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HER Number:MDV20315
Name:Medieval Field System, Okehampton Park

Summary

Medieval field system associated with the deserted Medieval farmsteads in Okehampton Park. The field system was framed around a network of trackways which link the farms and subdivide the landscape into roughly rectangular fields, in many of which is ridge and furrow. The surviving earthworks cover approx 200 acres.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 58 92
Map Sheet:SX59SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishOkehampton
Civil ParishOkehampton Hamlets
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishOKEHAMPTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthworks and stone walls of a prehistoric cairnfield, cairns and hut circles, medieval field system and deserted medieval settlements and modern miltary training camp in Okehampton Park

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX59SE/5/11
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FIELD SYSTEM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 11/04/1946, 3G/UK/138/PT V, 5433-4 (HER 34/157-8) (Aerial Photograph). SDV227199.


Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1995, 4199 (HER 34/98) (Aerial Photograph). SDV354842.


Greeves, T. A. P., 1978, Archaeological sites within Okehampton Park and its vicinity, 1D (Un-published). SDV255054.


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

Field system associated with the deserted medieval farmsteads in Okehampton Park. The field system was framed around a network of trackways which link the farms and subdivide the landscape into roughly rectangular fields, in many of which is ridge and furrow. Those fields without ridge and furrow were probably improved pasture or permanent hay fields. The surviving earthworks cover approx 200 acres. Three different ploughing types have been observed (and are fully described). Probably 12th/13th century. Pollen analysis and carbon 14 dating near site 59 (5/8) showed a sequence of alder and hazel scrub, being replaced (from the Romano British period) by open grassland, with pastoral and arable farming in early post-conquest period and a subsequent conversion at the end of the middle ages to open pasture.


Griffiths, D. M., 1983, Field System in Okehampton Park (Personal Comment). SDV227197.

Site visit 17th June 1983. Traces of ridge and furrow visible on the ground, particularly where the grass etc has been allowed to grow. Also those field banks not in present use stand up as earthworks 0.5 - 1.0 metres high. Some of the field system has been destroyed by Meldon Quarry. Visible on RAF aerial photos.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EA, 2a,3,4,5,6,6a,7,8,9,10,11,11a,12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV215278.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EB, 1, 2, 3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV346229.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EC, 8,9,10,10a (Aerial Photograph). SDV217997.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/ED, 1, 2, 2A, 3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV215279.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EE, 5,6,7,8,8a,9,10,11,11a (Aerial Photograph). SDV217999.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EK, 7,8,9,10,10a,11,12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV215280.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EL, 1, 1A (Aerial Photograph). SDV215281.


Wessex Archaeology, 2001, Okehampton Camp Devon. Archaeological Desk Based Assessment and Earthwork Survey, 7-10-11, Appendix 1 (Report - Survey). SDV360511.

Medieval field system now partly overlain by the army camp. The boundaries are defined by cornditches, turf and stone banks with a ditch on one side. The banks are an average of 1.5 metres wide and up to 0.5 metres high, the ditches vary between 0.8 and 1.3 metres wide and are about 0.4 metres deep. The fields vary in size and shape and two major influences can be seen on the development of the field pattern. Firstly, the fields fit with the southern boundary of the deer park with no evidence to suggest that they ever extended beyond it. This suggests that the medieval settlements and their associated field systems were planted within a defined area, later to become the deer park in an attempt to foster agriculture during the 13th century. Alternatively, the settlements were not cleared when the area was emparked and continued to develop their field systems up to the park boundary during at least part of the 14th century. The second influence on the field pattern was the need to provide access routes both between individual settlements and to the open moor for summer grazing. The trackways that traverse the area are about 9.0 metres wide and have the same irregular traits as the field boundaries and meander from moorgate to settlement. It is interesting to note that several of the roads within the army camp appear to have been influenced by the underlying medieval field pattern.
Three types of medieval ploughing have been identified; long units of narrow ridges defined by low banks, large almost square groups of narrow, straight ridge and furrow and long curving sweeps of narrow ridge and furrow.


