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HER Number:MDV4199
Name:Fice's Well north-east of Rundlestone, Dartmoor Forest


Fice's Well to the north-east of Rundlestone reputedly erectedly over the existing spring by John Fitz. The cover stone is inscribed 'I F 1568' (for John Fitz). The well is surrounded by a drystone wall thought to have been built in the late 19th century to protects the well. Repairs to this wall undertaken in the late 1980s by the National Park Authority.


Grid Reference:SX 577 758
Map Sheet:SX57NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX57NE28
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 439651
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57NE/3
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 92742
  • Old SAM County Ref: 848

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOLY WELL (XV to XVI - 1500 AD (Between) to 1599 AD (Between))

Full description

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

'Fices Well' is depicted on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map.

Radford, G. H., 1890, Lady Howard of Fitzford, 68 (Article in Serial). SDV336103.

Other details: 1891?.

Baring Gould, S., 1900, A Book of Dartmoor, 274 (Monograph). SDV277387.

Fice's Well in the midst of the moor, is now included within the newtake of the prison, and a wall has been erected to protect it,

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 127-8 (Monograph). SDV320981.

The drystone wall was built during Crossing’s lifetime (1847-1928) and probably during the late 19th century. Since the formation of the New Forest enclosure (the Prison Newtake) a wall has been built around the well. Crossing remembers when it was unenclosed on the open moor. Other details: 1965 edition?.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950, SX57NE28 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV225073.

A circular dry stone wall 6.0 meters in diameter. External height 1.5 meters. In centre is a covered well, which is reached by a series of steps leading down from wall on the east side. The cover stone of well bears inscription "F (?) 1568".
The whole construction is in a very good state of preservation, the internal height of the well is 0.8 meters. The interior between the well and the wall is very much overgrown.

Brown, T., 1957, Holy and Notable Wells of Devon, 214 (Article in Serial). SDV304810.

The well water is reputed to have eye-healing properties.

Department of Environment, 1970, Fice's Well (Schedule Document). SDV347784.

Square stone-lined well with capstone resting on two side stones. The capstone is dated 1568. Enclosed in a circular drystone wall of later date.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1979, SX56NE28 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV347785.

(20/11/1979) A well constructed granite dipping chamber of drystone masonry. Internally it is 0.8m. square and 0.8m. high with a slab roof and a lintel over the open S side bearing the initials "IF" for John Fice and the date 1568. The well is enclosed by a circular protection wall, probably of much later date, and access is by steps over the wall which effectively precludes a photograph of the building.
Correctly positioned on 1:10 000 MSD.

Robinson, R., 1984, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984 (Un-published). SDV343082.

Site visited 13/4/1984 by Field Monument Warden.

Department of Environment, 1987, Fice's Well (Correspondence). SDV225075.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted for restoration works to monument.

Griffiths, D. M., 1990, Fice's Well (Worksheet). SDV347788.

Site visited during April 1987. Blocking the culvert which drains the water from the spring and carries it to the nearby Blackabrook has caused water logging around the base of the encircling wall. Poaching etc by cattle has caused part of the wall to collapse and elsewhere the wall is bulging.
Site visited during September 1989. Repair work undertaken by National Park Authority in conjunction with English Heritage; land around encircling wall drained, with drainage pipes feeding into original culvert which has been unblocked. Encircling wall has been rebuilt where damaged. Whole area has been fenced off with sheep creeps enabling grazing by sheep only.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North, 81, Map 30, Site Fices Well (Monograph). SDV219155.

Fices Well was attributed to John Fice by the 19th century, identified with John Fitz of Fitzford. The granite cover is inscribed 'IF 1568'.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1993-1998, Dartmoor Royal Forest Project (Report - Survey). SDV346608.

(04/08/1994) The circular drystone wall is constructed of four courses of dressed granite blocks and stands 1.6 meters high externally and 0.6 meters high internally. It is approximately 0.4 meters wide and 6.5 meters in diameter. Access to the well is by a set of nine steps set in the south-east of the retaining wall. The well itself is as described in 1979; the inscribed letters are 0.10 meters high, the figures 0.07 meters high.

Rendell, P., 1994, Which way to Cockerntor?, 3-4 (Article in Serial). SDV220303.

Legend states that the well was built by John Fitz (Fice) after he and his lady drank from the well which broke a spell and allowed them home.

Probert, S. A. J., 2002, Dartmoor Prison Farm, Devon. An Archaeological Survey and Evaluation, 4, fig (Report - Survey). SDV364452.

[439651] SX 57737586 Fice's Well. A small chamber 0.8m square and 0.8m high approached by a short flight of steps. The lintel over the entrance bears the inscription IF (John Fitz/Fice) and the date 1568. A circular drystone wall 1.6m high and pierced by a single opening and thought to be of later date encloses the dipping chamber.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

'Fice's Well' depicted on the modern mapping.

English Heritage, 2011, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV347072.

Well. Date 1568. Granite. The well comprises a stone canopy of two jambs and a lintel which has been built over a spring. A later circular wall encloses it with a stile opposite the well opening. The lintel of the well is inscribed "I.F.1568" in high relief. Reputedly the well was erected by Sir John Fitz of Fitzford, near Tavistock, who with his wife was led astray by pixies in his part of the moor and was rescued from the predicament by drinking water from the spring which had magical qualities. As an act of gratitude Sir John erected the canopy over the spring for the benefit of future travellers. Source: Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks: F H Starkey. (Description 1987) Other details: LB UID: 92742.

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 20/08/2021 (Website). SDV364039.

(22/08/2002) No change (Probert SAJ 22-AUG-2002 EH Field Investigation).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV219155Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Two. Paperback Volume. 81, Map 30, Site Fices Well.
SDV220303Article in Serial: Rendell, P.. 1994. Which way to Cockerntor?. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 7. Unknown. 3-4.
SDV225073Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950. SX57NE28. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV225075Correspondence: Department of Environment. 1987. Fice's Well. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Unknown.
SDV277387Monograph: Baring Gould, S.. 1900. A Book of Dartmoor. A Book of Dartmoor. Unknown. 274.
SDV304810Article in Serial: Brown, T.. 1957. Holy and Notable Wells of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 89. A5 Hardback. 214.
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 127-8.
SDV336103Article in Serial: Radford, G. H.. 1890. Lady Howard of Fitzford. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 22. Unknown. 68.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV343082Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1984. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #91275 ]
SDV346608Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1993-1998. Dartmoor Royal Forest Project. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field/Recording In. Unknown.
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV347784Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1970. Fice's Well. The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown.
SDV347785Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1979. SX56NE28. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV347788Worksheet: Griffiths, D. M.. 1990. Fice's Well. Worksheet. A4 Single Sheet.
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 20/08/2021.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8714 - Survey of Dartmoor Prison Farm (Ref: AI//37/2002)

Date Last Edited:Jan 24 2023 12:05PM