 555 feet long,
lying east of ('E') and overlapping it at its northern end
where it curves to the west and terminates in a supposed

('E')SX 66028581 to SX 66028567) A double row, 485 feet long
with 3 1/4 feet between the rows which run almost due north
and south, and terminates in a standing stone known as the
Longstone (SX 68 NE 39). Fairly complete at the northern end
but more ragged towards the south.

('F' SX66028567 to SX 66038549) A double row continuing on
almost the same alignment as ('E'), 555 feet long and terminating
in a single standing stone, the sole survivor of the Three Boys
(SX 68 NE 40). Only a few set stones survive but Ormerod (a)
states that in 1858 the pits left by the removal of the other
stones of the double row could still be seen. (2)

Paul Pettit refers to two more rows, not mentioned by Worth,
in the Shovel Down complex while Mrs D Woolner mentions a total
of ten rows, eight double and two single, which can be
distinguished. Mrs Woolner gives no siting information but Pettit
describes one row as lying 40 yards to the east of ('C') at
its north end and running due south to its southern end which is
25 yards east of ('C'). It is a single row consisting of about
twenty small stones. The other row he describes as being double
and consisting of a few stones lying north of ('D') and
converging upon it. Pettit also mentions a small cairn north
of('E') and on the same alignment and near a recorded cist
(SX 68 NE 34). (This may possibly be on the site of the blocking-
stone mentioned by Worth at the end of 'D'. Certainly 'E', 'D',
and the double row mentioned by Pettit appear to converge upon
this point). Pettit also observes that the alignment of ('A')
if continued southwards would end at a cairn (SX 68 NE 48).
Lady Fox refers to the whole Shovel Down complex as a santuary
and suggests that all the monuments are contemporary with the
Beaker period. (3-5)

Following a field visit to Shovel Down (SX 660860), in August
1976, the Survey Officer for Devon Sites and Monuments Register
reported a northward extension to the single stone rows
'D'-'G'-'H' on OS 25" AM Survey of 8.7.74; thus giving an
approximate total of 145 visible stones, and a total length of
about 571m for this row, which extends from a point 'practically
on the level' with the 'Longstone (SX 68 NE 39) to a point at
about 11.0m south of a 19th century tinner's trial drive near
Batsworthy Corner (SX 660862) (6). (This 1976 extension is
recorded as stone row 'J' on OS 25" AM survey of 1978). (6)

Centred SX 66968660. Shovel Down stone row complex, of probable
Bronze Age date, occupies the northern and southern slopes of
a broad east-west ridge of unenclosed moorland between a height
range of 1350-1400 ft OD and is clearly associated with, and
related to, other probable Bronze Age monuments in the immediate
area, viz: 'Fourfold Circle' (SX 68 NE 17); Cairn (SX 68 NE 34);
'Long Stone' (SX 68 NE 39), 'Three Boy's Stone' (SX 68 NE 40), and
a possible Cairn (SX 68 NE 54). The stone rows survive in a
generally well preserved state, and existing damage is probably
attributable to peat diggings, 19th century surface mining,
and stone robbing for 'new-take' enclosures especially in the
area of Batsworthy Corner (SX 660862), although in one instance
probable contemporary damage appears to be the result of a
late-prehistoric reave construction (see 25" AM survey &
SX 68 NE 63).

Original field work of July 1974 was supplemented by minor
revision in July 1978 following a report (6) of a new single stone
row location (see Row 'J'), and additional stones made visible
by peat shrinkage during the very long summer drought of
1976. Stones range in height from those just visible as stumps at
at ground level to up to about 1.0m and the 'standing' angles vary
from the vertical to near recumbent. The definite possibility
exists that further stones will be located, and the present
stone count (July 78) cannot be considered as final.

Five double, and four single stone rows can be identified;
others including Pettit's double row, appear to be
mis-identifications of denuded probable Bronze Age reaves
(see SX 68 NE 63) containing stone.

A: SX 65888617 to SX 65948602. A double row (78 stones visible
July '78), now 155.0m long excluding two displaced stones at
the south end. Three gaps of 8.0m to 15.0m are the result
of stone robbing. Stones are missing (? Contemporary damage)
at the south end where a ?Bronze Age reave (SX 68 NE 63) cuts
diagonally across the rows at SX 65948602.

A probable cairn at SX 65928607 (SX 68 NE 54) abuts the west
side but there are no terminal features unless the row formerly
extended a further 10.0m southwards to a cairn mentioned by
Worth and Pettit (SX 68 NE 48), now unidentifiable.

B: SX 65958620 to SX 65958602. A double row (39 stones visible
July '78) of which only ten stones remain in the northern 140.0m.
The sockets of a further 11 stones were clearly defined (July '78)
in this latter extent, as squarish surface depressions emphasised
by a very strong grass growth.

The south end is aligned on a cairn 'Fourfold Circle'
(SX 68 NE 17) and separated from it by two massive fallen stones,
one 'needle-shaped' and similar to the 'Longstone'
(SX 68 NE 39), southern terminal of stone row 'E'.

C: SX 65998592 to SX 65938602. A double row (83 stones visible
July '78), with minor breaks; at 40 metres from the northern
end it is overlain and mutilated by a reave and later hollow-way.
The row terminates at the southern end on a cairn with the
remains of a cist (SX 68 NE 34). The apparent north-westward
extension as a single stone row, is a denuded probable Bronze
Age reave (SX 68 NE 63).

