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HER Number:MDV7470
Name:Hutholes Medieval Settlement, Widecombe in the Moor


Hutholes deserted medieval settlement also known as South Rowden. The village contains the remains of six buildings and three crofts. Excavation in the 1960s dated one of the longhouses to the 12th-13th century, and remains of earlier turf structures were discovered. The settlement was abandoned some time in the 14th century. A survey in 2000 showed a late/post medieval reuse of the site.


Grid Reference:SX 702 758
Map Sheet:SX77NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishWidecombe in the Moor
Ecclesiastical ParishWIDECOMBE IN THE MOOR

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Hutholes deserted medieval settlement to south of Rowden Cross

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 445182
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX77NW/43
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX77NW62

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (VII to XIV - 700 AD to 1400 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, Untitled Source (Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry). SDV344104.

The site was extensively excavated by Mrs Minter, then left open with walls etc still visible but it has been only irregularly maintained and is now becoming overgrown with brambles, gorse and bracken.

Unknown, 1843, Widecombe in the Moor (Cartographic). SDV290272.

Enclosure Number 1309 on the 19th century Tithe Map is recorded as 'Waste' on the Apportionement.

Royal Air Force, 1946, CPE/UK 1890, 1313 (Aerial Photograph). SDV140289.

Other details: HER Number 48/37.

Royal Air Force, 1961, 58/4424, F42.0186 (Aerial Photograph). SDV280247.

French, H. + Linehan, C. D., 1963, Abandoned Medieval Sites in Widecombe in the Moor, 171-2 (Article in Serial). SDV345196.

Linehan, C. D., 1965, Deserted Sites on Dartmoor, Devon, 171-8 (Article in Serial). SDV217992.

Deserted Medieval settlement of South Rowden or Hutholes. This small deserted hamlet lies in about an acre of waste ground known as Old Walls. The village contains six buildings and three crofts. The buildings vary in length from 7-13 metres and in width from 3-4 metres. Remnants of the narrow entrance lane can be seen leading from the Grimspound to Widecombe road and passing through the site. A study of the surrounding hedges points to the probability that the village had been encroached upon by the cultivated fields. In several places the hedges appear to be reconstructions, so that the village may have been somewhat larger. This may have been a villein's settlement near the Manor of Dewdon.
The interim excavation report by A Minter described a stone walled longhouse dated to the late 12th-13th century. Remains of earlier buildings were found on the site - at least four successive turf houses were identified. The walls of the longhouse were of undressed granite. The house was divided into three parts - central living room with hearth, smaller room to the north and at the lower south end, the byre separated from the living quarters by a cross passage between opposed entrances. Two phases of occupation were apparent. Late 12th-13th century pottery found.

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

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

Site Number 98. Other details: Table 2 Figure 50.

Minter, E. M., 1966, Interim Report and Plan, 210 (Article in Serial). SDV307267.

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

Other details: Plan, Plate.

Hall, J. + Hamlin, A., 1976, Deserted Medieval Settlements in Devon, 6 (Article in Serial). SDV38836.

Small rough enclosure approached by a sunken road.

Beeson, M. M. R. + Masterman, M. C. H., 1979, An Archaeological Survey of Enclosed Land in Widecombe-In-The-Moor Parish, 659 (Report - Survey). SDV337078.

This is the site of South Rowden or Hot Holes. It is now a piece of waste ground. The site is now overgrown with brambles, gorse and bracken. Other details: Volume iii.

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.

A report on Mrs Minter's excavations has been written by Guy Beresford. A long sequence of turf buildings underlay all but two houses. Within this sequence, three structural phases were observed. The stone buildings of the last period were: a "Manor House" (a longhouse of three rooms, superimposed on the remains of an earlier hall house of turf and stone); a nearby barn, another three-roomed longhouse; a corn-drying barn and two other buildings. Some of the barns may have originated as houses, their change of use reflecting climatic change and gradual desertion of the site, which was complete by the mid 14th century.

Austin, D., 1985, Dartmoor and the Upland Village of the South West, 71-9 (Article in Monograph). SDV217979.

Austin reconsiders Beresford's report. He casts doubt on the interpretation of turf walls and stakeholes. He discusses the site in the context of similar south western ones, and suggests that it may be a single farmstead.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, SX77NW (Cartographic). SDV345445.

Two buildings and some walls are visible and recorded on a 1946 aerial photograph.

Griffith, F. M., 1990, DAP/PT, 10-15 (Aerial Photograph). SDV346173.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East, 141-2 (Monograph). SDV299725.