Wessex Archaeology, 2002, Okehampton Camp. Archaeological Building Recording Survey and Final Earthwork Survey Report, 7-10 (Report - Survey). SDV348121.

Medieval field system now partly overlain by the army camp. The boundaries are defined by cornditches, turf and stone banks with a ditch on one side. The banks are an average of 1.5 metres wide and up to 0.5 metres high, the ditches vary between 0.8 and 1.3 metres wide and are about 0.4 metres deep. The fields vary in size and shape and two major influences can be seen on the development of the field pattern. Firstly, the fields fit with the southern boundary of the deer park with no evidence to suggest that they ever extended beyond it. This suggests that the medieval settlements and their associated field systems were planted within a defined area, later to become the deer park in an attempt to foster agriculture during the 13th century. Alternatively, the settlements were not cleared when the area was emparked and continued to develop their field systems up to the park boundary during at least part of the 14th century. The second influence on the field pattern was the need to provide access routes both between individual settlements and to the open moor for summer grazing. The trackways that traverse the area are about 9.0 metres wide and have the same irregular traits as the field boundaries and meander from moorgate to settlement. It is interesting to note that several of the roads within the army camp appear to have been influenced by the underlying medieval field pattern.
Three types of medieval ploughing have been identified; long units of narrow ridges defined by low banks, large almost square groups of narrow, straight ridge and furrow and long curving sweeps of narrow ridge and furrow.


English Heritage, 2005, Medieval Survey Information (Report - Survey). SDV345602.

Field system shown on survey

Sources / Further Reading

SDV215278Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EA. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2a,3,4,5,6,6a,7,8,9,10,11,11a,12.
SDV215279Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/ED. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1, 2, 2A, 3.
SDV215280Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EK. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 7,8,9,10,10a,11,12.
SDV215281Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EL. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1, 1A.
SDV217997Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EC. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 8,9,10,10a.
SDV217999Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EE. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 5,6,7,8,8a,9,10,11,11a.
SDV227197Personal Comment: Griffiths, D. M.. 1983. Field System in Okehampton Park.
SDV227199Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 11/04/1946. 3G/UK/138/PT V. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 5433-4 (HER 34/157-8).
SDV255054Un-published: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1978. Archaeological sites within Okehampton Park and its vicinity. Unknown. 1D.
SDV324998Article in Serial: Austin, D. + Daggett, R. H. + Walker, M. J. C.. 1980. Farms and fields in Okehampton Park. Landscape History. 2. Unknown. Plan.
SDV345602Report - Survey: English Heritage. 2005. Medieval Survey Information. English Heritage Report. Digital. [Mapped feature: #82737 ]
SDV346229Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EB. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1, 2, 3.
SDV348121Report - Survey: Wessex Archaeology. 2002. Okehampton Camp. Archaeological Building Recording Survey and Final Earthwork Survey Report. Wessex Archaeology Report. 50182. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 7-10.
SDV354842Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1995. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4199 (HER 34/98).
SDV360511Report - Survey: Wessex Archaeology. 2001. Okehampton Camp Devon. Archaeological Desk Based Assessment and Earthwork Survey. Wessex Archaeology Report. 50171. A4 Comb Bound. 7-10-11, Appendix 1.

Associated Monuments

MDV4806Part of: Deserted Medieval Settlements, Sites 52-59, at Okehampton (Monument)
MDV14219Related to: Okehampton Deer Park. Okehampton Hamlets (Park/Garden)
MDV64026Related to: Okehampton Royal Artillery Training Camp (Monument)
MDV4799Related to: Stone Cross adjoining Fitz (or Fice's) Well, Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)
MDV70200Related to: Zig-zag trench near St Michael's Bungalow, Okehampton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV5544 - Building Recording and Earthwork Survey at Okehampton Camp
  • EDV7620 - Okehampton Artillary Range
  • EDV3474 - Earthwork survey of Okehampton Castle and Park
  • EDV8007 - Okehampton Camp Devon: Archaeological Desk-based Assessment and Earthwork Survey (Ref: 50171.01)

Date Last Edited:Jan 11 2019 2:21PM