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HER Number:MDV5109
Name:Erme Pound enclosed hut circle settlement, Harford


Erme Pound prehistoric settlement consisting of three Enclosures 'A-C' (Butler) and various internal features


Grid Reference:SX 639 655
Map Sheet:SX66NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishHarford
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishHARFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NW/30

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ENCLOSED HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Wilkinson, J. G., 1862, On British Remains on Dartmoor, 119 (Article in Serial). SDV277122.

Erme Pound is similar to other pounds elsewhere.

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

Enclosures and internal features shown on 19th century map.

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 398 (Monograph). SDV320981.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950, SX66NW46, SX66NW46 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV151328.

A large enclosure of the usual Dartmoor type, which has been partially utilised in its north west corner during construction of the later and much more modern Erme Pound.

National Monuments Record, 1976, SX6365, 1 (Aerial Photograph). SDV144574.

Photograph taken on 22nd April 1976.

Hankin, C. F., 1977-1979, Harford Parish Checklist (Worksheet). SDV149931.

Site visited on 18th October 1978. An unusually large enclosure of irregular shape; east to west width approximately 300 metres, north to south width approximatel 150 metres. The western perimeter nearest the river and on steep rough ground, has been much disturbed by what appear to be small land divisions bounded by low walls. The walls are incomplete, about 30 metres of the south wall is missing, and the north-west wall has become an earthen bank with no stones. The long east wall is 3 metres wide but very broken. The north wall is a "reave like" structure part of which is very substantially stone built. From the east wall another low wall runs out about 11 metres before curving south from about 3 metres, but does not continue. There are three "court-like" enclosures at the west end of the north wall, and two small hut circles, diameter 5 metres and 3.5 metres, one at each end of the west wall of the largest courts which is 25 metres to 30 metres long by about 5 metres wide.

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

Enclosure visible and recorded, with at least ten elements formed by agglomeration and partition. There are three freestanding hut circles and eleven incorporated or attached hut circles visible inside.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 74, Map 55, Figure 55.6 (Monograph). SDV337765.

Erme Pound prehistoric settlement consists of three enclosures.
The eastern Enclosure 'A' of approximately 0.6 hectares has a rubble wall up to 2 metres wide and 1.2 metres high, but where it has spread or collapsed it forms the base of a supplementary wall of coursed blocks 0.7 metres wide and 1 metre high. This repair or rebuild is particularly evident on the north-west and south-west sides and probably dates from the medieval or post medieval utilisation of the prehistoric enclosure. The south-east entrance is probably original with later facing. Enclosure 'A' contains two free standing huts. The southern 'Hut 1' of 3.4 metres in diameter with a prominent doorpost at the entrance. The northern 'Hut 2' of 4.2 metres diameter has a pair of courts against the northern boundary with three very small circles of 1.5 to 2.5 metres on the periphery.
The central 'Enclosure 'B' has several small courts around the edge with one or more tiny circles of 1.5 to 3 metres across in each court which were probably store houses. A free standing 'Hut 3' at the centre is 3.9 metres diameter and 'Hut 4' on a knoll overlooking the lower part of the settlement is 5.2 metres in diameter.
The northern Enclosure 'C' was rebuilt as a Duchy drift pound in use by the end of the 16th century. The disturbed interior contains the remains of at least six huts ('Huts 5-10' with diameters between 3.2 and 6.1 metres) are grouped near the centre some of which are joined by low walling. Others may be hidden under the piles of displaced stone and two more ('Huts 11 an 12'with diameters of 4.5 and 3 metres) are sited just outside the north entrance and eroded to their foundations.

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, Appendic 1, Figure 12 (Report - Survey). SDV362921.

