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HER Number:MDV29577
Name:Poflett Deseted Medieval Settlement, Milton Abbot


Area of earthworks marking site of possible deserted medieval settlement. Local names suggest that this was Poflett which documentary sources indicate was held of Tavistock Abbey in 1135.


Grid Reference:SX 429 793
Map Sheet:SX47NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishMilton Abbot
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishMILTON ABBOT

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Poflett. Medieval deserted settlement south east of Poflet Pastures

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX47NW/33
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX47NW8

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1984 - 1986, SX47NW8 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV341352.

Site visit 01/12/1983. Possible deserted medieval settlement. Partly under permanent pasture it comprises about 1 hectare of earthworks indicative of desertion, and occupies moderately steep northwest and southeast facing slopes separated by a modern field bank which traverses an area of marsh and follows the alignment of a streamlet. At the base of the northwwest facing slope there is a dog-leg scarp, 50 metres long and 0.5 metres high. Two platforms are recessed into the hillslope to a depth of 0.6 metres. One measures 30 metres by 26 metres internally; the other 25 metres by 20 metres, 35 metres above the platforms there is a circular mound at SX43007927. It has a diameter of 15 metres with a flattish top 7 metres across, and a maximum height of 0.6 metres. The southeast slope has a complex of earthworks extending for 50 metres up the hillside from marsh at the base, fed by a spring. Six platforms are of rectilinear and curvilinear plan. They range in size from 10 mtres by 5 metres to 18 metres by 8 metres some separated by a track about 5 metres wide. The platforms could have contained buildings. There is a straight holloway bounding the northwest side. It is 8 metres wide overall, up to 1.3 m etres deep and 75 metres long. An abrupt southern turn at the northeast end suggests that it was independent of the Lamerton road; 50 metres to the northwest of the earthworks at SX42837940 there is another circular mound similar though opposing position to that on the southeast side of the valley, and of almost identical size. It seems probable that the area of apparent desertion once extended further to the southwest and northwest. The holloway can be seen in the adjoining field as a faint single scarp, denoting its upper edge, continuing the straight alignment for 30 metres. Some distinct breaks in the northern side of the holloway. Purpose of the two mounds obscure.
The name 'Poflett Pond' is applied to a pond immediately to the northeast on the 1809 1 inch Ordnance Survey map. The local fields are grouped under 'Poflett Parks' in the Tithe Apportionment. In 1135, Brian de Liddintone held Foghangar and Poflet as a quarter fee from Tavistock Abbey. Other details: Copy of plan in Parish File.

Griffith, F. M., 1987, DAP/HK, 11-12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV341355.

Miller, A., 1996, Untitled Source (Interpretation). SDV341353.

No clear indication that the site continued any further to the northwest or southeast than described by the Ordnance Survey Archaeological Division. The breaks on the north side are not as evenly spaced as described.

Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2001-2002, Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Transcriptions and Database Records, DAP13298/11-12, SX4379/1-2 (Interpretation). SDV346287.

Field boundaries of unknown, but potential medieval, date are visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthwork banks.

Houghton, P., 2011, The Deserted and Shrunken Settlements of Milton Abbot Parish in West Devon, 3, 42 (Undergraduate Dissertation). SDV352225.

Source refers to a holloway, observed during fieldwalking, which extended 'across the field and through the deserted hamlet … continued through the next field to the west, across a road, through another field and onto Foghanger.' However, no plan of the route is given. Similarly un-located reference to earthworks observed in 'a field next to the modern property of Poflet Pastures'.

Houghton, P., 2015, An Archaeological and Historical Report on The Upper Tamar Valley including Excavations at Lamerhooe Volume One, 34-, fig 7, 4.2.a (Report - Assessment). SDV363240.

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

The earthwork banks transcribed as part of this survey clearly form part of the larger group of earthworks recorded here and which form part the deserted medieval village of Poflet.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV341352Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1984 - 1986. SX47NW8. OSAD Card. Card Index + Digital.
SDV341353Interpretation: Miller, A.. 1996. RCHME Aerial Photograph Primary Recording Project. Digital.
SDV341355Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1987. DAP/HK. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 11-12.
SDV346287Interpretation: Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 2001-2002. Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Transcriptions and Database Records. National Mapping Programme. Map (Digital). DAP13298/11-12, SX4379/1-2.
SDV352225Undergraduate Dissertation: Houghton, P.. 2011. The Deserted and Shrunken Settlements of Milton Abbot Parish in West Devon. University of Bristol. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 3, 42.
SDV359374Personal Comment: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2016. Backlog Recording of the Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme Survey. Not Applicable.

Associated Monuments

MDV16418Related to: FARMSTEAD in the Parish of Milton Abbot (Monument)
MDV114209Related to: Ridge and Furrow at Poflet Pastures (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6911 - Tamar Valley National Mapping Programme

Date Last Edited:Oct 3 2019 11:44AM