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HER Number:MDV50019
Name:Field Systems at Lower Well Farm


Remains of Roman and medieval field systems at Lower Well Farm in Stoke gabriel


Grid Reference:SX 863 575
Map Sheet:SX85NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishStoke Gabriel
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSTOKE GABRIEL

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX85NE/1/3
  • Old SAM County Ref: 351
  • Old SAM Ref: 33797

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FIELD SYSTEM (Unknown date)

Full description

Ancient Monuments, Earthworks N.E. of Lower Well Farm (Schedule Document). SDV337308.

Lynchetted squarish (Celtic) fields on south and west of main enclosure. Other details: County No 351.

Masson Phillips, E. N., 1966, Excavation of a Romano-British Site at Lower Well Farm, Stoke Gabriel, Devon, 23 (Article in Serial). SDV337309.

Parts excavated by Masson Phillips (1958-60). Low field banks associated with the enclosures were all of similar construction and yielded Romano British material similar to that elsewhere on the site.

Griffith, F. M. + Timms, S., 1983, Untitled Source (Site Visit). SDV337312.

Earthworks survive up to at least 0.6m high. South side of main enclosure sits on a ledge or terrace, possibly a negative lynchet caused by ploughing against it. The celtic fields survive excellently throughout the modern field containing the enclosure. Traces of system also visible in field to e as soilmarks in newly harrowed soil. All other fields intensely cultivated and flat. Worthy of detailed survey.

Griffith, F. M., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 57 (Monograph). SDV64198.

Banks forming edges of small fields can be seen in photograph. Previously survived in surrounding modern fields as well, but now removed by ploughing.

Sainsbury, I. S., 1991, Untitled Source (Site Visit). SDV337315.

RCHME, 1992, IA/RB Farmstead & Field System (Report - Survey). SDV337316.

The farmstead is surrounded by the remains of cultivation visible as a number of grassy banks and lynchets. These are much reduced by ploughing which makes exact interpretation difficult but there appears to have been at least two phases: the first phase is composed of rectilinear fields formed mainly by turf-covered stoney banks, oriented north east-south west, which now vary from ground surface level to about 0.6m high. Generally these banks are about 4m wide but they have been spread especially down the natural slopes to the south east by ploughing. A later phase is suggested by a prominent series of lynchets, oriented north west-south east and up to 1.3m high in places, running along the south facing natural slopes. At cSX86425750 two of these lynchets appear to overlay a bank of the earlier system. An outlying lynchet on berry hill common (the field to the immediate south centred at SX86415738) suggests that this later system may originally have been more extensive. Reference in summary to possibility that lynchet elements may be medieval/post medieval.

English Heritage, 2002, Earthwork Enclosures and Field Systems, 430m North East of Lower Well Farm (Schedule Document). SDV337317.

This monument includes a group of earthworks representing settlement and farming practices of Iron Age, Romano-British and late Roman date, on a gently sloping hilltop with wide views in all directions. A limestone pavement underlies the site. Small sub-rectangular fields to the east and south-east are subdivided by banks from 2.5 metres to 5 metres wide and up to 1 metres high. Three long medieval cultivation terraces on the south-west side of the site measure from 12 metres to 29 metres wide, with scarps 3 metres to 5 metres wide and up to 1.5 metres high. Open field cultivation in the field to the south continued until the mid 19th century. A series of small irregular quarry pits 5 metres to 10 metres wide and 0.8 metres deep on the eastern side of the scheduling were excavated to provide stone for the post-medieval wall alongside.

Smalley, R. A. J., 2007, Lower Well Farm, Stoke Gabriel, 6-7 (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV345984.

Positive and negative linear anomalies can be seen extending beyond the limits of the earthworks, and may relate to the banks and ditches associated with Iron Age field systems. A number of positive linear anomalies of probable agricultural origin were noted in the north-western limits of the survey area. Positive area anomalies were noted across the survey area, and indicate the presence of cut features such as ditches which may be of archaeological origin. A number of negative area anomalies are also evident and may represent former earthworks or banks. A number of smaller discrete positive anomalies are present across the site, and may be pits of possible archaeological origin. Areas of magnetic variation in a number of areas may have been caused by ground disturbance and are possibly related to excavations undertaken in the 1950s. Other details: Figures 6-7.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV337308Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. Earthworks N.E. of Lower Well Farm. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV337309Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1966. Excavation of a Romano-British Site at Lower Well Farm, Stoke Gabriel, Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. 23. Paperback Volume. 23.
SDV337312Site Visit: Griffith, F. M. + Timms, S.. 1983. Not Applicable.
SDV337315Site Visit: Sainsbury, I. S.. 1991. RCHME Field Investigation. Not Applicable.
SDV337316Report - Survey: RCHME. 1992. IA/RB Farmstead & Field System. RCHME Report. A4 Stapled.
SDV337317Schedule Document: English Heritage. 2002. Earthwork Enclosures and Field Systems, 430m North East of Lower Well Farm. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV345984Report - Geophysical Survey: Smalley, R. A. J.. 2007. Lower Well Farm, Stoke Gabriel. Stratascan Report. J2278. A4 Stapled + Digital. 6-7.
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 57.

Associated Monuments

MDV50021Part of: Romano British Farmstead at Stoke Gabriel (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4958 - Geophysical Survey at Lower Well Farm, Stoke Gabriel

Date Last Edited:Dec 7 2010 9:05AM