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HER Number:MDV63607
Name:Prehistoric Field System at Signalhouse Point


Prehistoric coaxial field system at Signalhouse Point.


Grid Reference:SX 771 354
Map Sheet:SX73NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishChivelstone
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishCHIVELSTONE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1349550
  • National Trust SMR: 100590
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX73NE/4/1
  • Old SAM Ref: 33762

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FIELD SYSTEM (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946 - 1949, Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV342938.

Remains of field system show on Royal Air Force aerial photograph, bounded by trackways to the north and east.

Le Messurier, B., 1982, Untitled Source (Worksheet). SDV337258.

Orthostats of mica schist, the local stone, forming field walls by their flat slab-like shape, being placed one beyond the other. Well encrusted with lichen between Prawle Point and Signalhouse Point they form the cliffside downslope of a number of fields. At SX774-354- they are incorporated in a later more massive wall. Slabs about three feet high.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2001, Coaxial Field System and Semaphore Station at Signal House Point (Schedule Document). SDV346451.

The monument includes the relict and best preserved part of a coaxial field system. Consists of a block of about 10 parallel strips, each subdivided with short boundaries at angles to the main divisions. The system is a max of 450 metres long by up to 570 metres wide. However, due to removal of many boundaries and the fact that the e part of the system is still partly in use, the scheduling is limited to the w coastal slope where the boundaries survive best.
The field system forms a sub-rectangular block with lanes following its north and east sides. The western edge of the system was defined by a stone bank with earth infill, part of which still survives on the cliff edge at the north-west corner of the site. The strips are between 38 metres and 65 metres wide, but are mostly about 48 metres wide. Their boundaries are of 2 designs. The earliest consists of natural schist stone slabs, fixed upright to form a fence. In most cases, no bank is present, but one of the subdivisions includes a heavy earth bank, forming a lynchet. This contains upright slabs and has a stone revetment wall on its downhill side. Most of these slab walls survive on the steep slope which falls to the sea on the western edge of the monument. Occasional rock outcrops are incorporated into these boundaries, which continue down to the cliff edge. The later form of boundary is a wall of coursed stone. This can be seen to abut and incorporate the upright slabs in several places. It varies in design, some parts, especially on the coastal slope, being a stone bank with an earth core. This commonly has a base up to 1 metre thick, tapering to about 0.5 metre at a height of about 1 metre. Other parts, particularly inland of the coastal slope, are up to 1.5 metres high and about 0.5 metres thick, of coursed drystone rubble. Both wall types, but especially the former, are capped off with horizontal pieces of stone, sloping in towards the centre of the wall.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Pink, F., 2014-2015, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment (Interpretation). SDV357736.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV337258Worksheet: Le Messurier, B.. 1982. Worksheet.
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital).
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #97375 ]
SDV346451Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2001. Coaxial Field System and Semaphore Station at Signal House Point. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV357736Interpretation: Pink, F.. 2014-2015. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1

Associated Monuments

MDV7053Parent of: Signal Station at Signal House Point, Chivelstone (Monument)
MDV7053Related to: Signal Station at Signal House Point, Chivelstone (Monument)
MDV79360Related to: Coaxial Field Systems Between Deckler's Cliff and Gammon Head, East Portlemouth (Monument)
MDV7053Parent of: Signal Station at Signal House Point, Chivelstone (Monument)
MDV7053Related to: Signal Station at Signal House Point, Chivelstone (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6587 - Archaeological Assessment of Land between Bolt Heat and Bolt Tail

Date Last Edited:Jun 5 2019 10:39AM