HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV6654
Name:Hut circle 450 metres west-north-west of Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir


Submerged hut circle. This is one of westerly circles of the group at Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir, four huts of which are now submerged, following the construction of the reservoir in the mid 20th century. Some of the hut circles have been reused as farm buildings over time and two have certainly been used as tinner's workshops or stores in the 16th century. The hut was excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in the mid-1930s prior to the construction of the reservoir.


Grid Reference:SX 66 84
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Walling remains of a group of partially submerged Bronze Age hut circles and associated fields with Tudor secondary occupation at Fernworthy Reservoir

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68SE/82/1
  • Pastscape: 443845

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HUT CIRCLE (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))
  • TINNERS HUT (XV to Post Medieval - 1401 AD to 1750 AD)

Full description

Worth, R. H., 1937, Thirteenth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 143-147, Figs, 1, 2, Pl. 22-25 (Article in Serial). SDV256641.

Excavated in 1934 (?) Hut circle number 4 on plan; usual type. The entrance was towards the south, clearly marked by the riser still in place. Walls are of normal type, except that part to the west of the entrance has been reconstructed at some time. Unusual depth of soil over the hut floor, about 0.6 meters. Charcoal, broken earthenware of Tudor period and some slag found above the hut floor; secondary occupation by tinners, as in Hut 3 nearby.
Near and on floor level were charcoal, fragments of bronze age pottery, flint chip and one or two potboilers. No defined hearth or cooking hole found. 14 pieces of flint found, all showing evidence of use. Dark grey flint, with brown shades and on piece of translucent cherty flint. Not formal implements or tools, but were used. The Bronze Age pottery represents at least two vessels. Part of the flat bottom of a vessel; the angle the side makes with the bottom is 73 degrees. A fragment of the body of a vessel indicates an outside diameter of 137 millimetres, the thickness of the material being 673 millimetres. A markedly everted rim has an outside diameter of 137 millimetres, and the internal diameter of the pot at the neck was 114 millimetres. The thickness of the ware is 57 millimetres at the rim and 64 millimetres at the neck. All the ware is lightly baked, red on the outside, black on the inner surface, probably from carbonaceous matter, and mostly grey in the body of the ware. The clay contains a fair proportion of sand, none from Dartmoor streams.
Two small pieces of ruddle were found on the floor. Fragment of grit apparently part of a whetstone. Pottery of a later date is very thin, mean thickness 4 millimetres; bright red, little added sand in the clay and is wheel brown. 3-4 vessels represented. One is a mug which has spots of yellow glaze, outside diameter of base 133 millimetres. A portion of the rim of a larger basin shaped vessel of drab earthenware, outside diameter of 203 millimetres, thickness of ware at rim is 708 millimetres, and in the body below the rim is 500 millimetres.
Ten broken pieces of slag were found. Analysis done. All these features are now below the water-line of Fernworthy Reservoir.

Worth, R. H., 1940, The Dartmoor Blowing House, 213 (Article in Serial). SDV154693.

Secondary usage by tinners noted - for stores, shelters or possibly dwellings.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North, 155-6, Fig. 35.1 (Monograph). SDV219155.

Hut circle 4 on Butler's map, measuring 7.5 meters in diameter. This hut was reused as a tin store and workshop in the early 16th century. A layer of tin slag mixed with charcoal and pottery was found above the Bronze Age floor level.

English Heritage, 2005-2008, Prehistoric Survey Information (Cartographic). SDV345521.

A group of three Bronze Age hut circles and cairn with Tudor secondary occupation. The huts have large upright slabs of up to 1.1 metres high. Their diameters range from 6.7 to 9.8 metres.

Newman, P., 2013, The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon. Supplement. The Lakeside Area and Lowton Farmsteads, 9-10, Figs. 5, 8, 10, 18 (Report - Survey). SDV356884.

This hut, now submerged beneath the reservoir, was excavated by worth in 1936. Worth commented that the walls were of 'usual type' but it had been previously observed that one side of the walls were laid in courses. About 75 percent of the walls survive in situ (the hut is exposed when reservoir levels are low) comprising end to end edge set slabls and some irregular boulders forming a circle about 7.3 metres diameter and remaining to just under 1.0 metres high. There is a probable entrance in the south-east quadrant. The large amount of fallen stone surrounding the circle is probably the remains of the coursed walls described by earlier writers.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV154693Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1940. The Dartmoor Blowing House. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 72. 213.
SDV219155Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Two. Paperback Volume. 155-6, Fig. 35.1.
SDV256641Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1937. Thirteenth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. Unknown. 143-147, Figs, 1, 2, Pl. 22-25.
SDV345521Cartographic: English Heritage. 2005-2008. Prehistoric Survey Information. English Heritage. Digital. [Mapped feature: #98226 ]
SDV356884Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2013. The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon. Supplement. The Lakeside Area and Lowton Farmsteads. South-West Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound. 9-10, Figs. 5, 8, 10, 18.

Associated Monuments

MDV107529Part of: Metherall Hut Settlement, Chagford (Monument)
MDV6624Related to: Hut circle 450 metres north-west of Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)
MDV6655Related to: Hut Circle or Ring cairn 420 metres west-north-west of Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5589 - FLINT (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC)
  • FDV5587 - SHERD (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC)
  • FDV5588 - SHERD (XVI - 1501 AD to 1600 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV6533 - Archaeological Survey of South-West Lakeside Trust Land around Fernworthy Reservoir
  • EDV8514 - Excavation at Metherall huts, Chagford

Date Last Edited:Feb 5 2021 10:51AM