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HER Number:MDV4137
Name:CAIRN CEMETERY in the Parish of Peter Tavy


Vis=15/7/1950 (os) three cairns, probably rebuilt. Cairn a is 10.0m diameter, 0.8m high, cairn b is 4.6m diameter, 0.4m high, cairn c is 5.4m diameter, 0.4m high. B and c are in hummocky condition.


Grid Reference:SX 543 783
Map Sheet:SX57NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishPeter Tavy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishPETER TAVY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX57NW10
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 439750
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NW/28
  • Old SAM Ref: 22216

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CAIRN CEMETERY (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

RCHME, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV226683.

Vis=18/11/1978 (rchme).

NMR, CITING FLETCHER, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV226684.

A. Sx54337836.11.1m by 10.6m now rather spread, with a max height of 0.7m. There is a small central pit and a rather vague trench on the w side; a number of small boulders which demarcate the edge of the feature could, as suggested, be a kerb. B. Sx54357837.4.6m in diam and 0.5m high with a small pit in the centre. C. Sx54357835.4.7m in diam and 0.5m high. Grinsell numbers these cairns 30, 31 and 32 respectively. Two other cairns depicted on the rchme app 1/10000 transcript to e of the group cannot be traced on the ground and probably do not exit (nmr, citing fletcher).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV226691.

Des=fletcher, m. J. /(18/11/1987)/rchme field investigation.

Baring Gould, S., 1899, Sixth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 152 (Article in Serial). SDV344950.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950-1953, SX57NW10 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV228021.

Visited 15/7/1950 Three cairns, probably rebuilt. Cairn A is 10.0 metres in diameter, 0.8 metres high, Cairn B is 4.6 metres in diameter, 0.4 metres high, Cairn C is 5.4 metres diameter, 0.4 metres high. B and C are in hummocky condition.

National Monument Record, 1977, SX5376, 5/261 (Aerial Photograph). SDV271138.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 161, Cairns 30, 31 and 32 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

(8/3/1974) Three cairns south of White Tor. The first at SX54347837 measures 11.0 metres in diameter and 0.6 metres in height. The second at SX54367838 measures 5.5 metres in diameter and 0.4 metres in height. The third at SX54367835 measures 5.5 metres in diameter and 0.4 metres in height.

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

Five cairns visible on the aerial photographs.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., Feb 1992 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

See related record for individual cairn details.

Newman, P., 2003, The Langstone Moor Stone Circle, Peter Tavy, Devon and its Prehistoric Environs, 5, fig 2 (Report - Survey). SDV255420.

(10/08/2003) Group of three cairns shown on the English Heritage survey of 2003 with two further cairns shown to the north and north-east.

Newman, P., 2004, Merrivale Range Baseline Condition Survey (Report - Survey). SDV346874.

(10/08/2004) Condition is fair and mostly stable.

English Heritage, 2013, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV350785.

Three round cairns 310 metres south of White Tor summit. This monument includes three round cairns situated on a gentle south-facing slope overlooking the valley of the Colly Brook. All the cairns were partially excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1899 and this work revealed central pits containing ashes, charcoal and flints. The westernmost cairn mound measures 11.9m in diameter and stands up to 0.9m high. A stone kerb composed of small boulders defines the outer edge of the mound. A hollow in the centre of the mound and a trench cut into the western side are probably the result of the nineteenth-century partial excavation. The northernmost cairn mound measures 4.6m in diameter and stands up to 0.5m high, whilst the southern cairn measures 4.7m in diameter and 0.5m high. Both these mounds contain central hollows indicating the location of the earlier partial excavation. These cairns form part of a widely dispersed group of at least fourteen cairns on the southern and eastern slopes of White Tor.

National Monument Record, 2017, Pastscape (Website). SDV359964.

Centred SX 54347836. Three small turf covered cairns lie on a slight south facing slope in an area covered by moorland pasture, scattered boulders and numerous grass tumps and anthills. Constructed of small boulders and stones these were presumably rebuilt after the 19th century excavations.
See related records for survey details.
Grinsell numbers these cairns 30, 31 and 32 respectively (1978). Two other cairns depicted on the RCHME App 1/10000 transcript to the east of the group cannot be traced on the ground and probably do not exist (citing Fletcher, M. J., Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments in England Field Investigation, 18/11/1987).

