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HER Number:MDV14358
Name:Vermin trap 520 metres south-south-west of Trowlesworthy Warren House

Summary

Includes two lengths of partly faced drystone walling together forming a v-shaped trap pointing towards an earlier boundary wall. The position of the trap suggests that the boundary wall was intended to help encourage the vermin into the trapping area which was originally sited at the point where the walls converge.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 565 643
Map Sheet:SX56SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishShaugh Prior
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSHAUGH PRIOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56SE/198/134
  • Old SAM Ref: 24217

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • VERMIN TRAP (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 431 (Monograph). SDV320981.


Haynes, R. G., 1970, Vermin Traps and Rabbit Warrens on Dartmoor, 158, Number 28 (Article in Serial). SDV166302.

Trowlesworthy Warren. Haynes' vermin trap No. 28. On right bank of Blackabrook; trap adapted from tinners waste heap.


Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 140374, 20/5/1995 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

Vermin trap at SX56546430. Includes two lengths of partly faced drystone walling together forming a v-shaped trap pointing towards an earlier boundary wall. The position of the trap suggests that the boundary wall was intended to help encourage the vermin into the trapping area which was originally sited at the point where the walls converge.
The location suggests that it was designed to capture vermin using the river for access into the warren. The trapping area survives as a 1.7 metre wide gap between all three walls. The north arm of the trap is 8 metres long, 1.4 metres wide and 0.7 metres high, whilst the east-north-east arm is 5 metres long, 2 metres wide and 0.7 metres high. The faced rubble boundary wall which was reused by the warreners' building this trap measures 2 metres wide and up to 0.8 metres high.
A vermin trap described by Haynes (1970) as being sited at SX56706415 could not be found. The description of this trap however correlates with the one described above and it therefore seems very likely that they are the same site.


Robertson, J. G., 1991, The Archaeology of the Upper Plym, 254-6 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV166324.


English Heritage, 2015, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV357602.

This monument includes a vermin trap situated amongst earlier tin streamworking earthworks within the Blacka Brook valley bottom. The vermin trap includes two lengths of partly faced drystone walling, together forming a `V'-shaped trap pointing towards an earlier boundary wall. The position of the trap suggests that the boundary wall was intended to help encourage the vermin into the trapping area which was originally sited at the point where the walls converge. The location of the trap suggests that it was designed to capture vermin using the river for access into the warren. The trapping area survives as a 1.7m wide gap between all three walls. The northern arm of the trap measures 8m long, 1.4m wide and 0.7m high, whilst the ENE arm is 5m long, 2m wide and 0.7m high. The faced rubble boundary wall, reused by the warreners as part of this trap, measures 2m wide and up to 0.8m high.
Vermin approaching their quarry tend to seek a route that provides visual cover, and the purpose of a trap was to funnel predators along ditches or beside walls to a central point where they could be trapped. This vermin trap forms part of Trowlesworthy Warren, which includes around 64 pillow mounds and 40 vermin traps scattered along the slopes of Little and Great Trowlesworthy Tors. The boundaries of the warren are denoted by the River Plym, Spanish Lake and Blacka Brook. Trowlesworthy Warren is generally accepted as the oldest surviving warren on Dartmoor, although recently doubt has been expressed concerning its medieval origins. However, it is known that the warren existed by 1651 when it was occupied by John Hamblin, a skinner from Plymouth. The warren appears to have remained in constant use from this time until the first half of the 20th century. The streamwork earthworks and length of boundary wall below and within 2m of the trap are included in the scheduling. This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.


Ridgers, H. + Ridgers, C., 2015, Of Varments and Vermin Traps, 5, Number 55 (Report - Assessment). SDV358632.

SX5653 6428. Now close to the Blackabrook itself, not obvious as is obscured by vegetation.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV166302Article in Serial: Haynes, R. G.. 1970. Vermin Traps and Rabbit Warrens on Dartmoor. Post-Medieval Archaeology. 4. A4 Bound. 158, Number 28.
SDV166324Post-Graduate Thesis: Robertson, J. G.. 1991. The Archaeology of the Upper Plym. 254-6.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 140374, 20/5/1995.
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 431.
SDV357602National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2015. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. [Mapped feature: #81233 ]
SDV358632Report - Assessment: Ridgers, H. + Ridgers, C.. 2015. Of Varments and Vermin Traps. A4 Comb Bound. 5, Number 55.

Associated Monuments

MDV14148Part of: Trowlesworthy Warren (Monument)
MDV32069Related to: Pillow mound 490 metres south of Trowlesworthy Warren House (Monument)
MDV55260Related to: Streamworks within the valley bottom of the Blacka Brook (Monument)
MDV14357Related to: Vermin trap 490 metres south of Trowlesworthy Warren House (Monument)
MDV32067Related to: Wall north-east of the Blacka Brook (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7369 - Survey of Granite Loading Bays at Trowlesworthy, Devon

Date Last Edited:Dec 14 2015 12:07PM