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HER Number:MDV14217
Name:Deserted Medieval Settlement (Site 59), Okehampton Park


Deserted Medieval Settlement: Linehan's Site 59 (now destroyed by quarrying). Once consisted of the earthwork remains of longhouses, field boundaries and trackways. One of nine medieval settlement sites in Okehampton Park.


Grid Reference:SX 573 929
Map Sheet:SX59SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishOkehampton Hamlets
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishOKEHAMPTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 59 SE 2
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX59SE/5/8
  • Pastscape: 440846

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Early Medieval to XV - 1066 AD to 1450 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, 1780, 1780 survey with map (Report - Survey). SDV346933.

A survey of 1780 with map, shows a site at approximately this location called "Yellow Houses". Other details: 1508, V4.

Royal Air Force, 1961, 58/4424, 33 (Aerial Photograph). SDV280247.

Other details: F44.

Linehan, C. D., 1965, Deserted Sites on Dartmoor, Devon, 174 (Article in Serial). SDV217992.

Linehan, C. D., 1966, Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, 125-131 (Article in Serial). SDV307246.

Linehan, Site 59. Seven longhouses in two groups, a sunken way leads to the track above surrounding crofts and enclosures. Other details: Table 2, plan.

Haynes, R. G., 1966-1969, Ruined Sites on Dartmoor (Un-published). SDV150434.

Six buildings and possibly others in thorn thicket, from 18.3 meters by 3.7 meters to 6.4 meters by 3.0 meters with crofts and enclosures. Sunken way associated with site (Haynes' description identical to Linehan, 1965). Other details: 103.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1974, SX59SE2 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV215263.

Site 59 (SX57309298). Two adjacent groups containing two probable houses, three possible ones, two ancillary buildings and two small pounds.

Balkwill, C. J., 1976, Quarries (Report - Survey). SDV325006.

Other details: No. 6.

Austin, D., 1978, Excavations in Okehampton Deerpark, Devon, 191-239 (Article in Serial). SDV217971.

Excavation 1976-1978. Site consists of seven buildings, lying in two groups with related enclosures (yards and cattle pens). A timber structure with ancillary timber buildings (dating to the first half of the 12th century) was replaced by a stone longhouse. Further growth of the farmstead in the later 12th and 13th centuries resulted in two principal longhouses, one or two smaller ones, and three buildings of uncertain function. Stake holes within the stone building were interpreted as the setting for internal features. The farmstead can probably be associated with the conversion of pastoral waste into cultivation (12th century), and practised a mixed agricultural economy. Within the area cleared for parkland circa 1300. Over 10,000 pottery sherds were recovered, most corresponding in fabric to Okehampton Castle Fabric I.

Austin, D. + Daggett, R. H. + Walker, M. J. C., 1980, Farms and fields in Okehampton Park, 39-58 (Article in Serial). SDV324998.

Opinion is now that the 13th century would encompass the whole life of Site 59.

Griffiths, D. M., 1983, Deserted Medieval Settlement (Site Visit). SDV215265.

(Site visited 10/8/1982) Site now completely destroyed by Meldon Quarry.

Austin, D., 1985, Dartmoor and the Upland Village of the South West, 71-9 (Article in Monograph). SDV217979.

Austin discusses the reinterpretation of Site 59 (plan) and compares it with other south-western settlements.

Unknown, 1992, Deserted Medieval Settlements (Report - Survey). SDV346934.

For the most part the buildings now appear as banks of stone and earth up to 0.5 meters high. A few are cut back into a local slope but the majority occur on level ground. Small medieval fields with attendant trackways are traceable throughout the area, approximately 50 hectares. Some of the fields show evidence of ridge and furrow ploughing. Two probable houses, three possible ones, two ancillary buildings and two small pounds. Other details: Date unknown.

Probert, S. A. J., 2004, Okehampton Castle and Park, West Devon: Survey Report, 40-1 (Report - Survey). SDV324949.

