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HER Number:MDV6059
Name:Challacombe Medieval Settlement, Manaton

Summary

Challacombe consists of the remains of a shrunken Medieval settlement with ruined Medieval buildings and enclosures along the west bank of the West Webburn river. Challacombe was mentioned in 15th and 16th century documents

Location

Grid Reference:SX 693 795
Map Sheet:SX67NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishManaton
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishMANATON

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument 1021395

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NE/67
  • Old SAM County Ref: 518

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SETTLEMENT (Early Medieval to XV - 1066 AD to 1500 AD (Between))

Full description

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

'Challacombes' shown on 19th century Tithe Map as a group of buildings and associated enclosures to the west of the river. The Apportionment for 'Part of North Challacombe' lists Field Number 41 as 'House and Offices'. The Apportionment for 'South Middle Challacombe' lists Field Number 44 as 'House' and Field Number 43 as 'Garden'. The Apportionment for 'South Challacombe and North Middle Challacombe' lists Field Number 48 as 'House'.

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

Buildings and enclosures shown on 19th century map at 'Challacombe' running north to south along the west bank of the West Webburn river.

Reichel, O. J., 1908, The Hundred of Haytor in the time of 'Testa de Nevil' AD1244, 110-37 (Article in Serial). SDV156533.

Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M., 1932, The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two, 481 (Monograph). SDV337894.

Challacombe was mentioned as 'Chaluecomb' in 1481 and 'Chaluecombe' in 1505.

Shorter, A. H., 1938, Ancient Fields in Manaton Parish, 183-9, Map (Article in Serial). SDV289514.

Worth, R. H., 1953, Dartmoor, 344, 404, Plate 80 (Monograph). SDV231148.

The Forester's account for 1505-1506 includes 'Villat de Chalnacombe in parochia de Manoton' under 'East Bailiwick' in the list of vills paying venville rents.

Royal Air Force, 1961, 58/4424, F 42.117/25 (Aerial Photograph). SDV280247.

Photograph taken on 25th May 1961.

Linehan, C. D., 1965, Deserted Sites on Dartmoor, Devon, 173 (Article in Serial). SDV217992.

Challacombe village. 8-10 houses with crofts.

Linehan, C. D., 1966, Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, 143, Figure 2 (Article in Serial). SDV307246.

Challacombe 1: 12 buildings, 9 showing late (ie Post-Medieval) development.

Gawne, E., 1970, Field Patterns in Widecombe Parish and the Forest of Dartmoor, 56-59, Figure 4 (Article in Serial). SDV238056.

The farms were probably allowed to run down because the inhabitants found it more profitable to work in the nearby mines. This is illustrated by the shrinking acreage from the 18th to 19th centuries.

Beresford, M. + Hurst, J. G., 1971, Deserted Medieval Villages, 185 (Monograph). SDV303779.

Bonney, D. J., 1971, Former Farms and Fields at Challacombe, Manaton, 83-91 (Article in Monograph). SDV289513.

Probably in existence at Domesday, though Reichel's identification with 'Cherleton' is unproven. First definitive historical reference is in 1481, and five tenements are recorded in 1613. The same number appear in a lease of 1880. Modern farmhouse and two cottages now remain, but there are traces of 10 other buildings, some quite upstanding and a number of crofts flanking an old track to Headland.

Hall, J. + Hamlin, A., 1976, Deserted Medieval Settlements in Devon, 13 (Article in Serial). SDV38836.

Close to stream. Farm now occupies site. Probably about 12 buildings, some clear and upstanding, others less clear. Tradition of an inn and tinning activity.

National Monuments Record, 1980, SF 1748, 249-260 (Aerial Photograph). SDV341304.

Photograph taken on 23rd April 1980.

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 641 (Monograph). SDV249702.

Timms, S., 1983, Notes on Lecture given by H. S. A. Fox (Personal Comment). SDV290309.

