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HER Number:MDV2591
Name:Medieval field system north of Wotter

Summary

Field system south of Hawk's Tor, which appears to have several phases of use. This site is included in the local list of Nationally Important Dartmoor sites. The corn ditches and well-constructed banks of this phase form a drove road giving access to the open moor flanked by several irregular enclosures. As with areas such as Hound Tor and Holne Moor several phases of expansion and contraction are apparent north of Wotter. Precise dating of this activity is not possible though, again by analogy with other areas of Dartmoor, it would seem likely that the fields were occupied and abandoned several times from the later 12th century until the Napoleonic period. The lazy beds depicted by Collis in the abandoned field opposite the Moorlands Hotel are typical of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 551 623
Map Sheet:SX56SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishShaugh Prior
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSHAUGH PRIOR

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Bronze age landscapes on Shaugh Moor and Wooter Moor comprising earthworks and walling of enclosures, hut circles, cairns, stone circles and rows, reaves and field systems, and medieval and post medieval field systems

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 56 SE 136
  • National Monuments Record: SX 56 SE 170
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56SE/181
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56SW/89
  • Pastscape (Yes): 1105322
  • Pastscape: 439495

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1190, 3235 (Aerial Photograph). SDV340833.

Price, D. G., 1973, Ancient fields on Shaugh Moor, 91-2 (Article in Serial). SDV147593.

Field system south-west of Hawks Tor. The remaining boundaries belong to larger fields, presumably of later date than the prehistoric system (PRN 48888). Construction of a gun emplacement has probably destroyed the evidence for the extension of earlier fields in this group down to the Wotter road.

Collis, J., 1978, Untitled article?, 24-25 (Article in Serial). SDV147633.

The Wotter Field System
These have not yet been fully planned, but at least three phases are identifiable. On the lower slopes adjacent to the cross roads there are several low broad banks which at present from no coherent pattern, and have further been disturbed by a gun emplacement. These are overlain at one point by a terrace-like field boundary containing orthostats, on which sits a large, and presumably contemporary hut. The third phase, assumed to be medieval, consists of eroded banks with ditches, but several of these banks clearly follow earlier lines.
The upper, eastern, part of the system has so far only produced evidence of two phases, the earlier, presumably prehistoric, with low stone banks, or on the steeper slopes slight terraces formed by medium size blocks of granite. There are several construction periods in this phase, and the whole is linked with the parallel reaves by a series of banks laid out in arcs. The later phase has slight ditches and these clearly cut the simple banks. To this phase perhaps belongs the banked track which runs diagonally up the slope from Wotter towards Collard Tor. At a yet later date boundary orthostats inscribed with letter 'H' were erected on the banks.

National Monuments Record, 1980, NMR SX5562 (Aerial Photograph). SDV346681.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1980, SX56SE136 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV147632.

(07/10/1980) The Wotter field system of some 23 hectares centred at SX 554622 lies on the south-west slope of Wotter Common between 213m. and 274m. O.D. in an area of gorse and bracken.
The lower slopes show no coherent field pattern though the amorphous and fragmented remains suggest sub-rectangular fields with a field way running from the south to the north-east of the area. The surviving banks, of varying sizes and probably different periods, measure between 1.4m. wide and 0.2m. high, and 0.8m. wide and 0.5m. high with lynchets building up to 1.2m. high behind the boundaries containing orthostats.
The predominant fields to the north "upper eastern part of system" are sub-rectangular in shape and average 72m. by 42m. The banks measure 1.8m. wide and 0.3m. high and are constructed of boulders and rubble; some boundaries are visible as lynchets (see plan).
Collis (1978) suggests that the double bank between SX 5567 6214 and SX 5575 6225 is a result of two phase parallel reave construction. The remains are now only 140m. long, the former extent to the north-east and the stream being obliterated by a waste tip; the south-west termination is a mass of clitter (see annotated plan). The west bank forms the boundary to a field system and at two points has been consolidated into a distinct wall. There is no real evidence of clearance between the two banks and the purpose of the interspace is obscure. Double bank surveyed at 1:2500 on M.S.D.

Collis, J., 1983, Field Systems and Boundaries on Shaugh Moor and at Wotter, Dartmoor, 47-54, 61 (Article in Serial). SDV144058.

