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HER Number:MDV3995
Name:Hut circle settlement at Whittenknowles Rocks, Sheepstor

Summary

Whittenknowles Rocks hut circle settlement, comprising a large enclosure with several additional external enclosures, containing 34 stone hut circles and 4 cairns. Condition at time of 2017 visit was fair, site stable.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 585 670
Map Sheet:SX56NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSheepstor
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSHEEPSTOR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX56NE49
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 438638
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NE/16
  • Old SAM County Ref: 571
  • Old SAM Ref: 10710

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ENCLOSED HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Constructed, Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2200 BC to 42 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Group of over 20 unenclosed 'Hut Circles' shown on 19th century map.

Worth, R. H., 1943, The Prehistoric Pounds of Dartmoor, 295 (Article in Serial). SDV320337.

There are 23 huts and no pound.

Royal Air Force, 1948, RAF/CPE/UK/2494, 4128-9 (Aerial Photograph). SDV147533.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950, SX56NE49, SX56NE49 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV216718.

(22/05/1951) An incomplete enclosure. Entrance north-west. Huts inside with walls subdividing. Plym Valley type.

Worth, R. H., 1967, Worth's Dartmoor, 155 (Monograph). SDV337618.

National Monuments Record, 1976, NMR SX5867, 2/141-142 (Aerial Photograph). SDV250106.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1980, SX56NE49, SX56NE49 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV256886.

(17/09/1980) Near Whittenknowles Rocks and between 317 and 338m OD an enclosed settlement of about 4.5 hectares is situated on a south-west slope.
The enclosure is reasonably complete (see plan) and measures about 285m by 165m. Random orthostats are incorporated in the rubble walling which ranges from 2.0m to 3.0m wide, being strongest along the north-west and north-east, and is generally 0.6m high. There are numerous breaks but no obvious original entrance. This may have been on the south-east where there is a distinct inturning near the Medieval settlement (SX 56 NE 112).
Although currently obscured by bracken the interior has evidently been cleared of stone to some extent for the construction of huts and the walls of paddocks which link or enclose them. These walls average 1.0m wide and 0.3m high; some are of rubble, others simply a line of single stones.
The plots so formed are of irregular plan and size (from 0.05 to 0.3 hectares) with some evidence of superimposition, and one is attached to the outer side of the enclosure. Another 'A' on plan), formed by single stones, is almost circular.
Of a total of 43 huts, 14 are of indeterminate type, 8 of these because they are thoroughly robbed, leaving only base stones or half huts, the others because of a dense covering of heather.
There appear to be 12 huts of type 1 (SX 56 SE 19). Their internal diameters vary between 2.3m and 6.0m with walling generally 1.8m wide and 0.5mhigh; some have internal lining slabs.
There are 17 huts of Type 2 (SX 56 NW 71) with internal diameter from 4.2m to 6.7m and double faced walling 2.3m wide and 0.6m high.
Both types occur as linked and free standing huts. Most entrances are to the south and south-west, orthostats being visible at 4 huts.
Save for the one paddock there is no evidence of any external field system.
Surveyed at 1:10 000 on MSD and at 1:2500.

Balaam, N. + Smith, K. + Wainwright, G., 1982, The Shaugh Moor project: fourth report - environment, context and conclusion, 258 (Article in Serial). SDV260579.

Possibly associated with prehistoric tinning.

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

Farmstead SX56NE/231 within enclosure to the south-east visible on aerial photographs.

Price, D. G., 1985, Changing Perceptions of Prehistoric Tinning on Dartmoor, 129-138 (Article in Serial). SDV215975.

Fleming, A., 1987, Prehistoric Tin Extraction on Dartmoor: A Cautionary Note, 117-122 (Article in Serial). SDV215976.

Price, D. G., 1988, Prehistoric Tin Extraction on Dartmoor: A Reply to Andrew Fleming, 91-95 (Article in Serial). SDV215977.

Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West, 126-7, Map 49, Figure 49.11 (Monograph). SDV137656.

Hut circle settlement at 'Whittenknowles Rocks' encloses a large area of 4.37 hectares with 38 hut circles linked by walling or natural lines of clitter subdividing the enclosed area into small paddocks. Several extensions were added to the massive circuit wall on the south side. In medieval times the site was re-used and a longhouse and ancillary buildings were built on the east side of the settlement.

Fletcher, M. + Newman, P. + Probert, S., 1999, Drizzlecombe, Eylesbarrow, Ditsworthy and Hartor areas in the Plym Valley, West Devon (Report - Survey). SDV346268.