Challacombe formed part of the Manor of Kenton in the 13th century. It is an example of the detached parts of manors which were established as summer settlements for upland pasturing. These temporary settlements date from Domesday and probably earlier still. Challacombe was upgraded to a permanent settlement in the 13th or 14th century. A Courtenay Estate Map of 18th century date is preserved at Powderham Castle (quoting fox).

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

Only one building is visible and upstanding on aerial photograph.

Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EM, 9-10 (Aerial Photograph). SDV274678.

Photograph taken on 17th March 1985.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1986-1992, Challacombe, 1986- 2001 (Correspondence). SDV290293.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 7th November 1986 for repairs to one Medieval building .
Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 15th March 1989.
Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 11th Ocober 1991 for works concerned with a programme of initial repairs following storm damage in 1990.
Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 21st November 1991 for works concerned with excavating a series of shallow pits to evaluate the effectiveness of bracken control methods.
Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 10th June 1992 for erection of protective fencing, rails and stock netting fencing.
Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 11th June 1992 for erection of a stock fence and gate .
Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 29th November 1994 for works concerning the backfilling of a hole in building 8.
Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 23rd June 1998 for works concerning the erection of a new fence.
Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 25th January 2000 for the construction of a protective stock fence and the planting of mixed hardwood trees.
Scheduled Monument Consent granted on 22nd June 2000 for the reinstatement of an old pond adjacent to the farm buildings.
Scheduled Monument Consent granted in 2001 for works concerning the cutting of a trench through part of the scheduled area.

Griffiths, D. M. + Robinson, R., 1987, Challacombe: Manuscript Survey (Report - Survey). SDV290318.

Griffiths, D. M., 1988, Challacombe: Excavation at east end of Building 3 (Report - Excavation). SDV290312.

Pattison, P., 1990, Challacombe (Report - Survey). SDV290295.

Site visited on 21st August 1990.

Griffith, F. M., 1990, DAP/TV, 13-14 (Aerial Photograph). SDV160790.

Photograph taken on 23rd September 1990.

Agricultural Development Advisory Service, 1991, Challacombe Farm Postbridge, Devon (Duchy Farms Project), 22-35, Map D1 (Report - Assessment). SDV356546.

Remains of shrunken Medieval settlement including at least eight ruined buildings and associated with small rectangular fields or closes. Several buildings incorporate simple stone windows which are splayed internally from narrow external openings. This type of window dates from the early 16th to the late 18th century.

Pattison, P., 1999, Challacombe Revisited, 61-70 (Monograph). SDV359495.

Plans of the shrunken hamlet at Challacombe and the surrounding field systems.

Griffith, F. M., 20/01/1988, DAP/JR, 10-12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV245001.

Photograph taken on 20th January 1988.

Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

Outline of buildings and enclosures shown on modern mapping at 'Challacombe'.

Historic England, 2016, National Heritage List for England, 1021395 (National Heritage List for England). SDV359353.

Substantial remains of nearly 12 buildings comprising the Medieval and later village of Challacombe.
The monument, which falls into two areas, includes a deserted medieval settlement situated immediately north of the present day farmhouse at Challacombe. The settlement includes at least seven separate buildings set alongside a north-south aligned track. All of the buildings survive at least in part, as standing granite walling, although many are also composed of earthworks where the walling has collapsed. The settlement continued in use into the Post-Medieval period and some of the earlier longhouses were altered during this time. The best preserved building stands within the southern part of the settlement and its walls remain largely intact. There are windows in the northern and eastern walls, it is divided into three rooms and has corners built of large granite blocks. The earliest documentary reference to this site is in 1481 when it is referred to as 'Chalvecombe' and by 1613 there were five separate tenements which continued in use until at least 1880. Immediately surrounding the Medieval settlement at Challacombe lie a series of further Nationally Important archaeological remains. These include some of the best preserved Medieval strip fields in Devon, earlier Prehistoric settlement and later tinworking activity. These remains form the subject of two separate schedulings (SM36022 and SM36023). All modern fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

National Monument Record, 2016, Pastscape, 442451, SX67NE/4 (Website). SDV359354.