A complex of prehistoric enclosures with sub-divisions and ruined hut circles. Also evidence of later adaptive reuse in the medieval/post-medieval period of one enclosure (Erme Pound, MDV 5110) and the addition of further buildings. The entire site covers 4 hectares and is 427 metres long by up to 133metres wide and sits on sloping ground adjacent to the River Erme on the north side. The prehistoric phase may have included three main elements of enclosure. The western enclosure, which contained at least four hut circles and was later adapted to form Erme Pound, probably had a similar amorphous footprint to the later pound, which overlies it, covering 0.6 hectares. The stone of the original wall is visible in places at the base of the more recent dry stone wall. The interior contains a combination of natural clitter streams and sub-dividing walls. The latter are very spread and in places it is difficult to differentiate the two. Smaller enclosures or pens on the western end, extend beyond the main enclosure space. To the east a large teardrop shaped enclosure of 2 hectares has a mostly clear interior, with one small inner enclosure on the north corner having two possible huts. There is also two discrete hut circles within the main space. The enclosure wall comprises a stony, mainly turf-covered, bank of up to 4 metres wide. It is very robust in places, especially along the south-west side and the northern section but in other places it has been overwhelmed by peat growth and is visible as a slight lynchet, if at all. Bridging the two enclosures is a central space which is bounded on the south by a substantial wall with two dog-legs turns, and contains several smaller enclosures or pens. The north side of this space is not completely enclosed and there is a large void between two of the smaller enclosures. There is no certainty that this space was ever filled by a continuous wall, but it seems likely. However, the strength of the northern walls is far from equal to that of the south side, which although spread to 6 metres wide, still remains to over 0.5 metres high in places and was clearly very substantial. The smaller enclosures or pens, attached to the interiors and exteriors of the main enclosures, are constructed in a less robust style, comprising either lines of randomly spaced boulders, or low, turf-covered rubble banks. The layout and form appears to be unsystematic, with some attached to the larger enclosure walls, or each other, while one other is free-standing. Some are associated with ruined hut circles as well as some less permanent structures. Within the whole complex, there are twelve confirmed ruined hut circles, and one possible hut circle, all likely to be associated with prehistoric occupation of the site. Five free-standing hut circles survive in the western enclosure. All were constructed from relatively smallish pieces of granite and as a result, three survive only as turf-covered stony mounds, the largest of which is 14 metres in diameter and stands to over 1 metre high. No details of the walls are visible but the volume of tumbled stone suggest they may have been very substantial. The other two huts have some structural stone visible, providing internal diameters of approximately 4 metres. In the central area, five likely hut circles have been recorded, of which three have surviving wall fabric in the form of edge-set slabs, surrounded by rubble mounds. All three have internal dimensions of a little over 4 metres. Within the larger eastern enclosure only two hut circles survive, spaced 128 metres apart. The northern of these is little more than a platform, with three or four in-situ stones of the wall remaining in place. It could have had a diameter of 4.2 metres. The other example has more stones surviving but is still very ruinous with an internal diameter of approximately 4.5 metres. In addition to the hut circles, there is a total of 13 small, more ephemeral, structures built into various enclosure walls. Though some conform to a circular outline, others appear to be irregular in shape or rectangular. The interior space in all cases would have been less than 2.5 metres, which is small for a permanent domestic site. The date for these structures is also uncertain. The western enclosure was adapted into a strong cattle pound by imposing a drystone wall onto the prehistoric remains (see MDV5110). This probably occurred in the medieval period or later and three ruined and roofless rectangular structures built against various sections of the southern enclosure walls may be associated with this later episode. One (see MDV5108) is attached to the southern exterior of Erme Pound. A second is a probable shelter adjacent to the south-east exterior of the pound at SX6379265598. This is built from large, coursed granite boulders, using a drystone technique. The walls are 0.8 metres thick by up to 0.9 metres high and the internal dimensions are 5.5 metres by 2.3 metres. The entrance opening was is on the northern corner. The interior of the building is lined with a raised plinth, capped with flat granite slabs, creating seating of up to 0.7 metres wide. A third structure is tucked inside the southern, central section of the enclosure at SX 6384665546. The 0.8 metres-thick walls stand to approximately 0.5 metres and the interior is 4 metres by 1.6 metres. An entrance opening is on the south-east side.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording forms, UE-13 (Worksheet). SDV362781.

(13/03/2019) Recorded by volunteer condition assessor. Condition assessed as moderate. This complex site is on open grass land not crossed by any major paths. The grass is mostly fine quality attractive to livestock although the purple moor grass appears to be expanding and bracken is flourishing alongside the river and lower elements of the site. The river itself appears to be slowly eating into its bank and is now very close to the monument. The Bronze Age elements have been stripped of much stone, presumably for the construction of the mediaeval pound.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording photographs (Photograph). SDV363073.

Photographs taken in March 2019.

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

'Erme Pound' shown on modern mapping with separate enclosures to the west and east and a central enclosure with an opening to the north..

National Monuments Record, 2019, Pastscape, 441626, SX66NW23 (Website). SDV362732.