(03/08/1999) Centred SX 5854 6704. Whittenknowles Rocks. An enclosed cluster of 29 hut circles, 7 possible hut circles and 4 clearance cairns occupy an area of dense clitter on a south-facing hillside some 600m north of Ditsworthy Warren House. Most of the features have been altered from their original state during the medieval period when part of the site was reoccupied (SX 56 NE 112) and several new enclosures added to the exterior. Many of the hut circles (see related records) were used as repositories for cleared stone, several appear to have been extensively robbed and the clearance cairns dating from this later period may completely obscure earlier hut circles.
Few of the hut circles appear to remain unaltered, those that do have been terraced into the slope to provide slightly ovoid, level interiors varying between 2.7m and 7.0m in internal diameter. The hut walls exhibit a mixture of constructional techniques, some display a double ring of orthostats with a rubble infill while others are of coursed boulders. It would seem likely that building type relied on the nature of the granite in the immediate area. Only two huts display obvious entrances; facing the south and south-west.
Three other hut-like features described by the Ordnance Survey in 1980 could not be positively identified on the ground and are probably natural hollows or clear areas in the otherwise dense clitter.
The enclosure containing the huts and other features is a large turf and stone bank around 3.0m wide and up to 1.2m high. There are numerous breaks in its course but none appear to represent an original entrance. The interior is subdivided into a number if irregular enclosures by stoney banks averaging 1.8m wide and 0.6m high. Several of these incorporate hut circles. It would seem likely, especially in the E half of the site, that these banks have been reused in the medieval period. The main enclosure has several external additions dating from this later period (see SX 56 NE 112).
NB: Three huts are recorded in the survey that don’t match the associated GIS layer; one is given the same grid reference as MDV4008, (although three additional huts are depicted in a row near the Medieval farmstead (Richards, A. F., 02/03/2020). Original details of huts retained here:
?SX 58608 67071 Internal diameter measures 5.1m, with walls 1.9m wide (up to 0.5m high). Interior occupied by clearance material.
?SX 58470 67034 Internal diameter measures 3.3m, with walls 1.0m wide (up to 0.2m high). Platform, possible hut.
?SX 58524 67095 Internal diameter measures 2.4 Crude circular hollow.

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

(10/03/2005) This extensive site remains in a stable condition and is as described in the 1999 English Heritage survey.

English Heritage, 2005-2008, Prehistoric Survey Information (Cartographic). SDV345521.

Many features of the settlement shown on survey.

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.

(01/12/2017) Whiteknowles Rocks hut settlement, comprising a large enclosure with several additional external enclosures, containing 34 stone hut circles and 4 cairns. Condition is fair, site is stable.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording forms, UP-DZ 11 (Worksheet). SDV362781.

Visited 01/02/2020. Overall condition good. Photo taken.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording forms, UP-DZ 12 (Worksheet). SDV362781.

Visited 01/02/2020. Overall condition moderate. Photo x4 taken.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording forms, UP-DZ 13 (Worksheet). SDV362781.

Visited 01/02/2020. Overall condition good. Photo taken.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording forms, UP-DZ 14 (Worksheet). SDV362781.

Visited 01/02/2020. Hut circles found to be disposed W/E and centred on the following grid refs: SX 58541 66494 and SX 58521 66492. Overall condition moderate. Photo x2 taken.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording photographs, UP-DZ 11 (Photograph). SDV363073.

Photo looking 000° showing grazed grass with areas of bracken and reed outcrops within enclosure.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording photographs, UP-DZ 12 (Photograph). SDV363073.

Photo 1: View of longhouse looking 120° showing grass/moss and bracken cover. Photo 2: View of longhouse looking 290° showing grass/moss and bracken cover and reeds at E end. Photo 3: View of S building looking 290° showing grass/moss and bracken cover. Photo 4: View of N building looking 210° showing grass/moss and bracken cover.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording photographs, UP-DZ 13 (Photograph). SDV363073.

Photo looking 180° showing grass/moss and bracken cover.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording photographs, UP-DZ 14 (Photograph). SDV363073.

Photo 1: View of E hut circle looking 080° showing grass/moss and bracken cover. Photo 2: View of W hut circle looking 170° showing grass/moss and bracken cover.

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

Settlement shown on modern mapping.

Historic England, 2021, National Heritage List for England, 1010650 (National Heritage List for England). SDV364016.

