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HER Number:MDV4302
Name:Cairn at Stalldown Barrow with shelter known as 'Hillson's House', Cornwood


This large flat-topped cairn, measuring 17.5m diameter and 1.7m high, lies on the summit of Stalldown Barrow. It is constructed of boulders and has been mutilated by the erection of several shelters and a building, 1.8m square internally and 1.4m high, known as Hillson's House.


Grid Reference:SX 636 622
Map Sheet:SX66SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishCornwood
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishCORNWOOD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX66SW19
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 442217
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66SW/55
  • Old SAM Ref: 10511

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CAIRN (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))
  • SHELTER (Constructed, XVII to XIX - 1700 AD (Between) to 1890 AD (Between))

Full description

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

'Hillson's House (Tumulus)' shown on 19th century map.

Falcon, T. A., 1905, Dartmoor: A Note on Graves, 461 (Article in Serial). SDV255372.

The ruins of a square erection built on Stalldon Barrow from local materials is known as "Hillson's House".

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 402, Figure 16 (Monograph). SDV320981.

The cairn at 'Stalldon Barrow' is very large but not very high. On the south-west side the stones have been used to build a small house on the summit of which only three walls remain. The story goes that a foundling from Stall Moor was given the appropriate name of Hillson and later built a little house at Stalldon Barrow where he made eight-day clocks. The shelter became known as 'Hillson's Hut'.

National Monuments Record, 1976, NMR SX6362 (Aerial Photograph). SDV165685.

Photograph taken on 22nd April 1976.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1977, SX66SW19 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV175014.

(10/08/1977) This large flat-topped cairn, measuring 17.5m diameter and 1.7m high, lies on the summit of Stalldown Barrow at 415m above OD. It is constructed of boulders and has been mutilated by the erection of several shelters and a building, 1.8m square internally and 1.4m high, known as Hillson's House.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 137 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Site visited on 31st August 1975. Cairn, surmounted by remains of a rectangular hut. Rushes around the circumference suggest ditch. Diameter 20 metres by height 1.8 metres.

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

Visible on aerial photograph and recorded.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 61-62, Map 54, Figure 54.21 (Monograph). SDV337765.

Cairn '7' at SX63666228 is Hillson's House cairn of 20 metres diameter by 2 metres high and occupies the highest point of the ridge. Its massive bulk is not much reduced by the little shelter of 2.5 by 2 metres built out of its stones at the centre. Hillson was more likely to have been a peat cutter than a clock-maker as Crossing suggested as the surface of much of the surrounding hilltop has been used for peat extraction.

Newman, P., 2018, Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet) (Cartographic). SDV361913.

Newman, P., 2018, The Upper Erme Valley, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: An Archaeological Survey, Appendix 1, Figures 24 &25 (Report - Survey). SDV362921.

Hillson’s House/ Stalldown Barrow. A large stony hilltop cairn, much altered and disturbed, on the summit of Stall Down. The diameter of the cairn is 19.5 metres, though it survives to only 1.6 metres high, giving it a low, domed profile. Although very stony, a good portion of the cairn is now covered by turf. At the approximate centre of the cairn, a crude rectangular structure has been raised, utilising stone from the cairn, with interior dimensions of 3 metres by 2 metres by 1 metre high. It has walls on four sides and no entrance, having been much altered in recent years. It acquired the name of 'Hillson’s House' following a local legend that a clockmaker named Hillson once resided there.

Ordnance Survey, 2019, MasterMap 2019 (Cartographic). SDV362729.

'Hillson's House Cairn' shown on modern mapping.

Historic England, 2019, National Heritage List for England, 1012712 (National Heritage List for England). SDV362730.

Hillson's House is a large stone cairn, 17.5 metres in diameter and 2 metres high with a (later) shelter built of stones from the cairn surmounting it. Rushes and other vegetation around the base suggest the presence of an outer ditch. Its size and prominent position on top of Stalldown, indicate that it has been a significant landmark since it was first constructed.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV165685Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1976. NMR SX6362.
SDV175014Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1977. SX66SW19. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV255372Article in Serial: Falcon, T. A.. 1905. Dartmoor: A Note on Graves. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. Paperback Volume. 461.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 137.
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.
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 402, Figure 16.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337765Monograph: Butler, J.. 1993. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Four. Paperback Volume. 61-62, Map 54, Figure 54.21.
SDV361913Cartographic: Newman, P.. 2018. Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet). GIS ShapeFile. Digital. [Mapped feature: #117085 ]
SDV362729Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2019. MasterMap 2019. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV362730National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2019. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1012712.

Associated Monuments

MDV4301Related to: Cairn on Stalldown east of Stalldown stone row, Cornwood (Monument)
MDV13239Related to: Small cairn west of larger cairn on Stalldown Barrow, Cornwood (Monument)
MDV4277Related to: Stalldown Stone Row, Cornwood (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8082 - Survey of the Upper Erme Valley

Date Last Edited:Jan 24 2022 11:28AM