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HER Number:MDV6656
Name:Hut circle 340 metres north-west of Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir

Summary

Submerged hut circle. One 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. Excavations in 1934 found evidence for reuse as a tinners' workshop in the earlier 16th century.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 669 841
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 443846
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68SE/83

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 (Between))

Full description

Ormerod, G. W., 1864, On the Hut Circles on the Eastern Side of Dartmoor, 303 (Article in Serial). SDV304174.

Ormerod notes existence of six hut-circles on right side of South Teign, opposite Thornworthy. Five were of typical construction, the sixth was built with horizontal layers of stone.


Worth, R. H., 1935, Dartmoor Exploration Committee, Twelfth Report, 115-130 (Article in Serial). SDV259660.

Hut 3 on plan. Excavated in 1934. Bronze Age finds comprised pottery, one flint core and 11 chips, a piece of grit used as a hammer, charcoal and pot-boilers. Above the prehistoric floor were found a number of pieces of stream tin and broken tin slag together with a possible anvil stone, charcoal and several sherds of brown earthenware. Also found was a worn and broken silver coin. These finds very much suggest secondary use as a tinner' workshop. The coin was identified as a York penny of Henry VII, which would not have been minted later than 1540. Worth comments that there is a blowing house further down the valley and that slag has been found near it. No evidence for smelting was found in Hut 3.


Worth, R. H., 1945, The Dartmoor Hut Circles, 230-234,251-256, Pl. 11, 12 (Article in Serial). SDV246120.


Silvester, R. J., 1979, The Relationship of First Millennium Settlement to the Upland Areas of the South West, 177, 179, Fig. 1 (Article in Serial). SDV177352.

Silvester describes sherds of round-bodied vessel with everted rim. It contrasts in some respects with Trevisker-style pottery from the moor. He tentatively suggests an iron age for this, although other pottery evidence suggests settlement originated in the Bronze Age.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Not visible on Royal Air Force 1946 aerial photographs.


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

This hut circle (3 on Butler’s plan), measured 9.0 metres in diameter and was constructed of massive stones with an entrance to the south-east. From the original floor level of this hut came a hammer stone, flint, pot-boilers and charcoal. Above this was a layer containing both tin ore and slag mixed with charcoal, some pieces of 16th century pottery and a very worn Henry VII penny. Worth considered the hut to have been re-used as a tin store and workshop in the early 16th century, as was another hut (MDV6654).


Gerrard, S., 1993-2002, Monument Protection Programme Alternative Action Report (Report - non-specific). SDV145710.

Considered under the Monument Protection Programme but not recommended for scheduling.


Quinnell, H., 1998, Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey, DBID 1767 (Report - Survey). SDV336212.

Circa 20 sherds of pot, date uncertain later prehistoric, recovered during rescue excavation. Now in Torquay Museum.


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


Malham, A., 2009, The classification and interpretation of tin smelting remains from southwest England, 427-31 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV360641.


Newman , P., 2013, The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon. Supplement. The Lakeside Area and Lowton Farmsteads, 13, Fig. 5, 14, 15 (Report - Survey). SDV356884.

The lowest lying of the submerged hut circles and the last to be revealed in dry weather. Although much of the walling was exposed in 2013 it was not possibly to do a complete survey. The hut was one of those excavated by Worth in 1934 in advance of construction of the reservoir. In addition to prehistoric artefacts an assemblage of medieval pottery, tin stones, tin slag and charcoal from a more recent straatum of the hut floor indicated that the hut had been used for some purpose associated with tin working in the medieval or post-medieval period. A worn coin of Henry VII gives a probable date for this activity of around 1540.
The hut was built with a ring of end to end granite slabs some of which survive in situ. Unusually, for Dartmoor, although the hut was built on a slope it was not terraced into the hillside to provide it with a level floor.


Quinnell, H., 2017, Dartmoor and Prehistoric to Early Medieval Tinworking, 21 (Article in Monograph). SDV360639.

The reconsideration of tin slag from a hut circle at Metherel, redeposited during the late Medieval period indicates that this was of pre-medieval date and could relate to prehistoric activity (citing Malham, 2009).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV145710Report - non-specific: Gerrard, S.. 1993-2002. Monument Protection Programme Alternative Action Report. English Heritage. Unknown.
SDV177352Article in Serial: Silvester, R. J.. 1979. The Relationship of First Millennium Settlement to the Upland Areas of the South West. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 37. Paperback Volume. 177, 179, Fig. 1.
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.
SDV246120Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1945. The Dartmoor Hut Circles. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 77. A5 Hardback. 230-234,251-256, Pl. 11, 12.
SDV259660Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1935. Dartmoor Exploration Committee, Twelfth Report. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 67. Photocopy. 115-130.
SDV304174Article in Serial: Ormerod, G. W.. 1864. On the Hut Circles on the Eastern Side of Dartmoor. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 20. Unknown. 303.
SDV319854Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV336212Report - Survey: Quinnell, H.. 1998. Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey. Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey. A4 Spiral Bound. DBID 1767.
SDV345521Report - Survey: English Heritage. 2005-2008. Prehistoric Survey Information. English Heritage. Digital. [Mapped feature: #98228 ]
SDV356884Report - Survey: Newman , P.. 2013. The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon. Supplement. The Lakeside Area and Lowton Farmsteads. Newman, P.. A4 Comb Bound. 13, Fig. 5, 14, 15.
SDV360639Article in Monograph: Quinnell, H.. 2017. Dartmoor and Prehistoric to Early Medieval Tinworking. The Tinworking Landscape of Dartmoor in a European Context. Paperback Volume. 21.
SDV360641Post-Graduate Thesis: Malham, A.. 2009. The classification and interpretation of tin smelting remains from southwest England. University of Bradford. Unknown. 427-31.

Associated Monuments

MDV107529Part of: Metherall Hut Settlement, Chagford (Monument)
MDV20861Related to: Tin Mill at Metherall (Monument)
MDV30790Related to: Worked flint from Fernworthy Reservoir (Find Spot)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5595 - ANVIL (Unknown date)
  • FDV5590 - SHERD (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC)
  • FDV5594 - SLAG (Middle Bronze Age to Saxon - 1500 BC? to 1065 AD)
  • FDV5592 - COIN (XV to XVI - 1457 AD to 1509 AD)
  • FDV5591 - SHERD (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1750 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV6533 - Archaeological Survey of South-West Lakeside Trust Land around Fernworthy Reservoir

Date Last Edited:Dec 18 2017 2:44PM