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HER Number:MDV54358
Name:Early 19th century feature in field west of Tor Royal


At SX 59747306, within a decayed conifer plantation on a slight E slope, is a form of triple enclosure surveyed in 1989.


Grid Reference:SX 597 730
Map Sheet:SX57SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Early 19th century feature in field west of Tor Royal with unknown function, although may be associated with animal husbandry, or some sporting activity

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX57SE137
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 619438
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/371

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ENCLOSURE (XVIII to XIX - 1800 AD (Between) to 1899 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV266573.


Shillibeer, W., 1805-1818, Map of Freehold and Enclosures on Dartmoor, 1805-18 (Cartographic). SDV218725.

A hexagonal roofed structure, perhaps 23m. Across, with a small open centre, is depicted in the corner of a pasture field.

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

Late 19th century (1886) map depicts an angular wall in the form of a crescent, of the south and west sides of an enclosure.

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

In the second field beyond South Hisworthy House is a circle resembling the fringe of a turfy mound, 36 yards in diameter, and within this another, across which is a short piece of wall cutting off a segment.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1987-1993, Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit (Report - Survey). SDV350839.

(11/08/1989) At SX 59747306, within a decayed conifer plantation on a slight E slope, is a form of triple enclosure, its remains at variance with the descriptions of earlier authorities (Crossing, OS map and Duchy held freehold map).
The outer, ovoid enclosure has overall diameters of 38.5m by 35.5m, formed by an earth bank 3.2m wide and 0.4m high. On the downhill, E side, its external height increases to 1.1m. There are vestiges of an outer ditch, mostly denoted by a rushy growth. Part of the NE and SW quadrants are depleted by erosion but a cut 2m. wide, in the NW could be an original entrance through the bank.
About 2m. inside the base of the bank and roughly concentric with it are large moorstone boulders, and irregular blocks of stone rather like quarry waste, spaced at intervals of 1.5m to 2.5m. Many weigh perhaps half a ton and are over 1m across; some are embedded and others simply rest on the surface. Along the S side of the enclosure or ring there is a band of dumped stones, some drill split, and these account for some large gaps in the circle.
On the W quadrant a distinct step 0.1m deep, along the inner face of the alignment, indicated some levelling of the interior, within which is a third structure.
In this, small contiguous stones, earthfast and 0.1m to 0.4m high, form three sides of a rectangle 15m E to W and 8m N to S. The southern side is mostly displaced into the adjacent stone dump.
The whole is not recognisably prehistoric, and almost certainly of early 19th century date, though its function is obscure. The roofed area depicted on the Duchy map may apply to that between the outer stone ring and the inner rectangle and, if supported on timber posts, the hexagonal plan would now be lost. It may have been an innovative structure associated with animal husbandry, or even for some sporting activity, e.g. cockfighting. Omitted from the Tithe Map, c.1842, it was by then perhaps defunct or ruined.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV218725Cartographic: Shillibeer, W.. 1805-1818. Map of Freehold and Enclosures on Dartmoor, 1805-18. Map of Enclosures on Dartmoor -1805-1818.
SDV266573Migrated Record:
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #94853 ]
SDV350839Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1987-1993. Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Unknown.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8628 - Tor Royal Farm Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project

Date Last Edited:Oct 11 2021 3:58PM