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HER Number:MDV3326
Name:Extensive hut circle settlement south-west of Legis Tor, Sheepstor


Extensive hut circle settlements south-west of Legis Tor. The four separate settlements with many isolated hut circles between them lie on the north side of the River Plym. Surveyed in 2022.


Grid Reference:SX 572 653
Map Sheet:SX56NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSheepstor
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSHEEPSTOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX56NE69
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 438698
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/4/3
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/4/5
  • Old SAM County Ref: 274
  • Old SAM Ref: 10696

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Baring Gould, S., 1896, Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 179, 184-189 pl.1-9 (Article in Serial). SDV260468.

Legis Tor. Hut circles within enclosure excavated.
Hut 2; well defined entrance facing south. Floor paved with flat granite stones. Hearthstone at centre and a cooking hole, filled with ashes, to north of it. At entrance were two steps leading down. Plan (plate 5). North-west half of floor unpaved. 30 round cooking stones found on floor, of elvan rock, splintered by fire. One flint flake found. On west of entrance a pit excavated, yielding fragments of rough pottery urn, red exterior, inside blackened by charred organic matter (plate 6). Had been crushed by some wall stones which had fallen. Near hearth a broken, baked clay spindle whorl found in joint between two paving stones (plate 8).
Hut 3; north-west from Hut 2. Four flint flakes found, and an urn in a pit similar to that in Hut 2, also crushed (plate 3). Charcoal and ash found near the pottery. No other cooking hole found. Southern half of circle paved, the northern half unpaved. Entrance on south. Flint nodule found.
Hut 4; to south-west of Hut 3. Largest opened. Six flint flakes found. Northern half of unpaved, southern half paved. Wide, well paved entrance. No step down. Against west side of hut was a cooking hole, full of charcoal and ash. Paved border around it intact, and remains of urn found in the hole.
Hut 5; to north of Hut 4. Flint flakes found, two of triangular shape, one had a notch worked in centre of one side of triangle, giving barbed appearance (plate 7). On west side of hut was a cooking hole, filled with ash, fragments of a broken crock found in it and over floor.
Hut 6; 12 flint flakes found and fragments of ornamented pottery (plate 1) from cooking hole.
Hut 7; south-east of Hut 6. Entrance unknown. On west side of hut was a crock or cooking pot of unornamented pottery set in calm below floor level. Hut 7; badly cracked, filled with earth and ashes. None found outside pot. Two cooking stones found. Eastern half of hut well paved. Large central stones may have been hearth stones, not cracked by fire.30-40 cooking stones found. Rude stone implement found.
Hut 8; adjoining Hut 7. Charcoal on floor. Entrance unknown. Cooking hole on south side, lined with stones. No pottery in hole, some fragments over floor. Ornamented with deep incisions like nail mark intrusions. Ground stone implement, triangular found, broad end worked to a series of surfaces with clean sharp edges. Narrow end worked to a blunt point. Of light grey micaceous grit. At broad end, a hole had been started from each side with a sand drill, never completed. Lying on a flat hone of red grit which may have been used in polishing and grinding it. A triangular muller and polisher also found. Of altered slate. Two unworked flint flakes found, 60 cooking stones, a large square sectioned red grit stone, used, and a smaller piece of grey grit with sides smoothed by use.
Hut 9; to west and outside enclosure, 107m from Hut 2. No charcoal, flint or pottery found. A few rounded stones similar to cooking stones in other huts found.
Hut 10; inside enclosure, north-east of Hut 3. South-east half of floor paved. Walls constructed of flat upright slabs, on top of these was a coursed wall of smaller stones. Finds included 20 cooking stones, 3 flint flakes, several pieces of pottery, and charcoal found. One of the flints was the only one found at Legis Tor which had been ground and polished.
Piece of crystal or spar found in some of the huts. May have been an ornament, religious or of superstitious use. Such crystals commonly found on the Vezere and Dordogne. Australian Aborigines use such crystals for conjuring.
A great number of rubbing stones found in the hut circles. One in each hut. Smooth fine-grained elvan, fine red grit or soft altered slate. Brought from the Teign Valley, near the logan rock above Fingle Bridge, or from the Meavy or Plym River beds. Probably used in rubbing down the seams of skin dresses, or bone needles. A rubbing stone also found in the cist at Merrivale Bridge.

Worth, R. H., 1945, The Dartmoor Hut Circles, 233-256, plates 8, 11, 12 figs 8, 11 (Article in Serial). SDV246120.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1977, SX56NE69 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV260509.

