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HER Number:MDV72287
Name:Earthwork Platform, east of Castle Dene, Hemyock

Summary

An earthwork platform of likely medieval date is visible on aerial photographs of 1971 and 1989, to the east of Castle Dene, Hemyock. Evaluation trenches across the earthwork showed it to comprise a mound of red clay overlain by a deep topsoil. The clay may represent a dump of excavated material from the castle moat or be a stockpile of raw material for the pottery or more likely the iron industry. The platform sealed a buried soil deposit from which medieval pottery and quantities of slag were recovered suggesting this to have been an important iron working site from the 12th-16th centuries.

Location

Grid Reference:ST 135 133
Map Sheet:ST11SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishHemyock
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishHEMYOCK

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • EARTHWORK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1971, RAF/39/3800, RAF/39/3800 V 055-56 06-OCT-1971 (Aerial Photograph). SDV359525.

The earthwork platform is visible.


Ordnance Survey, 1989, OS/89276, OS/89276 V 191-92 14-JUN-1989 (Aerial Photograph). SDV357047.

The earthwork platform is visible.


Southwest Archaeology, 2005, The Site to the East of 'Castle Dene' Culmstock Road Hemyock Devon. Results of Archaeological Evaluation Trenches (Report - Evaluation). SDV324791.

Two evaluation trenches were excavated in the western half of a small field to the east of 'Castle Dene', close to Hemyock Castle, prior to development, in which the principle feature of archaeological interest is the substantial earthwork forming a platform lying alongside Culmstock Road. The excavation showed that the bulk of this feature was composed of a clean red clay overlain by a deep topsoil. It sealed a buried soil deposit and was later cut by a linear feature, seen in Trench 1. The buried soil contained sherds of locally manufactured coarseware dated from the 11th-12th century, possibly as late as the 13th century and also a significant quantity of ferrous slag. Finds from the linear feature, running parallel to the roadside hedgebank, included sherds of 14th-15th century pottery and also fragments of ferrous slag. The fill of another linear feature, observed in Trench 2, contained a sherd of local 11th-13th century coarseware There were also quantities of slag in the top soil as well as a typically modern range of finds including sherds of 17th-20th century pottery.

The spread of medieval pottery, iron tap slag and charcoal suggest this to have been an important site of industrial use in the smelting and working of iron from the 12th-16th century. Further work may determine if this industry was associated solely with the building and provision of Hemyock Castle or part of the greater Blackdown Hills iron industry. It is suggested that the earthwork was embanked during the medieval period, not earlier than the 11th-12th century but not later than the 14th-15th century. The purpose of the mound of clay was not illuminated by the evaluation but may represent a deliberate dump perhaps from the excavation of the castle moat or it may have been a stockpile of raw material for use in the pottery or iron industries. The latter is perhaps more likely, given the evidence for iron working in the immediate vicinity and the clay may have been intended for constructuing furnaces and other structures. The two linear features were of small size and may have functioned as drainage ditches. Other details: Plans and photos.


Context One Archaeological Services, 2009, Land to the East of 'Castle Dene', Culmstock Road, Hemyock, Devon (Report - Excavation). SDV344454.


Context One Archaeological Services, 2009, Land to the East of 'Castle Dene', Culmstock Road, Hemyock, Devon, 5-6 (Report - Excavation). SDV344454.


Tabor, R., 2010, A Medieval Building and Metalworking Debris on Land to the East of 'Castle Dene', Hemyock, 204, 205, 206 (Article in Serial). SDV347799.

A dark humic deposit overlay much of the southern excavation from which 40 medieval pottery sherds recovered and 12,720g of iron slag. The humic layer was covered by a thick layer of clean red clay without finds. The humic layer may represent several episodes of moat clearance, the latest just prior to an enlargment of the moat which would have provided clay material for the bank. The clay deposit may represent, therefore, a phase of clearance and expansion when the castle was given greater prominence in and detachment from the surrounding settlement, leading to the concealment of earlier buildings.


Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2016-2018, The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV359463.

An earthwork platform of likely medieval date is visible on aerial photographs of 1971 and 1989, to the east of Castle Dene, Hemyock. The earthwork was evaluated in 2005 prior to development of the site. The earthwork is broadly rectilinear in shape, measures approximately 33m in length by 16m in width and flanks Culmstock Road along its southern edge. The far western extent of the earthwork has since been levelled following construction of Bailey Lodge.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV324791Report - Evaluation: Southwest Archaeology. 2005. The Site to the East of 'Castle Dene' Culmstock Road Hemyock Devon. Results of Archaeological Evaluation Trenches. Southwest Archaeology Report. 050702. A4 stapled + Digital.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV344454Report - Excavation: Context One Archaeological Services. 2009. Land to the East of 'Castle Dene', Culmstock Road, Hemyock, Devon. Context One Archaeological Services Report. COAS/EXC/07/CRH. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5-6.
SDV347799Article in Serial: Tabor, R.. 2010. A Medieval Building and Metalworking Debris on Land to the East of 'Castle Dene', Hemyock. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 68. A4 Stapled + Digital. 204, 205, 206.
SDV357047Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1989. OS/89276. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/89276 V 191-92 14-JUN-1989. [Mapped feature: #99858 ]
SDV359463Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2016-2018. The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. Historic England Research Report. Digital.
Linked documents:2
SDV359525Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1971. RAF/39/3800. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/39/3800 V 055-56 06-OCT-1971.

Associated Monuments

MDV1894Related to: Hemyock Castle (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV656 - SHERD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FDV657 - SLAG (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV4619 - Excavation and Watching Brief, Castle Dene, Hemyock
  • EDV7508 - The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme (NMP) project (Ref: ACD1228)

Date Last Edited:Mar 20 2018 12:58PM