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HER Number:MDV25260
Name:Ruined building adjacent to leat south of Hentor Farm


Gerrard and the National Trust suggest that this building may have served as a mill building, due to the unnecessarily close proximity of the later Phillips Leat.


Grid Reference:SX 589 655
Map Sheet:SX56NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishShaugh Prior
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSHAUGH PRIOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/126/12
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/381
  • Old SAM Ref: 24230(P)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BUILDING (Constructed, XIX - 1801 AD to 1899 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, 4285 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.

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

Two rectangular buildings, adjacent to each other within small field system SX56NE/379 on Hentor Warren.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 140435, 18/05/1995 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

(SX 5899 6554) This single compartment cross passage rectangular structure lies at the southern end of Hentor farmstead and is possibly associated with an early phase of the medieval occupation. The southern part of the wall defining the west edge of the farmstead seems to follow a course dictated by this structure before changing alignment to enclose the larger, and possibly later, farmhouse. However, the wall may have delineated an area intended for a specific function. The structure is composed of coursed drystone masonry but is very tumbled and much loose stone is strewn over the interior. However most of the wall line can be traced. The outer wall face is particularly well-preserved and 3 and 4 courses survive in places. The surviving inner and outer wall faces indicate a wall width of 1.20m surrounding an internal area measuring 6m long by 3.5m wide.
Some large stones are visible in the north-west and north-east walls. A clear entrance in the north-east wall is marked by a gap, 1.20m wide, 6.50m from north-west end. It is flanked by large facing slabs on the south-east side and faced masonry on the north-west side. Opposite this entrance in the south-west wall is another gap. Although it is not flanked by faced stones, it may be an entrance so that the structure has a central cross passage.
The relationship between the structure and Phillip’s Leat is not clear. The leat flows immediately beside the structure; the outer wall face at the south-east end of structure is situated directly above the leat. It is difficult to believe that the gradient of the slope necessitated the excavation of the leat so close to the building; the slope is relatively gentle here and any leat would have been at risk from blockage from fallen rubble. Another wall is situated directly above the east side of the leat, opposite the structure. Such a wall on the uphill side of the leat is the only one of its kind along the course of the leat. Elsewhere the leat is accompanied simply by an upcast bank on downhill side, though here, that is also slightly different, spreading out to 6m wide on either side of the structure. It is possible that the wall on the east side is a product of upcast or fallen masonry. However it seems to have been carefully built with faced stones.
The National Trust Inventory suggests that the only conclusion can be that the leat was brought to this building for a specific purpose such as milling. It is possible that a hole, roughly square in section and extending horizontally for up to 1m into the outer wall of the structure, housed a mill-shaft. The poor state of preservation renders positive interpretation difficult, though the disturbance could itself be explained by vibration of mill machinery. Opposite the shaft, 2 notched stones among the facings on the east side of the leat may also be associated with a water wheel. Another 2 vertical grooves are visible on stones on either side of the leat, 45m from structure. It is possible that these were associated with a sluice gate for control of water. It is unlikely that Phillip’s Leat was brought here for such a purpose, as the Hentor farmstead was probably abandoned by the 1830's when the leat was dug. However it is possible that across Hentor plain, the builders of Phillip’s Leat used an old leat conveying water from Shavercombe Brook to Hentor farmstead. If so the latter pot water leat may have continued beyond the farmhouse to this structure. An activity such as milling may have been a later development at the structure after its initial occupation.

Thackray, C., 1994, The Upper Plym Valley: the management of an historic landscape, 233-42/102.910 (Report - non-specific). SDV143510.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording forms, UPHT-25 (Worksheet). SDV362781.

(05/02/2020) Condition of building 3 assessed as moderate; vegetation encroachment is threatening this feature. Building clearly discernable however internal area is a jumble of stones with small patches of reeds and low height bracken throughout. Signs of small burrowing animals but no damage being generated. No recent deterioration evident.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording photographs (Photograph). SDV363073.

Photographs taken during February 2020 visit.

Ordnance Survey, 2019, MasterMap 2019 (Cartographic). SDV362729.

Ruins of the building are depicted on the modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV143510Report - non-specific: Thackray, C.. 1994. The Upper Plym Valley: the management of an historic landscape. 233-42/102.910.
SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4285.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 140435, 18/05/1995.
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.
SDV362729Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2019. MasterMap 2019. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV362781Worksheet: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording forms. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. UPHT-25.
SDV363073Photograph: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording photographs. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV25259Related to: Field system around Hentor Farm (Monument)
MDV3430Related to: Hentor Warren Farm (Monument)
MDV24937Related to: Phillips Leat, Shaugh Prior (Monument)
MDV55443Related to: PLATFORM in the Parish of Shaugh Prior (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8148 - The Upper Plym Valley: The Management of an Historic Landscape
  • EDV8155 - Plym Valley Survey

Date Last Edited:Nov 17 2020 11:20AM