(27/06/1977) The Legis Tor settlement is situated on a southerly slope above the River Plym at 250-270 metres OD. It consists of a complex of five enclosures, of which A is clearly the primary one.
There are huts within the enclosures and outside. The overall dimensions of the complex are 150m north-south and 200m west-east, covering an area of approximately 3.0 hectares. The enclosure walling is double-faced with rubble infill; thickness 1.2 to 1.6m. The 15 huts are mainly of Type 2 (Type site SX 56 NE 71) and ruinous; four are incorporated into the walling of the enclosures. Their average internal diameter is 5.1m, the largest being 7.0m and the smallest 4.0m. There is also a number of small yards sometimes adjacent to the larger huts, which were possibly stock pens. In six of the huts the entrance is visible, all on the south or south-south-west side. The enclosure wall on the south-west appears to deviate from its logical course to avoid the hut outside the settlement. There is evidence of clearance for cultivation in all the enclosures, and on the lower edges of some there is a soil build-up forming a lynchet against the walls.

Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West, 111-4, Map 49, Figure 49.1 (Monograph). SDV137656.

A dense concentration of prehistoric enclosures and hut circles take up some 700 metres of the north bank of the River Plym below Legis Tor, Settlements 'A' to 'D' with a possible fifth 'E' to the west . Later tinners' and rabbit warren activities have affected the remains. Some 49 hut circles make up the settlement ranging from 2.2 metres to 6.6 metres in diameter both within the four enclosure settlements and free standing between them. A fifth enclosure based on Legis Tor Lake could be considered part of the settlement but little of it remains.

Probert, S., 2005, Ringmoor Training Area: Monument Baseline Condition Survey (Report - Survey). SDV363484.

(15/02/2005) Centred SX 56936527. A field system containing 13 hut circles occupies an area of 6 hectares on the lower south and south-west flanks of Legis Tor. The field system is best preserved on the south where five irregular, adjoining enclosures contain all but one of the huts. These enclosures vary between 0.1 hectare and 0.6 hectares and lie in an area of often dense clitter. Several of the enclosures are further sub-divided. The western portion of the field system is quite poorly preserved and exists as a series of fragmentary banks forming no apparent pattern. A single hut circle lies in this part of the site.
The enclosure walls are largely as described by the Ordnance Survey (1977) though several are little more than low stony banks 1.0m wide and 0.3m high. Two of the enclosures at the north-east edge of the site (one previously recorded as 438926) are simply clearings in the clitter. This site is more extensive than previously recorded and also incorporates the truncated remains of a small enclosure (438932) adjacent to the streamworking remains flanking Legis Lake.
It is obvious from the remains that several of the features described by Ordnance Survey in 1977 as hut circles are the products of later activity on the site as are two very small enclosures.
The hut circles are largely integral with the enclosure banks though several are free-standing. All the huts have level interiors unless otherwise stated. Few display obvious entrances. Described separately; see related records.

Probert, S. A. J., 2010, A Condition Survey of the Archaeological Sites of Ringmoor, Dartmoor Training Area (Report - Survey). SDV360517.

Newman, P., 2018, Archaeological Sites within Ringmoor Training Area, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: A condition survey on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation (Report - Survey). SDV361636.

Depicted on the GIS survey layer.

Ordnance Survey, 2021, MasterMap 2021 (Cartographic). SDV364015.

Settlements shown on modern mapping.

Historic England, 2021, National Heritage List for England, 1019876 (National Heritage List for England). SDV364016.

This monument includes an extensive prehistoric settlement, three round cairns, a post-medieval rabbit warren, two lengths of leat, two tinners' buildings and a small area of tin streamwork earthworks situated on the south facing side of Legis Tor overlooking the valley of the River Plym. The prehistoric settlement includes a series of enclosures situated along the lower slopes of Legis Tor, 58 associated stone hut circles and several lengths of boundary wall. The largest enclosure is agglomerate and includes six distinct enclosed areas each defined by a rubble wall standing up to 3 metres wide and 1 metre high. The overall dimensions of this enclosure are 135 metres north to south by 200 metres east to west. Lengths of field boundary lead west, north and east from the enclosure towards other enclosures and stone hut circles. Nineteen stone hut circles lie within this enclosure; of these, two are free standing, whilst the remainder are attached to enclosure boundaries. In the area west of the large agglomerate enclosure are at least three lengths of interconnected sinuous boundary banks forming a field system which links an isolated stone hut circle, a semi-oval enclosure and the agglomerate enclosure itself. The semi-oval enclosure is attached to the western edge of the field system, measures internally 45 metres north to south by 22 metres east to west and is defined by a rubble wall 1 metre wide and up to 0.8 metres high on three sides with the fourth being denoted by a river scarp. Three `D'-shaped stone structures are attached to the inner face of the eastern boundary wall. In the area immediately east of the large agglomerate enclosure are a few lengths of field boundary and 11 stone hut circles. In the area east of these stone hut circles are a group of three enclosures, six stone hut circles and a small `D'-shaped structure. The southern enclosure measures internally 60 metres east to west by 33 metres north to south and is defined by a rubble wall 2.5 metres wide and up to 0.9 metres high. The northern enclosure is attached to the northern side of the first, measures 66 metres east to west by 45 metres north to south and is defined by rubble walling. An arm of banking extending to the north west from the northern enclosure may represent the upper part of a third enclosure whose western and southern walls were either never completed or survive as buried features. Six stone hut circles composed of circular banks of stone and earth surrounding an internal area survive either within the enclosure or are attached to the walls. A small kidney-shaped enclosure lies close to these huts and measures internally 52 metres north to south by 30 metres east to west and is defined by a 3 metres wide and 0.6 metres high rubble wall. The easternmost enclosure at Legis Tor is sub-oval in shape, measures internally 100 metres north to south by 95 metres east to west and is defined by single walling of natural boulders except on the north side where it is of double walled construction. The walling averages 2 metres wide and 0.9 metres high and a gap in each of the western and southern sides may represent original entrances. Attached to the inner face of the enclosure boundary on the western side are two sub-rectangular yards with internal dimensions of 8 metres long by up to 7 metres wide. A third rectangular yard straddles the western boundary of the enclosure and this measures 11 metres long by 10 metres wide.