The area shown on Anderson's plan of 1905 occupies a south-facing hill slope of cropped rough grassland. To the west of the present Ministry of Denfence range boundary posts the slope is strewn with quite dense clitter but this thins out to the east. The features noted by Anderson can all be identified on the ground, but they are now in such a poor state that definite classification is impossible.
'X' SX54367822 - A platform measuring overall 5 metres north-south by 6 metres with a maximum height of 0.5 metres. A large earthfast pointed stone lies near the centre. Debris of small stones appears to have been dumped in a crescentic arc around the lower south side. The whole is turf-covered with possible crude kerb or facing ones apparent in places. Described by Anderson (1905) as "probably the remains of some primitive habitation" this may well have been a hut circle.
'Y' SX54487823 - A rather amorphous area approximately 6 metres north-south by 8 metres. There is a slight scarp around the southern 'arc' and also several large earthfast stones but they do not form a definite pattern or kerb. Roughly central to the area is a rectangular hollow 0.2 metres deep and about 2.6 metres north- south by 2.2 metres which appears to have been excavated. Described as "probable habitation" site.
'Z' SX54487828 - An almost circular turf-covered stony mound 7.5 metres north-south by 8 metres transversely overall and 0.7 metres in height (on the south downhill side). It has a central depression approximately 3 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres deep. There are two large earthfast stones, one in the north-west of the central hollow, the other on the edge of the mound in the south; both have been displaced and do not appear to be kerb stones. Described as a 'cairn'.
'W' SX54257820 - A hollowed almost circular, turf-covered mound 5.2 metres north-south by 4.6 metres. The centre has been robbed revealing a stony interior. One or two large earthfast stones are evident around the south-east, but there is no trace of a definite kerb. There are the remains of a hollow iron post and concrete footings in the centre showing its use by the Ministry of Denfence. The circle is too amorphous to confirm as a definite cairn. Although the site is depicted on plan there is no description in the text.
'A' SX54297821 - A group of about four ?natural boulders which appear to have had the central area filled with small stones. The whole forms a roughly circular area about 5.3 metres north-south by 4.3 metres and is 0.6 metres maximum height. Built on the slope it could possibly be a small cairn or stone clearance heap but there is insufficient evidence to confirm this classification.
'B' SX54407823 - A small mound of turf-covered stones measuring about 2.5 metres north-south by 4.5 metres and 0.6 metres maximum height built on sloping ground. Very similar to 'A' but there is not enough evidence to confirm this classification.
'C' SX54437821 - A crude mound of turf-covered stones measuring 3.5 metres north-south by 4.5 metres transversely and 0.5 metres high with earthfast rock on its east side. Similar to 'A' and 'B' but of doubtful antiquity.
'D' SX54377814 (16m due north of Ministry of Denfence marker post). A hollowed area approximately 6 metres north-south by 5 metres transversely and of 0.5 metres maximum depth on its south side. There is no trace of any stone content. The debris from the hollow has been dumped around the south side and there is an apparent gap in the east side.
This does not appear to be an antiquity and is almost certainly associated with the Ministry of Denfence (citing Sainsbury, I. S., 5/2/1988, Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments in England Field Investigation).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV226683Report - Survey: RCHME.
SDV226684Migrated Record: NMR, CITING FLETCHER.
SDV226691Migrated Record:
SDV228021Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950-1953. SX57NW10. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV255420Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2003. The Langstone Moor Stone Circle, Peter Tavy, Devon and its Prehistoric Environs. English Heritage Archaeological Investigation Report. 25. A4 Comb Bound. 5, fig 2.
SDV271138Aerial Photograph: National Monument Record. 1977. SX5376. National Monument Record Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 5/261.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 161, Cairns 30, 31 and 32.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. Feb 1992.
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.
SDV344950Article in Serial: Baring Gould, S.. 1899. Sixth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 31. Digital. 152.
SDV346874Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2004. Merrivale Range Baseline Condition Survey. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. Unknown.
SDV350785National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2013. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. [Mapped feature: #91089 ]
SDV359964Website: National Monument Record. 2017. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website.

Associated Monuments

MDV4180Parent of: Cairn south of White Tor (Monument)
MDV4181Parent of: Cairn south of White Tor (Monument)
MDV4182Parent of: Cairn south of White Tor (Monument)
MDV69504Parent of: Possible cairn on southern slope of Whittor (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7275 - Survey of the Langstone Moor stone circle and other prehistoric monuments nearby
  • EDV7441 - Condition survey of the archaeological sites of Merrivale Training Area
  • EDV7570 - Condition survey of Merrivale Range training area
  • EDV8713 - Merrivale Range: Monument Baseline Condition Survey

Date Last Edited:Aug 31 2021 9:12AM