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HER Number:MDV107529
Name:Metherall Hut Settlement, Chagford

Summary

A dispersed prehistoric settlement spread over an area of 3.8 hectares on the north slope of Metherall, south of the modern Fernworthy Reservoir. There are seven certain hut circles in the settlement and an eighth circular feature which may be a cairn or hut. Several of the hut circles were excavated in the 1930s in advance of construction of the reservoir.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 669 840
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC)

Full description

Worth, R. H., 1935, Dartmoor Exploration Committee, Twelfth Report, 119-127 (Article in Serial). SDV259660.

Report on the exavation of three hut circles at Metherell in August 1934 prior to the construction of the proposed new reservoir at Fernworthy by the Corporation of Torquay. An alleged stone row was also examined and determined to be two hedges.


Newman , P., 2013, The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon. Supplement. The Lakeside Area and Lowton Farmsteads, 6-8, 26-27, Fig. 5, 28 (Report - Survey). SDV356884.

A dispersed prehistoric settlement spread over an area of 3.8 hectares on the north slope of Metherel, south of the modern reservoir. There are seven certain hut circles in the settlement and an eighth circular feature which may be a cairn or hut. Four of these structures were submerged by the rising waters of the reservoir but as they stand relatively high within the flooded area they do become exposed during dry summers. Several of the huts were excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in advance of the reservoir construction in the 1930s. All the huts are at the larger end of the scale for Dartmoor hut circles and all are notable for the massive slabs of granite used in their construction. All appear to have suffered from stone robbing apart from one (MDV6625) which appears not to have been touched until the 1930s excavations. Associated with the huts is a series of field boundaries. It is likely that many of these walls were refurbished and reused by medieval and post-medieval farmers. However, some appear not to have been refurbished and retain their prehistoric character such as that attached to the north side of hut MDV6695. Early Ordnance Survey maps depict a double stone row extending in an east-south-east direction, leading uphill to one of the huts (MDV6625). This feature has since proved to be a walled lane.
This is one of the few locations were impressive prehistoric hut circles can be seen within a relatively short distance of a car park with facilities and are thus ideal for the less-able. It is suggested therefore that the existing access be improved, the vegetation coverage reduced and controlled and the interpretation also improved.


English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

[Includes] four stone hut circles and associated boundary walls south-east of Fernworthy Reservoir, 250 metres north-west of Metherall.
The four stone hut circles and associated boundary walls south east of Fernworthy Reservoir, 250m north west of Metherall are amongst the most visually impressive on Dartmoor. With walls standing up to 1.8m high the true scale and impressive character of Bronze Age domestic architecture can be easily appreciated.
The monument, which falls into four areas of protection, includes four substantial stone hut circles and associated boundary walls situated on a gentle north west facing slope overlooking Fernworthy Reservoir. The stone hut circles survive as circular walls each surrounding an internal area which varies from 45 sq m to 57 sq m. The heights of the surrounding walls vary between 1.1m and 1.8m. Two of the huts have visible doorways and one has a porch. The northernmost hut is attached to parallel walls leading downslope from the building. This feature would have acted as a passageway allowing unhindered access to lower parts of the valley. From the hut at NGR SX 67078403 an orthostatic wall with rubble infill measuring 1.8m wide by 0.6m high, leads east for over 50m. The two northernmost huts were excavated between 1934 and 1936 by Worth. In the northern hut he found that the floor had been previously disturbed and artefacts were limited to a few flint flakes. In the second excavated hut a flint spear head, a hammer stone and a few sherds of Bronze Age pottery were found. A 1.5m wide, gravel covered path known as Potter's Way cuts through part of the monument. The surface of this path is excluded from the scheduling, but the ground below is included.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV259660Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1935. Dartmoor Exploration Committee, Twelfth Report. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 67. Photocopy. 119-127.
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV356884Report - Survey: Newman , P.. 2013. The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon. Supplement. The Lakeside Area and Lowton Farmsteads. Newman, P.. A4 Comb Bound. 6-8, 26-27, Fig. 5, 28. [Mapped feature: #66963 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV61334Parent of: Hut circle 180 metres west of Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)
MDV6695Parent of: Hut circle 210 metres north-west of Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)
MDV6626Parent of: Hut circle 260 metres north-west of Metherall Farm, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)
MDV6625Parent of: Hut circle 300 metres north-west of Metherall Farm, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)
MDV6656Parent of: Hut circle 340 metres north-west of Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)
MDV6624Parent of: Hut circle 450 metres north-west of Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)
MDV6654Parent of: Hut circle 450 metres west-north-west of Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)
MDV6655Parent of: Hut Circle or Ring cairn 420 metres west-north-west of Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)
MDV6627Parent of: Passageway to Hut Circle at Metherall (Monument)
MDV61335Parent of: Wall adjacent to Hut Circle, Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)
MDV30790Parent of: Worked flint from Fernworthy Reservoir (Find Spot)
MDV27857Related to: Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6533 - Archaeological Survey of South-West Lakeside Trust Land around Fernworthy Reservoir

Date Last Edited:Aug 1 2016 10:21AM