There is a mention of Erme Pound in the Court Rolls of 1552-3, but only as identifying the position of certain land lying nearby. The pound is an irregular ellipse in shape with a major axis of approximately 340 ft and a minor axis of 200 ft. Its area is about 1.23 acres. Within are a number of hut circles and it may well be an Early Bronze Age structure, restored and adapted. Erme Pound is a multi-phase structure of 4.0 hectares, situated on the south west slopes of Brown Heath. The Pound, of approximately 0.6 hectares has a rubble wall up to 2.0 metres wide and 1.2 metres high but where it has spread or collapsed, it forms the base of a supplementary wall of coursed blocks 0.7 metres wide and 1.0 metre high. This repair or rebuilding is particularly evident on the north west and south west sides and probably dates from the medieval or post medieval utilisation of the prehistoric enclosure. The entrance at the south-east is probably original with later facing. Within the enclosure are six huts, all with levelled interiors and probably of Type 1. Their rubble walls average 1.7 metres wide and 0.5 metres high and the internal diameters measure from 3.2 to 5.5 metres. Only two have discernible entrances, both on the south and three huts are linked by walling 1.0 metre wide and 0.3 metres high to form enclosed plots about 8.0 metres by 15.0 metres. Near the north corner of the enclosure there is a possible hut built into the collapsed wall. It has an internal diameter of 3.0 metres but is in ruined condition and could be prehistoric or an attempt to create a modern shelter. Attached to the outer face of the Pound are a half dozen small and incomplete prehistoric enclosures. The walling is mostly rubble and averages 1.5 metres wide and 0.5 metres high. To the southeast of Erme Pound an area of 3.4 hectares is incompletely enclosed and there is slight evidence that it may have been divided into two parts. The walling is of rubble, and averages 3.0 metres wide and 1.1 metres high, with occasional revetting on the outer face of the lower, southern side. Along the north and east sides the wall is much concealed by peat growth.The western half of the enclosure incorporates a number of plots, 15.0 metres to 20.0 metres across formed by low banks of rubble and in most cases integrated with one or more huts. These are of Type 1, small, with internal diameters measuring from 2.4 to 3.7 metres, and rubble walls 1.2 metres wide and 0.4 metres high. Entrances, from south-west to south-east face into the enclosures. There are two free-standing huts which appear to be of Type 2 with traces of double walling 1.2 metres wide and 0.5 metres high. The internal diameters are small, both 3.3 metres, with no discernible entrances. One is that originally considered to be a cist; the other, and Crawford's "lynchetted plot" are the only visible features in the eastern half of the large enclosure. The plot, 17.0 metres by 8.0 metres has been levelled but is still bounded by a low rubble wall.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV144574Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1976. SX6365. 1.
SDV149931Worksheet: Hankin, C. F.. 1977-1979. Harford Parish Checklist. Parish Checklist. Digital.
SDV151328Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950. SX66NW46. OSAD Card. SX66NW46.
SDV277122Article in Serial: Wilkinson, J. G.. 1862. On British Remains on Dartmoor. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 18. Unknown. 119.
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. 398.
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. 74, Map 55, Figure 55.6.
SDV361913Cartographic: Newman, P.. 2018. Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet). GIS ShapeFile. Digital.
SDV362729Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2019. MasterMap 2019. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #93884 ]
SDV362732Website: National Monuments Record. 2019. Pastscape. https://www.pastscape.org.uk/. Website. 441626, SX66NW23.
SDV362781Worksheet: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording forms. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. UE-13.
SDV363073Photograph: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording photographs. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV126715Parent of: Boundary wall within Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126651Parent of: Enclosure with a hut circle in the north-west corner of Enclosure 'B' at Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV13182Parent of: Erme Pound Central Enclosure 'B', Harford (Monument)
MDV5110Parent of: Erme Pound northern Enclosure 'C' , Harford (Monument)
MDV13181Parent of: Hut circle within Enclosure 'B' at Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV5111Parent of: Hut circle within Erme Pound settlement eastern Enclosure 'A', Harford (Monument)
MDV5107Parent of: Northern Hut Circle in Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126629Parent of: Northern hut circle within Erme Pound settlement eastern Enclosure 'A', Harford (Monument)
MDV126713Parent of: Northern of three central Hut Circles in Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126632Parent of: Series of enclosures and possible hut circles on the south-west side of Enclosure 'B' at Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126633Parent of: Small D-shaped feature in the centre of Enclosure 'B' at Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126654Parent of: Small rectangular building on the south side of Enclosure 'B' at Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126652Parent of: Small rectangular building on the south-west side of Enclosure 'B' at Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126714Parent of: Southern of three central Hut Circles in Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126650Parent of: Two adjoining enclosures with a hut circle on the west side of Enclosure 'B' at Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126634Parent of: Two irregular shaped adjoining enclosures with enclosed circles on the north-east side of Enclosure 'B' at Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126631Parent of: Two small adjoining enclosures on the north side of Enclosure 'B' at Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126630Parent of: Two small enclosures and possibly three circles within Erme Pound settlement eastern Enclosure 'A', Harford (Monument)
MDV126705Parent of: Western Hut Circle in Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV126709Parent of: Western of three central Hut Circles in Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)
MDV3066Related to: Blackwood Path, Ugborough Moor (Monument)
MDV13171Related to: Tinner's cache in Erme Pound, Harford (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8082 - Survey of the Upper Erme Valley

Date Last Edited:Nov 23 2020 2:57PM