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HER Number:MDV21351
Name:Earthworks west of Buckland Abbey

Summary

An extensive area of low earthworks has been recorded to the west of Buckland Abbey. They may represent monastic modifications to the stream for fish ponds or industrial use. However, an irrigation system was also installed in the 1790s and it is likely, therefore, that some of the earthworks are 18th century in date.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 485 668
Map Sheet:SX46NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBuckland Monachorum
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBUCKLAND MONACHORUM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 437795
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX46NE/544
  • Old SAM Ref: 24846
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX46NE16
  • Tide Project: 10/07/2020

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • EARTHWORK (XIII to XVIII - 1201 AD to 1800 AD (Between))

Full description

Barber, B., 1983, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV341359.

Extensive earthworks in field to west of Buckland Abbey including building platforms, terraces and trackways. They are currently being surveyed.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1983 - 1994, SX46NE16 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV341360.

Earthworks occupy 2.5 hectares of a pasture field to the west of Buckland Abbey which was formerly an orchard. A streamlet, issuing from a spring beyond the eastern boundary of the area flows westwards, roughly bisecting the area, the ground rising to its north and south sides. Towards the western end it is supplemented, via an adjacent marsh, by another spring which is partly enclosed by mortared walling. Apart from some lynchetting the main feature to the south of the stream is a slight hollow way, shown as a track on the 1982 6 inch Ordnance Survey map, and which in 1942 led to a cottage (now demolished), at SX48376634 immediately southwest of the enclosed and surveyed area. To the north of the stream a half dozen platforms have been levelled into the hillslope, recessed to depths ranging from 0.3 metres to 1.1 metres square and rectilinear in plan, they vary in area from 35 to 400 square metres. It is possible that each incorporated a building at some period but there are no traces of any stone foundations. They are arranged irregularly and with the exception of two 35 metre lengths of hollow way, which form a junction towards the middle of the area, there is no linking route. At SX48456682, an area of marsh within an artificially created depression, evidently a former pond, occupies an area of 0.7 hectares. It is bounded on the north and east by scarping which reaches a maximum height of 1.6 metres along the north side. At the north east corner the plan is distorted by a short lead-in terrace, possibly outspill from a digging to its north. At the west end of the marsh a retaining bank 9 metres wide overall and 20 metres long crosses the valley floor so far as the stream. It is 1.6 metres high on the outer face but barely 0.4 metres high on the inner, where there has been considerable silting. This pond bay does not continue to the south of the stream but here the ground rises steeply and an extended sluice, 3 metres to 4 metres long, would sufficiently retain the water. The size, form and situation of the work suggest that it was a fishpond. From appearance and layout alone it is difficult to judge whether the earthworks to the n of the stream fall within a medieval context and thus were related to the abbey or dependant upon it or whether they are associated with post-reformation occupation when the abbey was purchased by the Grenvilles. On the south the area is now separated from the present abbey grounds and agricultural land by modern fencing and hedging. On the north a fine estate type wall of mortared slab stone has been constructed on a terrace, the wall continuing around the eastern boundary. It is unfaced, is not confined to this area alone, and would seem to be of post medieval date. Fairly good condition; permanent pasture. No finds were made. Other details: Copy of plan in parish file.

Gaskell-Brown, C., 1986 - 1987, Buckland Abbey, Devon, 4 (Report - Survey). SDV242027.

Surveys in 1983 defined a substantial area of earthworks in the Old Orchard. It was suggested that they may represent monastic modifications to the stream for fish ponds or industrial use. However, a substantial irrigation system was installed by William Marshall in the 1790s and it is likely, therefore, that some of the earthworks are 18th century in date.

Devon Religious Houses Survey, 1986/87, Devon Religious Houses Survey 1986/87. Preliminary Assessment Form. Buckland (Un-published). SDV358417.

Earthworks have been oserved in fields to the west of the abbey.

Gibbons, P., 1994, 134699 (Un-published). SDV241967.

