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HER Number:MDV7423
Name:Deserted Medieval farmstead north-east of Hound Tor


Hound Tor II lies 350 metres north of the more famous site and remains consist of three rectangular Medieval buildings within a possible prehistoric enclosure. Excavation in the mid 20th century suggested that stone houses on the site dated to the 12th or 13th centuries and that these may have been preceded by turf-walled houses of perhaps the 11th century. The whole farmstead overlies what are probably Bronze Age hut circles. Farm still occupied after the Houndtor village abandoned; may have continued to be occupied into the early 15th century.


Grid Reference:SX 745 790
Map Sheet:SX77NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishManaton
Ecclesiastical ParishMANATON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX77NW63
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 445183
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX77NW/10
  • Old SAM County Ref: 901
  • Old SAM Ref: 28786

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ENCLOSURE? (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)
  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Constructed, XI to XIII - 1066 AD? (Between) to 1300 AD (Between))
  • FARMSTEAD (Constructed, Early Medieval to XV - 1066 AD? (Between) to 1450 AD (Between))

Full description

National Monuments Record, 14/04/1977, SX7479, SX7479/1 (Aerial Photograph). SDV308631.

Royal Air Force, 1961, 58/4424, 58/4424/F42.0108 (Aerial Photograph). SDV280247.

Minter, E. M., 1962-1963, Interim Reports and Plan, 339 (Article in Serial). SDV307242.

Minter, E. M., 1965, Interim Report, 211-212 (Article in Serial). SDV307266.

Linehan, C. D., 1966, Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, 119, Table 2, Fig. 50 (Article in Serial). SDV307246.

Houndtor II. Six buildings with enclosures.

Cambridge University, 1971, CUC/BFF, BFF 51 (Aerial Photograph). SDV308638.

Minter, E. M., 1972-1973, Eleven Years of Archaeological Work on Dartmoor, 117-118 (Article in Serial). SDV307263.

SX 745791. Houndtor II comprises a small group of Medieval farm buildings situated in a prehistoric enclosure to the north of Houndtor village (SX 77 NW 30). Two rectangular buildings separated by an enclosed yard represent the final period of occupation, to which also belonged a small corn-drying barn and a hut-circle converted into a pen by the insertion of a partition wall. The remains of three more stone houses belonged to an earlier period. Excavation by Mrs E M Minter revealed that the stone structures had been preceded by turf-walled houses. These turf houses perhaps began in the early 11th century, and pottery associated with the stone house suggests that it belonged to the late 12th or 13th century (See also Houndtor I SX 77 NW 30).

National Monuments Record, 1977, SX7478, SX7478/5 (Aerial Photograph). SDV345710.

Beresford, G., 1979, Three Deserted Medieval Settlements on Dartmoor: a Report on the Late E. Marie Minter's Excavations, 98-158 (Article in Serial). SDV307264.

Excavated by E. M. Minter. House and two barns built within a subcircular late Bronze Age pound. The stone 13th century longhouse was divided into three rooms. A rectangular barn had been built parallel to the longhouse and was linked to it by an enclosed yard. The barn had been built into the remnants of one or two prehistoric hut circles. A corn-drying barn was located near the second hut circle. A sequence of superimposed turf-walled houses preceded the longhouse. Stake holes were associated with the 13th century byre.

Austin, D., 1985, Dartmoor and the Upland Village of the South West, 71-79 (Article in Monograph). SDV217979.

Austin casts doubt on the interpretation of turf buildings and stakeholes and discusses similar south-western sites.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East, 51-3, Map 8.2 (Monograph). SDV299725.

Most of the coarse pottery found from the longhouse was of the 14th century, a type not found within the village. The lack of associated wares dated before about 1350 suggests the farmstead continued to be occupied during the latter half of the century, by which time the village nearby had probably been abandoned.

Allan, J., 1994, Medieval pottery and the dating of deserted settlements on Dartmoor, 145 (Article in Serial). SDV361531.

Allan's review of the excavated pottery from deserted medieval sites on Dartmoor suggests the origins of this farm could have been in the early 13th century and that it was still occupied in the late 14th or possibly early 15th centuries.

Newman, P. + Probert, S. + Riley, H., 1994/1995, Houndtor Down, Manaton, Devon - A New Survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England., P. Newman (Report - Survey). SDV344628.

(06/02/1995) Houndtor farmstead, centred SX 745 791, is located 350m north of Houndtor settlement (MDV7414). The site lies on a level shelf midway down the eastern slope of the Hound Tor massif, 250m from the tor itself. The farmstead consists of three rectangular buildings, with associated enclosures. This overlies a small prehistoric settlement containing two hut circles and some vestigial enclosure walls. Two of the rectangular buildings were excavated by Minter in the 1960s and spoil dumps from this activity have obscured parts of the enclosure walls. Beresford (1979, figs 3 and 4) was able to assign elements of the site to the prehistoric or medieval period. However, the disturbances caused by the excavations has left the current remains difficult to interpret.
The prehistoric enclosure depicted on Beresford's plan (1979, fig 4) is incomplete over much of its circuit and is, in places, obscured beneath excavation spoil. The small ovoid north-eastern section of the enclosure on Beresford's plan is now marked by a crescentic earth bank and a short, curved length of wall, forming a circular level platform. The remaining sections of outer enclosure and interconnecting internal walls are built on a similar alignment to the longhouse (house 1) and are likely to be of the same constructional phase or later. A linear bank which runs towards the site from the north has been truncated by the curved enclosure and terminates just beyond it, though a vestige is visible within the enclosed area. This undoubtedly predates all elements of the farmstead and is likely to have a prehistoric origin (see NRHE archive report for further details).

GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Two of the three rectangular buildings clearly visible on the aerial photography.

Newman, P., 2017, An Archaeological Survey of an area affected by burning on Hound Tor Down, Manaton, Devon, 3-4, Fig 2 (Report - Survey). SDV361522.

Hound Tor Farmstead SX 74502 79100
Hound Tor farmstead consists of two prehistoric hut circles, which were later adapted or incorporated into medieval buildings. Medieval components include the walls of three rectangular buildings, with a courtyard and small enclosure. The settlement sits at the foot of an east-facing natural scarp. Two of the medieval buildings were archaeologically excavated in the late 1960s but were never backfilled, leaving structural remains exposed and clear to view.
In the excavation report by Beresford (1975), it was confidently asserted that the settlement had been built within a sub-circular prehistoric enclosure, associated with the two hut circles, although the walls were not sampled and no dating evidence was retrieved from them. The 2017 survey plan (and indeed the RCHME plan of 1995 when vegetation was cut back) show that some of the rather disturbed enclosure walls are not clearly dateable on appearance alone. Also, parts of the walls were obscured when excavation spoil was dumped onto them in the 1960s. The precise form of any prehistoric enclosure which may have existed here is therefore open to question.
See related records for hut circle and medieval building details.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording forms, HT3 (Worksheet). SDV362781.

Visited 14/07/2019 Entire area totally inundated with bracken at a height of 1.5m which was too dense to even wade through. Impossible to conduct a meaningful survey of this site. A photo taken to show the extent of the bracken inundation

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording photographs, HT3 (Photograph). SDV363073.

Visited 14/07/2019 Photo showing extent of bracken inundation

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Unknown, SX77NW/63 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV308633.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV217979Article in Monograph: Austin, D.. 1985. Dartmoor and the Upland Village of the South West. Medieval Villages. 5. Unknown. 71-79.
SDV280247Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1961. 58/4424. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 58/4424/F42.0108.
SDV299725Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East. One. Paperback Volume. 51-3, Map 8.2.
SDV307242Article in Serial: Minter, E. M.. 1962-1963. Interim Reports and Plan. Medieval Archaeology. 6-7. 339.
SDV307246Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1966. Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Digital. 119, Table 2, Fig. 50.
SDV307263Article in Serial: Minter, E. M.. 1972-1973. Eleven Years of Archaeological Work on Dartmoor. Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society. 16. Unknown. 117-118.
SDV307264Article in Serial: Beresford, G.. 1979. Three Deserted Medieval Settlements on Dartmoor: a Report on the Late E. Marie Minter's Excavations. Medieval Archaeology. 23. Unknown. 98-158.
SDV307266Article in Serial: Minter, E. M.. 1965. Interim Report. Medieval Archaeology. 9. Unknown. 211-212.
SDV308631Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 14/04/1977. SX7479. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Unknown. SX7479/1.
SDV308633Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Unknown. SX77NW/63. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV308638Aerial Photograph: Cambridge University. 1971. CUC/BFF. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Photograph (Paper). BFF 51.
SDV344628Report - Survey: Newman, P. + Probert, S. + Riley, H.. 1994/1995. Houndtor Down, Manaton, Devon - A New Survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. A4 Spiral Bound. P. Newman.
SDV345710Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1977. SX7478. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). SX7478/5.
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV361522Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2017. An Archaeological Survey of an area affected by burning on Hound Tor Down, Manaton, Devon. Southwest Landscape Investigations. Digital. 3-4, Fig 2. [Mapped feature: #101499 ]
SDV361531Article in Serial: Allan, J.. 1994. Medieval pottery and the dating of deserted settlements on Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 52. Paperback Volume. 145.
SDV362781Worksheet: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording forms. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. HT3.
SDV363073Photograph: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording photographs. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. HT3.

Associated Monuments

MDV122313Parent of: Building at Hound Tor deserted farmstead (Building)
MDV122306Parent of: Longhouse in Houndtor 2 farmstead, Manaton (Monument)
MDV122297Related to: Barn in Houndtor 2 settlement, Manaton (Monument)
MDV7414Related to: Deserted Medieval Settlement at Hound Tor (Monument)
MDV58421Related to: Enclosure with hut on north side of Hound Tor Down (Monument)
MDV58422Related to: Hut circle within Houndtor 2 deserted medieval farmstead (Monument)
MDV58423Related to: Hut south-west of the Houndtor 2 farmstead (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV6813 - POT (XIII to XIV - 1300 AD to 1399 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV7556 - Survey on Hound Tor Down
  • EDV7557 - Excavation of Houndtor II farmstead

Date Last Edited:Jun 28 2022 10:10AM