The remains of a shrunken Medieval settlement and ruined Medieval buildings. The main settlement was nucleated with the remains of at least eight ruinous buildings still visible. The present farm complex was built in the mid 19th century on the site of earlier buildings belonging to the combined tenement of South and North Middle Challacombe. The present farmhouse overlies the lower end of an earlier dwelling aligned across the contours.
The settlement comprises 2 elements:-Challocombe 1 at SX693795: a main nucleus between the present Challacombe farm and Challacombe Cottages.
Challocombe 2 at SX69577958: several barns on the site of East Challacombe.
The main settlement was nucleated with the remains of at least 8 buildings surviving from 4 of Challacombe's 5 tenements, all set long axis across the contours and arranged neatly on either side of a north to south trackway. A survey of 1787 shows a central open space at SX69377957 and archaeological observations show a track leading west from this uphill to fields on Challacombe Down. Remains of a group of small regular, rectangular fields or closes are associated with the buildings on both west and east sides, those on the west well preserved and maintained. All the buildings are ruinous. Where visible, the walls are of random or rough-coursed granite, often with large basal stones. Several incorporate simple squarish stone windows which are splayed internally from narrow openings on the outside and are possibly as early as the 16th or as late as the 18th century. Several buildings were in use at the time of the 1787 survey and at the time of the Tithe Award.
The modern farmhouse and two cottages are all that remains of the village of Challacombe, but there are traces of ten other buildings, some quite upstanding, and a number of crofts flanking an old track northwards to Headland. A cross track from Challacombe Down passes east over the West Webburn to another site, where one wall of a building and a croft remain at SX 695795 in front of a modern barn.
The first definite historical reference in 1481, is to Chalvecombe. A rate return of 1613 shows that there were then five tenements and there were the same number in 1841. The identification of this settlement with possible Domesday and 13th century references to Cherleton and Cherlecombe is not generally acceptable on etymological grounds.
All the buildings are ruinous. Where visible, the walls are of random or rough-coursed granite, often with large basal stones. Several incorporate simple squarish stone windows which are splayed internally from narrow openings on the outside and are possibly as warly as the 16th or as late as the 18th century. Several buildings were in use at the time of the 1787 survey and in the mid 19th century.
The buildings are:
Building A at SX69327948: The present farm complex was built in the mid 19th century on the site of earlier buildings belonging to the combined tenement of South and North Middle Challacombe (although originally it would have been South Challacombe). The present farmhouse overlies the lower end of an ealier dwelling house aligned across the contours. Behind the farm on the west is a short L-shaped bank, 2 metres wide and up to 1 metre high incorporating two large stone blocks. It appears to be a remaining corner of an earlier farmyard enclosure shown on the T ithe Map but truncated by the present west wall.
Building B at SX69327850: A building platform circa 12.9metres long, with a 4 metre long stretch of the north wall 0.9 metres wide and 1 metre high, built of medium and large stone blocks incorporating a blocked window. Two blocks at ground level form a fragment of the south wall, giving a building width of circa 3 metres. It is not shown on the Tithe Map.
Building C at SX69337952: Formerly recorded separately. A rectangular building with three rooms in series measuring 3.2, 3.5 and 4.4 metres by 5 metres internally, with paved or cobbled floors, one incorporating a drain. Its walls average 0.6 metres in width and stand between 1.9 metres and roof height except on the south long wall which in places is only 0.5 metres high. The lower end room is an addition with a drain at internal floor level and impressive corners of large granite slabs ("long and short work"). There are windows in the north and east walls and a blocked doorway in the lower part of the partition walls. Although possibly once a longhouse it is much altered. It is shown on the Tithe Map but was not then a dwelling.
