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HER Number:MDV6020
Name:Settlement and field system east of Laughter Tor

Summary

Remains of a Bronze Age settlement and irregular aggregate field system on Laughter Tor. The settlement comprises at least five hut circles, surviving as circular banks with an average height of 0.52 metres. Two of the huts have visible doorways, two are conjoined and three are attached to field boundary banks. The field system is defined by a series of low rubble banks, some of which are lynchetted, which together form at least 11 fields. Traces of later field systems partly overlie the site.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 655 756
Map Sheet:SX67NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67NE67
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 914245
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NE/40
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NE/40/6
  • Old SAM County Ref: 879
  • Old SAM Ref: 34457

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • AGGREGATE FIELD SYSTEM (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))
  • HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Constructed, Early Medieval to Early 20th Century - 1066 AD (Between) to 1901 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map, 107NE (Cartographic). SDV325644.

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/2149, 4424-25 (Aerial Photograph). SDV282746.

Field walls similar to those of SX 67 NE 27.

Royal Air Force, 1964, F62/58/6399, 028-29 (Aerial Photograph). SDV272301.

Royal Air Force, 1964, RAF 58/6399, 028-29 (Aerial Photograph). SDV225229.

Ancient Monuments, 1971/2003, Schedule notes, 1971/2003 (Schedule Document). SDV229363.

(02/02/1971) Two hut circles associated with rectangular fields. Hut A. Entrance in south-east corner. Diameter 6 yards. Hut B diameter 5 yards.
(30/09/2003) SX 65537561. Remains of settlement and irregular aggregate field system on Laughter Tor. Scheduling amended.

National Monuments Record, 1979, NMR SF1509, 225-230 (Aerial Photograph). SDV262885.

Robinson, R., 1982, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982 (Un-published). SDV342809.

(30/03/1982) DOE Field Monument Warden visit. A tracing by R. Robinson of Ordnance Survey air photo shows two apparent phases of fields: one an irregular curvilinear complex apparently related to at least one of the huts, and a second more regular rectilinear pattern (in Parish File). OSA suggest field pattern has 'Iron Age characteristics' (Photo ref: OS/1972/066/051 tracing of this in parish file).

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

Settlement containing hut circles and a field system. There do appear to be two sets of field phases within this area of fragmentary banks. There are three hut circles visible. The features all appear as vegetation marks on the NMR 1979 aerial photograph.

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

(24/10/1988) The remains of a settlement of five hut circles (A to E) and an associated field system are situated on gentle SE facing heather and rough grass covered slopes some 200m ESE from the summit of Laughter Tor at 400m OD. (See plan 1).
The settlement consists of two hut groups - group 1 (A, B and C) centred at SX 6550 7565 and group 2 (D and E) which are slightly larger and centred at SX 6556 7565.
Group 1. This group of huts may originally have been a small enclosed settlement, with a sub-divided wall, with the field system subsequently rotating from it.
Hut (a), SX 6549 7564, measures 3m in diameter inside a turf covered stone wall about 1.2m wide and 0.4m maximum height with a possible entrance in the SE. It is abutting a wall in the SSW.
Hut (B), SX 6550 7564, is similar measuring 3.4m inside a wall 1.2m to 2m wide and about 0.6m maximum height. Two slabs about 0.7m apart in the SE may indicate the entrance. It is contiguous to hut (C) on the N. A boulder between (B) and (A), may be the remains of a connecting wall.
Hut (C), SX 6550 7565, is slightly smaller but similar to (A) and (B) being some 2.5m in diameter within a wall some 2m thick and 0.6m high. There is no obvious entrance. It abuts (B) on the S and is joined to a field wall on the NE.
Group 2.
Hut (D), SX 6555 7565, is scooped into the slope to create a levelled platform the front of which has been destroyed by a modern field wall. It is about 5.4m in diameter, with a turf covered stone wall 1.7m to 2.3m wide. At the back, NW side, of the platform the internal wall face is 0.5m to 0.7m high. The entrance was presumably in the missing S section.
Hut (E), SX 6556 7566, this is built up onto the slope and is 4m in diameter inside a turf covered wall 1.8m to 2m wide. It attains a maximum height of 0.6m around the front SE side where a lowering of the scarp may indicate the entrance. A field wall joins the hut in the NE. A field wall, 2.5m NW of the huts, and concentric to them, may have formed a protective run of.
The field system, some 4ha in area, is formed by turf and heather covered stone walls with a predominance of boulders and large stones and a tendency to large scarps on their downhill sides. Some crude attempts at facing has been made but generally the walls are unfaced and uncoursed. They are about 0.6m maximum height and 2m to 2.5m wide, occasionally spread to 3m. The fields vary from small, about 20m square (0.02ha to 0.04ha), around the huts, to larger curvilinear fields 80m to 100m in diameter (about 0.7ha) further out around the periphery of the system. The fields were probably more extensive than as shown on the plan. To the N and NE there is evidence of slight lynchetting but as this area contains more outcrop and clitter, and is heavily overgrown with vegetation, it may only be natural scarping. The system appears to have spread to the SE where it fades rather than stopping abruptly. On these lower slopes the system is overlaid and possibly part destroyed by another system (SX 67 NE 87). Clear evidence of the relationship of the two can be seen at several places (F to I) see plan 2.
This settlement and field system are mirrored at Laughter Tor West (SX 67 NE 27) and on Bellever Tor (SX 67 NW 39).