D: SX 66028583 to SX 66048568. A single row (47 stones visible
July '78) 149.0m long, with no terminal features; it curves
slightly to the south west Worth (2) extends it as a reave for a
further 50.0m to the north but this extension is straight, on a
different alignment, and almost certainly a separate row (see G).

E: SX 66028582 to SX 66028567. A double row (83 stones visible
July '78), 147.0m long, and much robbed towards its southern
termination at the 'Longstone' (SX 68 NE 39).

F: SX 66028567 to SX 66038549. Only three stones of this (?)
double row now survive. Two in line stones shown 60.0m south
of the 'Longstone' on Worth's (2) plan of 1931 fall in an area
which has been stripped of peat in recent years. A third stone
is visible 22.0m. north of 'Three Boy's Stone' (SX 60 NE 40).

G: SX 66008591 to SX 66028585. A single row (25 stones visible
July '78), 60.0m long; two gaps (? stone robbing) of 6.0m
& 8.0m occur towards the north end. The north penultimate stone
(now recumbent) is of much larger slab-like proportions and
may have originally served as a blocking-stone.

H: SX 65998599 to SX 65998595. A single row (24 stones visible
July '78), 51.0m long with three gaps of from 5.0m to 8.0m
recorded by Pettit (3), but not Worth (2).

J: SX 65978625 to SX 65988603. A single row (46 stones
visible July '78), 228.0m long, there are no special terminal
features. Many gaps of from 3.0m to 47.0m occur throughout
the entire length of the row. The southern end has probably
been overlain by a later reave (SX 68 NE 63). The northern end
most probably extended further northward, and it would appear
to have been destroyed by a mining 'rake' of circa 19th century
date, and stone robbing? for the nearby Batworthy enclosure

The stone rows have been surveyed at 1:2500 on AM's SX 65/6685;
SX 6586; and composite permatrace overlay, with illustration
surveys at 1:1250. (7)

A complex of four double stone rows A,B,C and E-F and one single row D-G-H-J. They lie between 398m and 425m OD on N facing slopes between Chagford Common and Shovel Down.
They occupy the head of a gentle combe in the angle formed by the N flank of the ridge running from Kestor to Shovel Down and immediately below the ridge. Two of the rows run over the crest and onto the SE facing slopes of Shovel Down.
A 1:200 survey was carried out in August 1991. The survey revealed fewer stones than were recorded in 1978, but no probing was done. The rows are generally as described by authority 7, but an updated description is held in the archive.
The general preservation of the complex is good. However, some peat cuting has taken place and stones have been removed for the newtake walls at Batworthy Corner and Thornworthy Corner. This is particularly noticeable at the S end of E-F where only yhree stones survive, but a large number of very slight hollows are visible confirming Ormerods observations made in 1858 (see authority 2a).
Other features which effect the preservation of the rows include prospecting at the N end of the complex, a hollow way and the Southill Leat. This is especially serious on B and C where paths have developed between the lines of stones, and have eroded the surface by up to 0.2m. Animal erosion exacerbates the problem.
All the double rows have foci of some kind:
A aligns on the Scorhill stone circle over 1m to the NNW at SX 65468738.
B has the fourfold circle at its S end and two recumbent monoliths (SX 68 NE 17).
C has a cairn and cist at its S end (SX 68 NE 34).
E-F has two pairs of pillar-like stones at its N end, the long Stone within it (SX 68 NE 39) and the Three Boys (SX 68 NE 40), presumably a blocking feature at the S end.
The single row, D-G-H-J, has no surviving focal points.
The complex has been cut through by a later reave, part of a system whose construction must have marked the end of the use of the rows. Stones from row C are visible within the bank of the reave, but it is clear that the reave bisects the whole complex.

(see RCHME plan `Shovel Down' at 1:2500 scale and 1:200 survey of the Shovel Down Stone rows). (8)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1963
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Worth's Dartmoor
Source details : (R Hansford Worth)
Page(s) : 219-222
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Source : Shovel Down Stone Rows/ink survey
Source details :
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Source : Castor Parallel System NMR description sheet
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Source : Shovel Down Stone Rows/ink survey
Source details :
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Source : Shovel Down/ink survey
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Source : Castor Parallel System/ink survey
Source details :
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Source Number : 2a
Source details : Reports and Trans of Plymouth Inst (G W Ormerod)
Page(s) : 20-24
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1, 1858
Source Number : 3
Source details : Prehistoric Dartmoor 1974 149-54 (Paul Pettit)
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Source Number : 4
Source : Devon Archaeological Society newsletter
Source details : (D H Woolner)
Page(s) : 02-Mar
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 09-Sep-64
Source Number : 5
Source : South-West England, 3500BC-AD600
Source details :
Page(s) : 62-4
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Source Number : 6
Source details : Devon S and M Register Report of 1.10.76 and sketchplan (T Greeves)
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JWS 16-JUL-74
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : RCHME Field Investigation, 19-SEP-1991, WR Wilson-North.
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Source : Shovel Down
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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 : Stone Alignment
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 68 NE 16
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 443527
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 443632
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SX 68 NE 16
Start Date : 1974-07-16
End Date : 1974-07-16
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SX 68 NE 16
Start Date : 1991-09-19
End Date : 1991-09-19