This agglomerated enclosure with hut circles lies on a south-west facing slope north of Eastern Tor and east of Sheepstor Brook. It covers an area of approximately 6 hectares and incorporates at least seven enclosures and forty stone hut circles, as well as medieval farmstead structures. It is cut on the south edge by the course of the leat which runs to Sheepstor village. The enclosure lies in an area of natural outcrops and clitter which obscure the details of the site. The main enclosure banks average 2 metres in width and 0.5 metres in height made of earth and rubble, but are as much as 3 metres in width and over a metre high on the northern side, where large boulders and slabs are incorporated. The hut circles have walls of earth and stone up to 2 metres in width and 0.6 metres in height, they are up to 12 metres in diameter, some are conjoined, some attached to banks and others free-standing. There is evidence for double faced walling in some huts and entrances, predominantly to the south-west, some with jambs. In the south-east quadrant of the enclosure there are the remains of four of the buildings of a medieval farmstead. These are all rectangular in plan and orientated with their long axes down the slope. They are from 11 metres to 35 metres in length and approximately 6 metres in width, the longest being subdivided into three rooms. Their walls stand over a metre in height and there are traces of outbuildings abutting two of them.

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. 126-7, Map 49, Figure 49.11.
SDV147533Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1948. RAF/CPE/UK/2494. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4128-9.
SDV215975Article in Serial: Price, D. G.. 1985. Changing Perceptions of Prehistoric Tinning on Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 117. 129-138.
SDV215976Article in Serial: Fleming, A.. 1987. Prehistoric Tin Extraction on Dartmoor: A Cautionary Note. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 119. Paperback Volume. 117-122.
SDV215977Article in Serial: Price, D. G.. 1988. Prehistoric Tin Extraction on Dartmoor: A Reply to Andrew Fleming. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 120. Paperback Volume. 91-95.
SDV216718Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950. SX56NE49. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. SX56NE49.
SDV250106Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1976. NMR SX5867. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2/141-142.
SDV256886Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1980. SX56NE49. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Unknown. SX56NE49.
SDV260579Article in Serial: Balaam, N. + Smith, K. + Wainwright, G.. 1982. The Shaugh Moor project: fourth report - environment, context and conclusion. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 48. Unknown. 258.
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.
SDV320337Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1943. The Prehistoric Pounds of Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 75. A5 Hardback. 295.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337618Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1967. Worth's Dartmoor. Worth's Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 155.
SDV345521Cartographic: English Heritage. 2005-2008. Prehistoric Survey Information. English Heritage. Digital.
SDV346268Report - Survey: Fletcher, M. + Newman, P. + Probert, S.. 1999. Drizzlecombe, Eylesbarrow, Ditsworthy and Hartor areas in the Plym Valley, West Devon. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. 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. [Mapped feature: #90526 ]
SDV362781Worksheet: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording forms. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. UP-DZ 11.
SDV363073Photograph: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording photographs. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. UP-DZ 11.
SDV364015Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap 2021. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV364016National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2021. National Heritage List for England. Digital. 1010650.

Associated Monuments

MDV127739Parent of: Cairn or hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV3998Parent of: Cairn or hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement. Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127716Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks enclosure, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127717Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks enclosure, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127718Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks enclosure, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127719Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks enclosure, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV130828Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks enclosure, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127713Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127714Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127715Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127721Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127722Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127723Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127724Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127725Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127726Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127727Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127728Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127730Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127731Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127736Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127744Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV130851Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV130853Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV3997Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV3999Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV4000Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV4002Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV4004Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV4005Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV4006Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV4007Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV4008Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV130850Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks Settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV4001Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement. Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV4003Parent of: Hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement. Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127720Parent of: Hut circle north of settlement at Whittenknowles Rocks, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127738Parent of: Hut in settlement at Whittenknowles Rocks, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127737Parent of: Hut in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV3996Parent of: Two adjoining hut circles in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV56209Related to: Building north of Whittenknowles Rocks prehistoric settlement, Sheepstor (Building)
MDV130842Related to: Building to the north of the longhouse within Whittenknowles deserted Medieval settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV130841Related to: Building to the south of the longhouse within Whittenknowles deserted Medieval settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV130843Related to: Building to the south-east of the longhouse within Whittenknowles deserted Medieval settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV66369Related to: Cairn north-east of the Whittenknowles Rocks settlement. Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127741Related to: Clearance cairn or hut circle in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV130840Related to: Longhouse within Whittenknowles deserted Medieval settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV25086Related to: Longstone Leat, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV127740Related to: Two clearance cairns in Whittenknowles Rocks settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)
MDV4009Related to: Whittenknowles deserted Medieval settlement, Sheepstor (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7443 - Condition survey of archaeological sites in Ringmoor Training Area
  • EDV7569 - Condition survey of Ringmoor Down training area
  • EDV8155 - Plym Valley Survey
  • EDV8227 - Ringmoor Training Area: Monument Baseline Condition Survey
  • EDV4966 - Survey of Drizzlecombe, Eylesbarrow, Ditsworthy and Hartor. The Eylesbarrow archaeological landscape

Date Last Edited:Jun 29 2021 8:10AM