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 157085+, MPP 157090 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

(09/05/2002) [157090] Irregular aggregate field system 340m south west of Laughter Hole Farm. Consists of at least eleven separate fields. The field walls are very difficult to see on the ground because of dense gorse growth, but they would appear to be typically of rubble construction standing 1.0 metre wide and 0.4 metres high.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East, 46-7; fig 27.11 (Monograph). SDV299725.

English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England, 1021045 (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

Prehistoric settlement and an irregular aggregate field system on upper south-east facing slope of Laughter Tor. Settlement includes at least five stone hut circles surviving as circular banks. The irregular aggregate field system includes at least 11 fields, which have been added over a period of time. Field systems of a later date (Medieval) partly overlie the monument, whilst a post-medieval coursed drystone wall leads across the monument from north-east to south-west. See full detail online.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV225229Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1964. RAF 58/6399. 028-29.
SDV229363Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 1971/2003. Schedule notes. The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown. 1971/2003.
SDV262885Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1979. NMR SF1509. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 225-230.
SDV272301Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1964. F62/58/6399. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 028-29.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 157085+, MPP 157090.
SDV282746Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/2149. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4424-25.
SDV299725Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East. One. Paperback Volume. 46-7; fig 27.11.
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.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). 107NE.
SDV342809Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1982. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Unknown.
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. I. S. Sainsbury. [Mapped feature: #135350 ]
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website. 1021045.

Associated Monuments

MDV66327Parent of: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66327Related to: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66328Parent of: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66328Related to: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66329Parent of: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66329Related to: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66330Parent of: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66330Related to: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66331Parent of: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66331Related to: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV132285Parent of: Isolated hut circle south-west of settlement east of Laughter Tor (Monument)
MDV66333Related to: Field system south-east of Laughter Tor (Monument)
MDV66327Parent of: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66327Related to: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66328Parent of: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66328Related to: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66329Parent of: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66329Related to: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66330Parent of: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66330Related to: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66331Parent of: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66331Related to: Hut circle in field system 340 metres south-west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)
MDV66338Related to: Stone hut circle 510m west of Laughter Hole Farm (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7388 - Archaeological condition survey in Bellever Woods
  • EDV7406 - Archaeological condition survey in Bellever Woods
  • EDV7431 - Woodland Survey (1989-90) at Bellever, Soussons and other woodland parcels
  • EDV8634 - Brimpts Farm, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8423 - Duchy Farms Project

Date Last Edited:Feb 7 2022 10:36AM