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HER Number:MDV7022
Name:Burgage plots, South Zeal

Summary

In 1299 a market and two fairs at Zele Tony were granted to the Lord of South Tawton. South Zeal was created on the main Exeter to Okehampton road. The shape and size of the town were perfect for its purpose, the burgage plots beginning at the foot of the hill down which the main road comes and ending where the road begins to rise on the western side. The chapel is in the centre of what must once have been the market place. Fossilisation of the burgage plots is almost complete.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 650 935
Map Sheet:SX69SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSouth Tawton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSOUTH TAWTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Well preserved medieval burgage plots around South Zeal

Other References/Statuses

  • Dartmoor Non-designated Heritage Asset (Evidential): 21/03/2018
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX69SE/68

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BURGAGE PLOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Untitled Source (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV24.

Vis=31/1/1978 (os) the burgage plots in south zeal run north east to south west on both sides of the main street.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240653.

South zeal.

Beresford, M. W., Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV240654.

Vis=estimated -/-/1966 (beresford, m. ) in 1299 a market and two fairs at zele tony were granted to the lord of south tawton. South zeal was created on the main exeter to okehampton road. The shape and size of the town were perfect for its purpose, the burgage plots beginning at the foot of the hill down which the main road comes and ending where the road begins to rise on the western side. The chapel is in the centre of what must once have been the market place. Fossilisation of the burgage plots is almost complete.

RCHM APP 1985, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240656.

Visible and recorded (rchm app 1985).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240658.

Beresford, m. /new towns of the middle ages/(1967)426.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240659.

Osa=sx69se31.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV240660.

Aph=raf 3g tud uk 138/5343(11/4/1946).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240661.

South tawton parish council/south tawton,heritage trail/(1984)/in parish file.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240662.

Griffith, f. /devon's past: an aerial view/(1988)83.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV240663.

Aph=dap/gi 12,14(9/9/1986).

South Tawton Parish Council, 1984, South Tawton Heritage Trail (Pamphlet). SDV240657.

The domesday book shows that south zeal had 30 "bordarili" (burghers) each having a strip of land at the back of his residence of about 1/4 acre by modern, measurement. Each paid a rent of shilling an acre which is in close agreement with a much later rent roll which shows a total of 31s received. These 'borough acres' are of considerable interest and can be clearly seen from ramsley hill.(south tawton parish council).

Bray, L., 2018, South Zeal burgage plots (Un-published). SDV363908.

(21/03/2018) The 13th century was a period of agricultural prosperity and population growth. In order to take advantage of such a beneficial economic climate, many local lords established planned settlements within their holdings, granting the inhabitants rights in return for the payment of taxes. South Zeal is one such settlement, a surviving charter indicating its foundation in 1264 in a location intended to take advantage of a location astride the main route to the south-west. The new settlement was granted a market in 1299 but further prosperity eluded it and it remained essentially an agricultural community albeit with inhabitants who were somewhat more prosperous than the average farmer.
This lack of change and concomitant growth over centuries has resulted in the survival of much of its original plan. This takes the form of a system of burgage plots, long strips of land at right angles to the main street which were granted to its inhabitants when the settlement was first established.
South Zeal presents a classic example of a medieval planned settlement layout and thus has illustrative historical significance which is on a regional scale. Also, given its medieval origins, it also possesses evidential value and fortuitous aesthetic value. In combination, these factors indicate that the South Zeal burgage plots should be considered an undesignated heritage asset.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV24Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. OSA. Card Index.
SDV240653Migrated Record:
SDV240654Report - Survey: Beresford, M. W..
SDV240656Migrated Record: RCHM APP 1985.
SDV240657Pamphlet: South Tawton Parish Council. 1984. South Tawton Heritage Trail. Unknown.
SDV240658Migrated Record:
SDV240659Migrated Record:
SDV240660Aerial Photograph:
SDV240661Migrated Record:
SDV240662Migrated Record:
SDV240663Aerial Photograph:

Associated Monuments

MDV33061Related to: Beacon Lodge (the former Cawsand Beacon Inn), South Zeal (Building)
MDV129139Related to: Cawsand View Cottages, South Zeal (Building)
MDV129142Related to: Cosden Cottage and Curzons House, South Zeal (Building)
MDV129154Related to: Former London Inn, South Zeal (Building)
MDV129140Related to: Former Methodist Chapel, South Zeal (Building)
MDV129153Related to: Houses in South Zeal (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7291 - Archaeological Monitoring and Recording at Little Hound (formerly Devonia), South Zeal
  • EDV8540 - Watching brief at South Tawton Primary School, Tawton Lane

Date Last Edited:Feb 8 2021 10:13AM