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HER Number:MDV74147
Name:Burgh Island


Burgh Island was probably an early trading place between the tin producing areas of Devon and the Mediteranean.


Grid Reference:SX 646 439
Map Sheet:SX64SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBigbury
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishBIGBURY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SETTLEMENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD (Between))

Full description

Griffith, F. M. + Wilkes, E. M., 2006, The Land Named from the Sea? Coastal Archaeology and Place-names of Bigbury Bay, Devon, 78-9 (Article in Serial). SDV339814.

Burgh Island in Bigbury parish was first recorded in 1411. The name of the island was often written as 'Borough' in the 18th and 19th centuries perhaps indicative of a 'beorg' origin. The name may be derived from 'bic-beorg' the 'beak-shaped hill' which later became Bigbury and gave its name to the whole parish. The island is beak-like when seen from the sea and may have been named by mariners in the first millenium AD. The island was a focal point in antiquity and may be one of the candidates for the 'Ictis' described as an island off the coast of Britain, separated by a causeway that dried at low water, where tin was traded. P Herring suggests that, rather than being an individual place-name 'Ictis', could be seen as a readily identifiable offshore island in southwest Britain at the end of a route from the inland tin production sites. Several landing sites exist on Burgh Island in addition to the causeway beaches and Challaborough beach to the northwest.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV339814Article in Serial: Griffith, F. M. + Wilkes, E. M.. 2006. The Land Named from the Sea? Coastal Archaeology and Place-names of Bigbury Bay, Devon. Archaeological Journal. 163. A5 Paperback. 78-9.

Associated Monuments

MDV4842Related to: Bolt Tail Camp, Marlborough (Monument)
MDV15709Related to: Entrenchments on Burgh Island (Monument)
MDV20159Related to: FINDSPOT in the Parish of Bigbury (Find Spot)
MDV71757Related to: Hut Circles on Burgh Island (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Apr 18 2018 11:08AM