Site 59 was extensively excavated between 1976-8 and consisted of seven buildings and associated enclosures. The excavations showed the site commenced with a timber structure later replaced by a stone equivalent on the same site. The site (interpreted as a farmstead), expanded to include three, possibly four longhouse-type structures and several ancillary buildings.
A large amount of pottery was excavated but was hard to date and at the time it was assumed that the site was abandoned when the deer park was established in the period 1292-1306. More recent research however, contradicts this and occupation is believed to have continued into the 15th century, ceasing before 1450.
Site 59 is typical of the other sites within Okehampt9on Park so it may also be possible that these were occupied during a similar period and that the inhabitants were not evicted when the park was established.

White, P., 2013, Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads, Okehampton Quarry (Un-published). SDV352501.

Okehampton Quarry deserted Medieval settlement Site Number 59.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV150434Un-published: Haynes, R. G.. 1966-1969. Ruined Sites on Dartmoor. Ruined Sites on Dartmoor. Manuscript + Digital.
SDV215263Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1974. SX59SE2. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV215265Site Visit: Griffiths, D. M.. 1983. Deserted Medieval Settlement.
SDV217971Article in Serial: Austin, D.. 1978. Excavations in Okehampton Deerpark, Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. Unknown. 191-239.
SDV217979Article in Monograph: Austin, D.. 1985. Dartmoor and the Upland Village of the South West. Medieval Villages. 5. Unknown. 71-9.
SDV217992Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1965. Deserted Sites on Dartmoor, Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 97. A5 Hardback. 174.
SDV280247Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1961. 58/4424. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 33.
SDV307246Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1966. Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Digital. 125-131.
SDV324949Report - Survey: Probert, S. A. J.. 2004. Okehampton Castle and Park, West Devon: Survey Report. English Heritage Report. AI/03/2004. A4 Stapled + Digital. 40-1.
SDV324998Article in Serial: Austin, D. + Daggett, R. H. + Walker, M. J. C.. 1980. Farms and fields in Okehampton Park. Landscape History. 2. Unknown. 39-58.
SDV325006Report - Survey: Balkwill, C. J.. 1976. Quarries. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Rural Survey.
SDV346933Report - Survey: Unknown. 1780. 1780 survey with map. Devon Record Office Collection. Unknown.
SDV346934Report - Survey: Unknown. 1992. Deserted Medieval Settlements. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field/Recording In. Unknown.
SDV352501Un-published: White, P.. 2013. Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads. Excel Spreadsheet. Okehampton Quarry.

Associated Monuments

MDV4806Part of: Deserted Medieval Settlements, Sites 52-59, at Okehampton (Monument)
MDV14212Related to: Deserted Medieval Settlement (Linehan Site 53a & b), Okehampton Park (Monument)
MDV14218Related to: Deserted Medieval Settlement (Linehan Site 54), Okehampton Park (Monument)
MDV30507Related to: Deserted Medieval Settlement (Site 112), Okehampton Park (Monument)
MDV14211Related to: Deserted Medieval Settlement (Site 52), Okehampton Park (Monument)
MDV21000Related to: Deserted Medieval Settlement (Site 53c), Okehampton Park (Monument)
MDV14213Related to: Deserted Medieval Settlement (Site 55), Okehampton Park (Monument)
MDV14214Related to: Deserted Medieval Settlement (Site 56), Okehampton Park (Monument)
MDV14215Related to: Deserted Medieval Settlement (Site 57), Okehampton Park (Monument)
MDV14216Related to: Deserted Medieval Settlement (Site 58), Okehampton Park (Monument)
MDV21001Related to: Hollow way, Okehampton Park (Monument)
MDV4808Related to: Site of a Chapel in Okehampton Park, Okehampton Hamlets (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV3474 - Earthwork survey of Okehampton Castle and Park
  • EDV8625 - Excavation of deserted Medieval settlement, Okehampton Park

Date Last Edited:Mar 16 2021 9:13AM