Building D at SX69337955: A rectangular building circa 8 metres by 5 metres internally, terraced into the slope, with the south side and west end walls surviving up to 1.2 metres high and averaging 0.7 metres wide. There are two windows in the south wall. The north and east sides are slopes forming a platform 1.3 metres high. It is shown on the Tithe Map but was not then a dwelling.
Building E at SX69347956: A rectangular building circa 9 metres by 4.5 metres internally terraced into the slope, with the north side and the east end walls surviving up to 2 metres high and averaging 0.8 metres wide. The east end wall probably represents a shortening of a longer building visible beyond as a stony platform. Remains of a large fireplace in the present north-east corner possibly indicates that this is the cross wall of a longhouse. The north wall has an infilled window and a small square aperture tapering to a small hole on the outside face, possibly a urinal! The building was the farmhouse of South Middle Challacombe and is shown in use in 1787, as a dwelling on the Tithe Map and is reputed to have been a cider or ale house in the 19th century.
In the east face of the wall bordering the present track east of Building E are three rectangular stones averaging 0.35 by 0.15 metres with central, rectangular holes 0.07 metres long, 0.05 metres wide and 0.03 metres deep. These are the foundation stones taking posts for stalling in a longhouse.
Building F at SX69357958: Part of a rectangular building of indeterminate size but circa 0.4 metres wide, comprising part of the north side and east end walls which stand up to 1.4 metres high and average 0.65 metres wide. Two windows in the north wall are close to ground level indicating considerable soil accumulation both in and around the building. A low platform on the downslope side suggests that this building is also shortened. It is not shown on the Tithe Map but is possibly the dwelling house of North Middle Challacombe before the tenement was joined with South Challacombe.
Building G at SX69387963: The lower section of the north wall of a shed has a build and structure suggesting origin as a more substantial structure, possibly the remnant of a longhouse. It is not shown on the Tithe Map. The row of adjacent cottages were built in the 19th century prior to the Tithe Apportionment and occupy the site of North Challacombe.
Building H at SX69397966: A subrectangular stony mound 14 metres long, 7.3 metres wide and 0.9 metres high partially conceals a rectangular building. The foundations of the west end wall and a 6 metre length of the north side wall are visible, suggesting an internal width of circa 4.9 metres. Built into the north wall is part of an octagonal-sectioned stone window mullion, possibly of 16th century date. No structure is shown here on the Tithe Map.
Building J at. SX69397964: A massive stony platform 19 metres long, 7 metres wide and up to 1.4 metres high, the east end obscured by a woodpile. Sections of the east end and south side walls survive, 0.75 metres thick and up to 1 metres high, together with an internal partition wall. Rubble on the platform includes a mortarstone from tin stamping machinery. No structure is shown here on the Tithe Map.
Buildings H and J are interesting in that they do not relate to any of the five tenements known from the early 17th century onwards: if they are dwellings then they may relate to further vanished tenements.
Two structures in fields close by can be included in the settlement description:
At SX69427978: Foundations of a rectangular building measuring 6.9 by 5.6 metres internally, set in the angle of a field wall. It is terraced in as a platform 0.4 metres high with traces of walling of small coursed stones. It probably fulfilled an agricultural role.
At SX69537979: Foundations of a rectangular building measuring 3.7 by 2.9 metres internally, set in an angle between field walls and consisting of a low rubble bank 1.2 metres wide and 0.45 metres high. It too was probably a small agricultural building.