The Wotter, or Hawk's Tor field system was surveyed in 1978 and eight building phases were recorded (See illustration cards).
Phase 0 : Features which cannot be tied to the main sequence.
Phase I : The earliest feature is 'F', a rectangular enclosure.
Phase II : Enclosures 'G-K' were laid out, the western side of 'F' remaining open.
Phase III: The parallel reaves (7,8) of Shaugh moor (banks 2,11) were laid out, (reave 8, bank 2, is the Wotter reave, SX 56 SE 157), and the enclosure system is linked to it by bank 3.
Phase IV : Enclosure 'E' was attached to 'F'. Enclosures E,F and H were partially reconstructed. Subsequently, bank 9 was built from enclosure E to enclosure B and forms the east side of enclosure C. Bank 18 was extended form the latter and incorporates two cairns in its course.
Phase V-VIII: There are banks up to 1.0, across with a ditch external to the enclosed area, and includes a hollow way to the south-west of the area. Bank 15 is probably a reconstruction of the southern extent of bank 9. The whale constitutes the late Saxon-Medieval-Post-Medieval periods.
Phase VIII: This consists of a number of granite posts inscribed with the letter 'H' which are Medieval.

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

Field boundaries on 'The Bowling Green' and to the east of it visible on the 1946 aerial photograph at SX 5472 6262. Ridge and furrow crf:SX56SW/92 visible on the aerial photograph within the system (see MDV25300).

Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West, Map 48 (Monograph). SDV137656.

Depicted by Butler.

Fletcher, M. + Probert, S., 1998, Shaugh Moor, Devon: An Archaeological Survey (Report - Survey). SDV343481.

(04/12/1997) This field system must not be seen as a single object, it is part of a much larger field pattern, the 'Shaugh Moor reave system' (Fleming 1988 Fig 30) (SX 56 SE 78). Shaugh Moor is occupied by a variety of prehistoric and later field systems summarised in record SX 56 SE 170.
(This report is to supplement and replace records SX 56 SE 136 and 137)
Centred SX 555630. A series of field systems dating from the prehistoric to the post-medieval occupy some 150 hectares of Shaugh Moor. Four distinct systems are apparent:
The last phase of activity is related to the medieval and later enclosure of parts of the area between Hawk's Tor and the village of Wotter. The corn ditches and well-constructed banks of this phase form a drove road giving access to the open moor flanked by several irregular enclosures. As with areas such as Hound Tor and Holne Moor several phases of expansion and contraction are apparent north of Wotter. Precise dating of this activity is not possible though, again by analogy with other areas of Dartmoor, it would seem likely that the fields were occupied and abandoned several times from the later 12th century until the Napoleonic period. The lazy beds depicted by Collis in the abandoned field opposite the Moorlands Hotel are typical of the 18th and 19th centuries.
For detailed 1:2500 plan and description see ‘Shaugh Moor Survey'.

Gerrard, S., 2004, List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor (Un-published). SDV345444.

This site was considered for designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument during the Monument Protection Programme. The programme ended before the entire list of sites was successfully scheduled so this is included on a local list of Nationally Important Sites.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV137656Monograph: Butler, J.. 1994. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Three. Paperback Volume. Map 48.
SDV144058Article in Serial: Collis, J.. 1983. Field Systems and Boundaries on Shaugh Moor and at Wotter, Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 41. A5 Paperback. 47-54, 61.
SDV147593Article in Serial: Price, D. G.. 1973. Ancient fields on Shaugh Moor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 105. Unknown. 91-2.
SDV147632Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1980. SX56SE136. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV147633Article in Serial: Collis, J.. 1978. Untitled article?. British Archaeological Reports. 48. Unknown. 24-25.
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.
SDV340833Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1190. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3235.
SDV343481Report - Survey: Fletcher, M. + Probert, S.. 1998. Shaugh Moor, Devon: An Archaeological Survey. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. Unknown. [Mapped feature: #122250 ]
SDV345444Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
SDV346681Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1980. NMR SX5562. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper).

Associated Monuments

MDV126636Related to: Enclosures east of Collard Tor (Monument)
MDV48883Related to: Radar Station 300 meters south-west of Hawk's Tor (Monument)
MDV126153Related to: Reservoir and leat north-east of Collard Tor (Monument)
MDV2590Related to: Shaugh Moor coaxial field system (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Oct 14 2019 12:27PM