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HER Number:MDV122145
Name:Site of a Medieval Farmstead west of St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Buckfastleigh


Site of a Medieval farmstead part of which was excavated in 2012-2013 to the west of St Mary's Catholic Primary School


Grid Reference:SX 740 672
Map Sheet:SX76NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishBuckfastleigh
Ecclesiastical ParishBUCKFASTLEIGH

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMSTEAD (XIII to XIX - 1300 AD to 1900 AD)

Full description

Steinmetzer, M., 2014, Archaeological monitoring and recording at St Mary’s Primary School, Buckfast (Report - Watching Brief). SDV356355.

A watching brief undertaken ot the south-east of the Medieval farmstead found no evidence of land use in that area.

Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Area of excavation of part of a Medieval farmstead to the west of St Mary's Primary School.

Brown, S., July 2013, St. Mary's Primary School, Buckfast, Devon. Archaeological Watching Brief 2012-2013, 4-28, Figures 3-24 (Report - Watching Brief). SDV358143.

Site of a Medival farmstead partly excavated to the west of St Mary's Primary School in Buckfast. The excavation exposed two buildings, part of a ditch, several yards and the remains of several walls. The farm covered more than 760 square metres and extended beyond the limits of the excavation to the north, east and south.

Building A was the largest structure in use in the 14th or early 15th century. It was 6.4 metres wide internally and more than 11 metres long. Only the north end survived with walls 0.9 metres wide and built of limestone and shillet rubble bonded with lime mortar. The walls were built on foundations of large granite river cobbles set in brown clay in a trench cut into bedrock 0.35 metres deep. Originally there was a 1.75 metre wide doorway in the west wall which was later blocked. The sloping floor would have assisted drainage suggesting the building was intended for animals rather than humans. Several internal drains were excavated some of which had a thin film of ash and charcoal overlying them. The building stood until the the late 16th or 17th century before it was demolished.

Building B was located 9.5 metres to the north-east of Building A. It was 5.86 metres wide internally with walls 0.9 metres thick and built of limestone and shillet rubble. The foundations were of limestone rubble set in brown clay built up from ground level. There was an external projection on the south-west corner interpreted as the stub of a buttress, yard wall or jamb of a gateway which was later removed. The floor was of pitched slate laid in two separate strips along the length of the building with a channel up to 0.4 metres wide between them. The sloping floor would indicate that the building was used for animals. The only dating evidence was a single fragment of late Medieval roof tile. A later floor level had a carefully laid stone surface but the original drain remained. The passage along the west side of the building was later resurfaced with a tiled floor with pottery fragments dating from the 17th or early 18th century. The latest floor was a cobbled surface associated with a window opening or chute inserted through the west wall which may have been used for deliveries arriving in Yard C to the west.

Yard C and revetment wall 46 were uncovered between Building A and Building B.

Yard D and post-trench 34 were located to the north-east of Building A. Three post holes were excavated 0.25 metres diameter by up to 1 metre deep which may have been associated with a stock pen or shed.

Yard E and revetment wall 61 were located to the south-east of Building B with a terraced area.

Yard F located to the east of Building A and south of Building B with a raised 3 metre wide pathway along the west side. The yard appears to have remained in use until the 19th century.

Yard G lay to the west of Building A and south of Yard D. It was enclosed on the west side by Ditch 31 and crossed by a water duct.

Ditch 31 marked the western limit of the development. A 2 metre length of the ditch was excavated and found to be V-shaped 2 metres deep with a flat bottom 0.42 metres wide.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV356355Report - Watching Brief: Steinmetzer, M.. 2014. Archaeological monitoring and recording at St Mary’s Primary School, Buckfast. Oakford Archaeology. OA1152. Digital.
SDV358143Report - Watching Brief: Brown, S.. July 2013. St. Mary's Primary School, Buckfast, Devon. Archaeological Watching Brief 2012-2013. Stewart Brown Associates. A4 Bound. 4-28, Figures 3-24.
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #111773 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV104534Related to: Orchard to the south of 'South Gate', Buckfastleigh (Monument)
MDV104535Related to: Site of Building to north of St. Mary's School, Buckfastleigh (Building)
MDV47941Related to: St Mary's Catholic School, Buckfast (Building)
MDV104530Related to: Western boundary of Monastic Outer Court, Buckfast (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6422 - Archaeological monitoring and recording at St Mary’s Primary School, Buckfast, (Ref: OA1152)
  • EDV6185 - Archaeological Assessment of St. Mary's School and St. Mary's Convent, Buckfast (Ref: Project No. 1029)
  • EDV6726 - Archaeological Watching Brief at St. Mary's Primary School, Buckfast

Date Last Edited:Jun 8 2018 2:31PM