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HER Number:MDV6630
Name:Fernworthy Farm, Fernworthy


Fernworthy shown on 19th century maps and mentioned from the 14th century. The farmstead was mostly demolished in the mid 20th century to accommodate a reservoir


Grid Reference:SX 660 839
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68SE/60

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMSTEAD (XIV to XX - 1301 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

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

'Fernworthy' shown on 19th century Tithe Map as a large E-shaped building orientated west to east with an extension to the south-west corner. The Apportionment for 'Fernworthy' lists Field Number 324 as 'Dwelling House, Court, Road and Mowhay'.

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

Fernworthy marked on 1880s-1890s 25 inch Ordnance Survey map comprising buildings ranged around two adjoining yards with a round horse engine house on the north side of a barn at the north-east corner.

Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M., 1931, The Place-Names of Devon: Part One, 198 (Monograph). SDV1312.

Fernworthy is first recorded as 'Vernaworthy' in 1355. It was 'Ferneworthy' in 1377 and 'Vernworthie' in 1524.

Bannister, G. W., 1936, Proceedings at the 75th Annual Meeting, 20 (Article in Serial). SDV258200.

The old farm at Fernworthy, house and buildings, are being demolished due to the construction of a new reservoir. The older part bearing the date 1690 is to be preserved (from an earlier farm).

Cocks, J. V. S., 1974-1977, Fernworthy, Dartmoor, 205-207 (Article in Serial). SDV258202.

In 1627 there were three tenements mentioned at Fernworthy. At the end of the 17th century the estate was owned by Lightfoot who rebuilt the farmhouse and set up a stone over the porch with the legend 'l 1690'. The survey of Dartmoor of 1786 shows that it was then held by Sir John Davey of Creedy. The house was rebuilt again in 1858 in granite with rough stucco. It was finally demolished after the end of the Second World War

Swete, J. (ed. Gray T. + Rowe, M.), 2000, Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Swete. Vol. 4, 37 (Monograph). SDV339713.

Swete, in 1797, refers to Fernworthy as a moor farm worth about £50 per annum and which had recently been fitted out as a hunting seat by its owner, the late Sir John Davie.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

The outline of former buildings are recorded on modern mapping.

Newman, P., 2013, Fernworthy Forest Sites Survey (Un-published). SDV351708.

White, P., 2013, Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads, Fernworthy (Un-published). SDV352501.

Fernworthy the site of a lost farmstead.

Newman , P., 2013, The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon, 38, 53-56, 64, 66 Figs 46-49, 53 (Report - Survey). SDV351784.

The mention of Fernworthie Hedges in a Dartmoor Perambulation of 1609 is suggestive of a settlement here at that time and earlier documentary references to Fernworthy or Vernaworthy in th 14th and 16th century may suggest that the farm had much earlier origins. Worth considered the suffix 'worthy' to possible indicate a Saxon origin. However, more documentary research or archaeological intervention is required to establish the date of the farms origins with more certainty. However, it is likely that the inner cluster of enclosures on the north side of the river bank mark and earlier phase. The farm is shown on a map of 1796 by which time it had absorbed the lands of Silk House and the Lowtons resulting in a large farm of over 155 hectares. This also included some more recent large intakes and the map also shows a further large proposed newtake on the north-west side of the farm which was in place by 1807. The combined boundaries demarcate the limits of the modern plantation which comprises a dry stone wall. The construction of this wall would have required a substantial quantity of moorstone some of which was taken from disused sections of field walls and also probably from prehistoric sites. By the time of the Tithe Map the lands belonging to Assacombe had also been acquired but for some reason some of the latter newtakes are not included and the total land holding is given as only 114 hectares.
The 1796 map shows a large house with ranges of buildings forming two rectangular yards on the north side. This plan had altered little by the time of the 1886 Ordnance Survey map. Earlier 20th century photos show the farmhouse to have been two storey with closely spaced windows, a slate roof and a full height chimney stack at each end.
All the farm buildings except one were demolished to make way for the reservoir and little is recognisable on the gound today. Fragmentary outlines are visible of the house and some of the outbuildings. A slotted gatepost still stands near the site of the house. A leat supplied water to the farm from the South Teign which entered the farmyard on the south side from where the now dry earthwork channel can be traced through the enclosures to the south-west of the farm and then in parts through the planted areas of the forest back to the river.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1312Monograph: Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M.. 1931. The Place-Names of Devon: Part One. The Place-Names of Devon: Part One. VIII. A5 Hardback. 198.
SDV258200Article in Serial: Bannister, G. W.. 1936. Proceedings at the 75th Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 68. Unknown. 20.
SDV258202Article in Serial: Cocks, J. V. S.. 1974-1977. Fernworthy, Dartmoor. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 33. Unknown. 205-207.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #98077 ]
SDV339713Monograph: Swete, J. (ed. Gray T. + Rowe, M.). 2000. Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Swete. Vol. 4. Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Sw. 4. Hardback Volume. 37.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV351708Un-published: Newman, P.. 2013. Fernworthy Forest Sites Survey. Digital.
SDV351784Report - Survey: Newman , P.. 2013. The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon. Digital + A4. 38, 53-56, 64, 66 Figs 46-49, 53.
SDV352501Un-published: White, P.. 2013. Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads. Excel Spreadsheet. Fernworthy.

Associated Monuments

MDV107129Parent of: Fernworthy Farmhouse (Building)
MDV104640Related to: Boundary of Fernworthy Great Newtake (Monument)
MDV104642Related to: Leat to Fernworthy Farm (Monument)
MDV104639Related to: Slotted gatepost amid ruins of Fernworthy Farm (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6203 - Archaeological Survey of Fernworthy Forest
  • EDV7389 - Fernworthy Forest condition survey 1996
  • EDV7410 - Fernworthy Forest condition survey 1992

Date Last Edited:Sep 18 2015 3:40PM