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HER Number:MDV4357
Name:Deserted farmstead on High-House Waste, Cornwood


Medieval farmstead with longhouse and associated buildings set within enclosures. Earthworks of a deserted Medieval farmstead including the remains of at least one longhouse. Site is approached by a hollow or sunken way from the south-west.


Grid Reference:SX 610 623
Map Sheet:SX66SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishCornwood
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishCORNWOOD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX66SW67
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 442371
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66SW/95
  • Old SAM County Ref: 447

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMSTEAD (Constructed, Medieval - 1066 AD (Between) to 1539 AD (Between))
  • LONGHOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOLLOW WAY (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1750 AD)

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1953, 58/1110, 0040 (Aerial Photograph). SDV157241.

Visible on aerial photograph.

Linehan, C. D., 1965, Deserted Sites on Dartmoor, Devon, 172 (Article in Serial). SDV217992.

High House, (SX612625) a house with porch; four other buildings, garden, sunken entrance lane, all in extensive enclosures.
Reference to the Land Tax List 1781.

Linehan, C. D., 1966, Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, 135-136, table 2, fig. 56, 57e (Article in Serial). SDV307246.

(SX 61106249). The High House deserted site lies on the hillside above the west bank of the Boardall Lake. The main building shows later development and seem to have been a cottage with three ground floor rooms. Nearby are two small buildings, one of which may have been constructed from a hut circle. The earliest building lies further up the slope, against the bank of the sunken way which leads down to the cottage. On the steep slopes are extensive enclosures and massive terracing. A small rectangular enclosure lying to the south-east appears to contain another building, of which only one side can be seen.

Haynes, R. G., 1966-1969, Ruined Sites on Dartmoor, 48, plan (Un-published). SDV150434.

A longhouse divided up into three rooms with porch. A small outhouse is visible to the west. The farm is the centre of an extensive field system.

National Monuments Record, 1977, NMR SX6162, 1,3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV154453.

Visible on aerial photograph.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1977, SX66SW67 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV154424.

(12/08/1977) SX 61086244. A deserted farmstead terraced into a very steep, well drained, southeast facing slope at 280 metres above ordnance datum. The cottage, at SX 61096245 measures 14.8 metres by 4.9 metres internally, and is divided into three rooms. The coursed, small boulder walls are 0.8 metres thick, up to 1.2 metres high and in fair condition, with well-dressed quoins.
A small rectangular building, 4.6 metres by 2.6 metres internally is built on the same alignments and this range fronts onto a levelled yard. A sub-rectangular building, 5.5 metres by 5.3 metres internally with coursed walls in very poor condition, is unlikely to have been constructed from a hut circle and fronts onto the opposite side of the yard. The possible longhouse, 15.2 metres by 3.5 metres internally is very fragmentary and appears to have gone out of use before the enclosures in which it stands.
No trace of a building could be found in the small rectangular enclosure, SX 61026231, to the southeast. Surveyed at 1:10 000 on MSD.

Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology, 1979, Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Vol 5, 51 (Monograph). SDV340435.

SX 61056235 Scheduled ancient monument No 447 Deserted farmstead on High House Waste.

Robinson, R., 1983, List of Field Monument Warden Visits (Site Visit). SDV114314.

Visited 04/02/1983.

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

Rectangular buildings surrounded by farmyard and field system are visible on the aerial photographs. Recorded.

Griffiths, D. M., 1986, High House Waste site visit, Plan included (Worksheet). SDV154428.

High House / High House Waste
Set within its own enclosures on the west valley sides of the Broadall Lake. The buildings are approached by a good sunken lane leading in from the moor to the south-west. There are three or four buildings (see plan overleaf based on Linehan 1966).
a) This is the house. It has evidently been altered in post-medieval times, but may well have been a longhouse in origin. The building is now rectangular in form, with a cross wall dividing it into two halves. (A second cross wall, to the east, appears to be of dry stone construction and a late feature). The cross wall extends south of the building to form one side of a porch, which it is clear on the ground lay to the west. The door to the east shown by Linehan is doubtful. Opposite this doorway, on the northern side is an uncharacteristic piece of masonry which could be blocking of another door. Remains of a fireplace are visible at the northern end of the cross wall, on the western side.
To the west of the building, Linehan shows a small rectangular enclosure – this is not as clear on the ground. Remains of the east wall are good, the north wall formed by two massive granite boulders set (?naturally) into the hill slope, and the south wall by little more than a heap of small stones. The north wall is not visible and the whole defined rather by a rectangular hollow than walls. Further investigations are necessary, but it is possible that the east wall of this hut was originally the west end wall of the main house which has been truncated and modified in post-medieval times.
b) Not very clear, but a long, rectangular building which shares three of its walls with field walls. No details discernible.
c) Appears as Linehan, Ordnance Survey etc describe.

White, P., 2013, Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads, High-house Waste (Un-published). SDV352501.

High-house Waste a deserted farmstead site.

Ordnance Survey, 2014, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV355681.

Site depicted on the modern mapping, including the sunken way, longhouse and structure to the south.

English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England, 1003182 (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

The monument includes a deserted post-medieval farmstead with part its surrounding field system situated on High House Waste in the valley of the Broadall Lake. The farmstead survives as four separate buildings, a yard, a length of hollow way and part of the field system which surrounds the farmstead. The cottage measures 14.8m long by 4.9m internally defined by coursed, small boulder mortared walls measuring up to 0.8m wide and 1.2m high, with well dressed quoins. It has three internal rooms, the central of which has the tumbled remains of a fireplace. On the southern face is a rectangular annexe, probably a porch, which leads onto the farmyard. To the west of the cottage is a second rectangular building measuring up to 4.5m long and 2.5m wide internally, it also leads onto the yard. To the south of the yard is the third building which survives as a rectangular building with two rounded corners, built of roughly coursed walls and measuring up to 5.5m long by 5.3m wide internally. Approximately 70m to the south east of the cottage on the east side of the hollow way, the fourth building survives as a rectangular low-walled structure measuring 15.2m long by 3.5m wide internally and is probably an earlier longhouse. Much of the original field system connected with the farmstead survives but this has not all been formally assessed so only that part adjacent to the farmstead is included in the scheduling.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV114314Site Visit: Robinson, R.. 1983. List of Field Monument Warden Visits.
SDV150434Un-published: Haynes, R. G.. 1966-1969. Ruined Sites on Dartmoor. Ruined Sites on Dartmoor. Manuscript + Digital. 48, plan.
SDV154424Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1977. SX66SW67. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV154428Worksheet: Griffiths, D. M.. 1986. High House Waste site visit. Worksheet. Digital. Plan included.
SDV154453Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1977. NMR SX6162. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1,3.
SDV157241Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1953. 58/1110. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. 0040.
SDV217992Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1965. Deserted Sites on Dartmoor, Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 97. A5 Hardback. 172.
SDV307246Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1966. Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Digital. 135-136, table 2, fig. 56, 57e.
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.
SDV340435Monograph: Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology. 1979. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Vol 5. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. 5. Unknown. 51.
SDV352501Un-published: White, P.. 2013. Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads. Excel Spreadsheet. High-house Waste.
SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #91755 ]
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website. 1003182.

Associated Monuments

MDV4359Related to: Hawns Medieval Farmstead, Dendles Wood, Cornwood (Monument)
MDV27923Related to: Medieval Field system at Hawns, Cornwood (Monument)
MDV28128Related to: Possible pillow mound south of High House Waste farmstead (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jan 25 2022 8:26AM