Crabb, A. + Billinge, M. + Billinge, F., 2019, List of finds from Challacombe test pitting event (Correspondence). SDV363280.

Results of a test pitting day at Challacombe; nine pits were excavated and a list of finds compiled. Every test-pit produced a few identifiable pottery sherds but there was no concentration but rather a sparse, residual spread of pottery of all ages across the site. The finds support the notion of continual habitation from the thirteenth/fourteenth century. The earlier Upper Greensand-derived pottery was not found on this occasion.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV156533Article in Serial: Reichel, O. J.. 1908. The Hundred of Haytor in the time of 'Testa de Nevil' AD1244. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 40. A5 Hardback. 110-37.
SDV160790Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1990. DAP/TV. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper) + Photograph (Digital). 13-14.
SDV217992Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1965. Deserted Sites on Dartmoor, Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 97. A5 Hardback. 173.
SDV231148Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1953. Dartmoor. Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 344, 404, Plate 80.
SDV238056Article in Serial: Gawne, E.. 1970. Field Patterns in Widecombe Parish and the Forest of Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 102. A5 Hardback. 56-59, Figure 4.
SDV245001Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 20/01/1988. DAP/JR. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 10-12.
SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 641.
SDV274678Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EM. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 9-10.
SDV280247Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1961. 58/4424. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). F 42.117/25.
SDV289513Article in Monograph: Bonney, D. J.. 1971. Former Farms and Fields at Challacombe, Manaton. Exeter Essays in Geography. 83-91.
SDV289514Article in Serial: Shorter, A. H.. 1938. Ancient Fields in Manaton Parish. Antiquity. 12. 183-9, Map.
SDV290293Correspondence: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1986-1992. Challacombe. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. 1986- 2001.
SDV290295Report - Survey: Pattison, P.. 1990. Challacombe. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey.
SDV290309Personal Comment: Timms, S.. 1983. Notes on Lecture given by H. S. A. Fox.
SDV290312Report - Excavation: Griffiths, D. M.. 1988. Challacombe: Excavation at east end of Building 3.
SDV290318Report - Survey: Griffiths, D. M. + Robinson, R.. 1987. Challacombe: Manuscript Survey.
SDV303779Monograph: Beresford, M. + Hurst, J. G.. 1971. Deserted Medieval Villages. Deserted Medieval Villages. Unknown. 185.
SDV307246Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1966. Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Digital. 143, Figure 2.
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.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337894Monograph: Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M.. 1932. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. IX. A5 Hardback. 481.
SDV341304Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1980. SF 1748. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 249-260.
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV356546Report - Assessment: Agricultural Development Advisory Service. 1991. Challacombe Farm Postbridge, Devon (Duchy Farms Project). Agricultural Development Advisory Service. A3 Comb Bound. 22-35, Map D1.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #96642 ]
SDV359353National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2016. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1021395.
SDV359354Website: National Monument Record. 2016. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. 442451, SX67NE/4.
SDV359495Monograph: Pattison, P.. 1999. Challacombe Revisited. Patterns of the Past: Essays in Landscape Archaeology. 61-70.
SDV38836Article in Serial: Hall, J. + Hamlin, A.. 1976. Deserted Medieval Settlements in Devon. Devon Historian. 13. A5 Paperback. 13.

Associated Monuments

MDV21712Parent of: Building 'B', Challacombe Medieval Settlement, Manaton (Building)
MDV21512Parent of: Building 'C' at Challacombe Medieval Settlement, Manaton (Building)
MDV55813Parent of: Building 'D' at Challacombe Medieval Settlement, Manaton (Building)
MDV55814Parent of: Building 'E' at Challacombe Medieval Settlement, Manaton (Building)
MDV55815Parent of: Building 'F' at Challacombe Medieval Settlement, Manaton (Building)
MDV55816Parent of: Building 'G' at Challacombe Medieval Settlement, Manaton (Building)
MDV55818Parent of: Building 'H' at Challacombe Medieval Settlement, Manaton (Building)
MDV55819Parent of: Building 'J' at Challacombe Medieval Settlement, Manaton (Building)
MDV55817Parent of: Challacombe Cottages, Manaton (Building)
MDV55811Parent of: Challacombe Farmhouse, Manaton (Building)
MDV78083Parent of: Challacombe Farmstead, Manaton (Monument)
MDV55820Parent of: Ruined building in fields near Challacombe, Manaton (Building)
MDV55821Parent of: Ruined building in fields near Challacombe, Manaton (Building)
MDV117378Related to: Barn at Challacombe Farm, Manaton (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8175 - Test pitting at Challacombe

Date Last Edited:Oct 21 2019 4:30PM