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 29/06/2021 (Website). SDV364039.

(SX 570652) Enclosed Hut Group & Hut Circles (NR). (1954 Ordnance Survey 6 inch map)
A Bronze Age settlement at Legis Tor comprising four integrated enclosures with several hut circles inside and outside the enclosures. Plan (Worth, R. H., 1943, TDA, 75, pg 286). As can be deduced from the plan, enclosure 'A', is the original nucleus with the other enclosures as successive additions (Ralegh Radford, C. A., PPS, 1952, Vol 18) subsequently covering a total area of 4 1/4 acres. Fox (1973, pg 86-7) classifies the settlement as pastoral, but Ralegh Radford considers "it may have been also cultivated as in some other pounds of this type". Ten of the huts were excavated in 1895/6 (2TDA, 1896, 28, pg 183-9). The huts ranged from 12ft 6ins to 21ft diameter, in several of them was a stone hearth with an adjacent cooking hole and two of them were devoid of occupational evidence. Seven of the huts yielded pottery. Griffiths dates the settlement, mainly by the pottery, to Early Bronze Age and considers that a "round bottomed" pot (now destroyed) found in one of the cooking holes bears a Neolithic influence. Fox (A. Fox, (W. E. Griffiths) 1950, Archaeological Cambrensis Vol 101, 63-66, 167-8) claims that the pot could well have been misinterpreted and actually have been flat bottomed with Late Bronze Age affinities. Other notable finds included pot boilers, flint fragments, a clay spindle whorl and two flint arrowheads one of which was a derived petit tranchet (Fox, 1950).
Cliff erosion has destroyed part of the south west enclosure wall (3 & 5). (sources 1896-1973)

Newman, P., 2022, Ringmoor Down Premier Archaeological Landscape Dartmoor National Park, Devon. A new survey, Table 1 (Report - Survey). SDV365490.

An extensive hut circle settlement comprising enclosures and 40 hut circles spread over 8.5 hectares along the lower southern slopes of Legis Tor, just north of the River Plym. Surveyed in April/May 2022; see associated records MDV3366; 3367; 3979; 22772 for detail plus individual hut circle entries.

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. 111-4, Map 49, Figure 49.1.
SDV246120Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1945. The Dartmoor Hut Circles. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 77. A5 Hardback. 233-256, plates 8, 11, 12 figs 8, 11.
SDV260468Article in Serial: Baring Gould, S.. 1896. Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 28. Digital. 179, 184-189 pl.1-9.
SDV260509Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1977. SX56NE69. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Unknown.
SDV360517Report - Survey: Probert, S. A. J.. 2010. A Condition Survey of the Archaeological Sites of Ringmoor, Dartmoor Training Area. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV361636Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2018. Archaeological Sites within Ringmoor Training Area, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: A condition survey on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation. South-West Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV364015Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap 2021. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #132101 ]
SDV364016National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2021. National Heritage List for England. Digital. 1019876.
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 29/06/2021.
SDV365490Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2022. Ringmoor Down Premier Archaeological Landscape Dartmoor National Park, Devon. A new survey. Southwest Landscape Investigations. Digital. Table 1.

Associated Monuments

MDV3366Parent of: Enclosure south-east of Legis Tor, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV3979Parent of: Enclosure south-west of Legistor Warren, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV22772Parent of: Enclosure with three huts south-east of Legis Tor, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV3367Parent of: Enclosures and hut circles south of Legis Tor, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV50633Related to: Fragmentary field system on Legis Tor (Monument)
MDV3980Related to: Hut circle south-west of Legis Tor, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV14144Related to: Legis Tor Warren (Monument)
MDV50669Related to: Pound at settlement south-west of Legis Tor, Sheepstor (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV6023 - POLISHER (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC?)
  • FDV3015 - RITUAL OBJECT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2201 BC)
  • FDV8177 - SPINDLE WHORL (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC)

Associated Events

  • EDV7443 - Condition survey of archaeological sites in Ringmoor Training Area
  • EDV7569 - Condition survey of Ringmoor Down training area
  • EDV8227 - Ringmoor Training Area: Monument Baseline Condition Survey
  • EDV8917 - Survey of the archaeological features on Ringmoor Down

Date Last Edited:Jul 31 2023 1:41PM