In field 5383 in the valley to the west of Buckland Abbey there are extensive low earthworks associated with the stream which include a terraced area, the site of a large pond retained by a dam, and drainage channels with stone revetted sections of their banks. These features have been variously interpreted as fishponds, a possible industrial site or sections of the grange farm. However, they may be part of an 18th century irrigation system. The field was in use as an orchard in the early part of this century. The southern edge of the field is bounded by a track leading to the river.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1998, Buckland Abbey (Schedule Document). SDV344044.

Buckland Abbey includes the upstanding and buried remains of an abbey of the Cistercian Order in occupation from circa 1278 until 1539. In a field in the valley to the west of the abbey there are extensive low earthworks associated with the stream which include terraced areas, the site of a large pond retained by a dam, and drainage channels with stone revetted sections of their banks. The southern edge of the field is bounded by a track leading to the river. Other details: Monument 24846.

Nicholas Pearson Associates, 2001, Buckland Abbey: Historic Survey and Restoration Plan, App. 3 (Report - Survey). SDV241983.

Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2001-2002, Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Transcriptions and Database Records, RAF 170/V17/1710Z/0011-2 (Interpretation). SDV346287.

Earthwork ditches visible on aerial photographs have been interpreted as field boundaries and a trackway of unknown, but potential medieval, date.

Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2001-2002, Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Transcriptions and Database Records, RAF 170/V17/1710Z/0011-2 (Interpretation). SDV346287.

Earthwork ditches visible on aerial photographs have been interpreted as field boundaries and a trackway of unknown, but potential medieval, date.

National Monuments Record, 2011, 437795 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346357.

In a field in the valley to the west of the abbey there are extensive low earthworks associated with the stream which includes terraced areas, the site of a large pond retained by a dam, and drainage channels with stone revetted sections to their banks. The southern edge of the field is bounded by a track leading to the river.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2016, Backlog Recording of the Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Survey (Personal Comment). SDV359374.

The earthworks recorded as part of this survey and appended to this monument record include two NMP database records. Both are likely associated with the features described in this record and so may more likely drainage channels, rather than field boundaries.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2016, Backlog Recording of the Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Survey (Personal Comment). SDV359374.

The earthworks recorded as part of this survey and appended to this monument record include two NMP database records, both of which are likely associated with the features described in this record. The earthworks may more likely then represent drainage channels, rather than field boundaries. Only part of the photo reference is given in the transcription attributes, so the date of the photographs is not known.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV241967Un-published: Gibbons, P.. 1994. 134699. Monument Protection Programme. Not applicable. Unknown.
SDV241983Report - Survey: Nicholas Pearson Associates. 2001. Buckland Abbey: Historic Survey and Restoration Plan. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. A4 Spiral Bound + Digital. App. 3.
SDV242027Report - Survey: Gaskell-Brown, C.. 1986 - 1987. Buckland Abbey, Devon. Devon Religious Houses Survey. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.
SDV341359Personal Comment: Barber, B.. 1983. Not Applicable.
SDV341360Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1983 - 1994. SX46NE16. OSAD Card. Card Index + Digital.
SDV344044Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1998. Buckland Abbey. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #83091 ]
SDV346287Interpretation: Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 2001-2002. Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Transcriptions and Database Records. National Mapping Programme. Map (Digital). RAF 170/V17/1710Z/0011-2.
SDV346357National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2011. 437795. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV358417Un-published: Devon Religious Houses Survey. 1986/87. Devon Religious Houses Survey 1986/87. Preliminary Assessment Form. Buckland. Devon Religious Houses Survey. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV359374Personal Comment: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2016. Backlog Recording of the Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Survey. Not Applicable.

Associated Monuments

MDV5451Related to: Buckland Abbey (Monument)
MDV21352Related to: Earthworks east of Place Barton House, Buckland Abbey (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6911 - Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme

Date Last Edited:Jul 16 2020 12:49PM