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HER Number:MDV14221
Name:Monastic homestead submerged by Avon Dam Reservoir, Dean Prior

Summary

Small Medieval homestead on Dean Moor excavated in 1956 prior to the construction of the Avon Dam Reservoir. Probably deserted in the 14th century

Location

Grid Reference:SX 677 653
Map Sheet:SX66NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDean Prior
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishDEAN PRIOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 66 NE 19
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NE/64
  • Pastscape: 441405

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOMESTEAD (Constructed, XIII to XIV - 1250 AD to 1349 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Two buildings in a square enclosure shown on 19th century map.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, 4271 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.

Royal Air Force, 1953, 58/1110, 0042/5 (Aerial Photograph). SDV157241.

Fox, A., 1957, Excavations at Dean Moor (1954-1956), 164, Interim report (Article in Serial). SDV167114.

Settlement at Dean Moor was excavated in 1956 by A. Fox.

Fox, A., 1958, A Monastic Homestead on Dean Moor, S. Devon, 141-157, plan (Article in Serial). SDV137725.

Medieval homestead covering an area of some four acres.
A small rectangular two-roomed house and separate long byre (sub-divided into pens), linked by an enclosed yard. A shed or pen butted up against the west side of the house. All structures were built with drystone granite walling. South of the buildings was a roughly rectangular cultivation plot/paddock, and a larger wedge-shaped track of moorland enclosing 4 acres with a drystone wall. The house may originally have been divided into living room and animal byre, with the separate byre being a later addition. Associated pottery was dated circa 1250-1350. The excavator suggests the site was occupied seasonally, and was a pastoral establishment. Documentary evidence indicates that it may have been run by a lay brother of Buckfast Abbey. The monastic homestead was probably deserted about the time of the Black Death (1348-1349).
Now submerged by the Avon Dam Reservoir.

Walker, H. H., 1961, Notes for a Study of Bishop Walter de Stapledon and the Church in the West Country in the Early 14th Century, 325 (Article in Serial). SDV18677.

Linehan, C. D., 1966, Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, Table 2 (Article in Serial). SDV307246.

Linehan Number 17.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

The medieval enclosure seems from the 1946 Royal Air Force aerial photograph to be built onto an earlier enclosure and it may incorporate a hut circle at SX67736540.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 147-150, Map 57, Figure 57.16 & 57.17 (Monograph). SDV337765.

'Monastic homestead' shown as a rectilinear structure at 'Brockhill Foot West enclosure'. The feature has four compartments against the northern wall and an entrance to the southern courtyard in the south-east wall. The four compartments are labelled 'byre', 'yard', 'house' and 'pen' with a 'paddock' to the south. The homestead lies 30 metres from the edge of the reservoir and is only occasionally visible.

Gerrard, S., 1993-2002, Monument Protection Programme Alternative Action Report (Report - non-specific). SDV145710.

Considered under the Monument Protection Programme but not recommended for scheduling because fully excavated and lies beneath reservoir.

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

Dean Moor deserted settlement.

Historic England, 2020, National Heritage List for England, 1003828 (National Heritage List for England). SDV363414.

The medieval farmstead is a short distance south of the southern enclosure and lies fully within the Avon Reservoir. The farmstead was also excavated by Fox revealing a compact group of structures including a two-roomed house, byre, animal pen, yard and paddock. Large numbers of artefacts provided evidence of occupation during the 13th and 14th centuries. The farmstead has been identified as a seasonal dwelling of lay bothers from Buckfast Abbey and it was abandoned around the time of the Black Death. Henry Walbrook, the last of the lay brothers is said to have set fire to the house as they departed for the final time.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV137725Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1958. A Monastic Homestead on Dean Moor, S. Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 2. Photocopy + Digital. 141-157, plan.
SDV145710Report - non-specific: Gerrard, S.. 1993-2002. Monument Protection Programme Alternative Action Report. English Heritage. Unknown.
SDV157241Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1953. 58/1110. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. 0042/5.
SDV167114Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1957. Excavations at Dean Moor (1954-1956). Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 89. Paperback Volume. 164, Interim report.
SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4271.
SDV18677Article in Serial: Walker, H. H.. 1961. Notes for a Study of Bishop Walter de Stapledon and the Church in the West Country in the Early 14th Century. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 93. A5 Hardback. 325.
SDV307246Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1966. Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Digital. Table 2.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #128144 ]
SDV337765Monograph: Butler, J.. 1993. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Four. Paperback Volume. 147-150, Map 57, Figure 57.16 & 57.17.
SDV352501Un-published: White, P.. 2013. Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads. Excel Spreadsheet. Dean Moor.
SDV363414National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2020. National Heritage List for England. Digital. 1003828.

Associated Monuments

MDV24949Related to: Avon Dam Reservoir (Monument)
MDV14799Related to: Enclosed hut circle settlement on Dean Moor, Dean Prior (Monument)
MDV5289Related to: Ore found at settlement on Dean Moor (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8467 - Excavation at homestead on Dean Moor

Date Last Edited:Jan 29 2021 9:05AM