Hutholes Medieval settlement at Dockwell is under the care of Dartmoor National Park. The settlement was found to be founded some time in the late Saxon period and abandoned about the middle of the 14th century when a general climatic deterioration made agriculture impossible on the higher slopes. The first stone houses were erected in the 13th century, four of the six buildings over a series of earlier turf-walled longhouses built on the same site. This may have been the original Dewdon or Jordan manor house. The manor is mentioned in the Domesday Book as held by Alric in 1066 who had been obliged to relinquish it in favour of Wliiam de la Falaise by 1086.
Building 1: 10.5 metres long by 3.7 metres wide has a well preserved cooking pit alongside the hearth in the living room whilst cattle were kept in the lower part of the building as lines of stake holes indicate the position of mangers and cow ties. A step led up from the living room into an inner chamber where an unbroken pane of green glass was found.
Building 2: 6.5 metres long by 3.1 metres wide with a pentice along one side had been used as a barn during the last period of occupation but had probably been constructed as a dwelling house.
Building 3: 14.2 metres long by 4.3 metres wide is much narrower than its turf walled predecessor and probably was no longer the Dewdon manor house by this time. It was converted into stone in the early 13th century. An inner room is separated off at the west end but no stone-walled division was constructed between living room and cattle byre.
Building 4: 10.5 metres long by 4.6 metres wide was wider than usual in proportion to its length. It was a two roomed structure entered through one of the long sides, the other now acting as the foundation for the present field wall.
Building 5: 7.7 metres long by 3.1 metres wide with no hearth or cooking pit suggesting it was a barn or perhaps an annexe to the larger Building 3.
Building 6: 9.2 metres long by 3.7 metres wide was originally a two roomed house which was later converted into a corn-drying barn. The kiln entrance, the left one of a pair, and oven can be seen below the platform across the uphill end of the building.
A collection of pestles, rubbing stones and whetstones were recovered from the site but very little pottery dating before the 13th century. Other details: Map 19, Site 5.

Griffith, F. M., 1994, DAP/XK, 9-13 (Aerial Photograph). SDV307288.

Newman, P. + Probert, S., 1994, Hutholes (Report - Survey). SDV351996.

Survey of Hutholes deserted medieval settlement. The settlement comprises six ruined structures within a gently sloping, south-facing field. The remains of the buildings, which were excavated between 1964 and 1965, comprise low turf-covered stone walls of undressed granite, including some large boulders. The walls stand to a maximum height of 0.8 metres and are between 0.5 and 1.5 metres thick. There are traces of several toft boundaries, including a low wall connecting House 3 to the eastern enclosure wall and a low linear mund connecting houses 2 and 4. The site was not backfilled after the excavations and several spoil heaps remain. The far northern sectin of the enclosure was not surveyed due to the dense vegetation but is known to contain the concrete foundations of a modern barn. The vegetation on the rest of the site was cut prior to the survey and contains a mixture of grasses and wild flowers managed under a Dartmoor National Park management agreement.

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

Circa 5 sherds of Middle/Late Iron Age pot were recovered during excavation. Current location with Exeter Archaeology. Final location to be in Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. Other details: Dbid 2209.

Passmore, A., 1999, An Evaluation Excavation of Building 6, Hotholes Deserted Medieval Settlement, Widecombe, 1 (Report - Evaluation). SDV346171.

Hutholes is located in the Manor of Rowdon between Rowden Down and Wind Tor. A survey was undertaken in 2000 to identify any phasing in wall construction of Building 6. It was found that the southern end of the north wall contained Medieval fabric but most of the walling and wall bank are boundaries of Late Medieval or Post-Medieval date constructed on top of the Medieval building.

Passmore, A., 2000, Archaeological Recording at Hutholes Deserted Medieval Settlement, Widecombe (Report - Watching Brief). SDV346172.

Gerrard, S., 2004, List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor (Un-published). SDV345444.

Hutholes Medieval settlement was considered for designation as a scheduled Ancient Monument in 2004. Other details: Site 59.

Gent, T., 2007, The Re-Excavation of a Deserted Medieval Longhouse at Hutholes, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Dartmoor (Article in Serial). SDV361983.

National Monuments Record, 2011, 445182 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346174.

A deserted Medieval village, probably the site of the early manor of Dewdon. Visible features include a long house and manor house. Other details: SX77NW62.

White, P., 2013, Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads (Un-published). SDV352501.

Included in list. No further information provided.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV140289Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. CPE/UK 1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1313.
SDV217979Article in Monograph: Austin, D.. 1985. Dartmoor and the Upland Village of the South West. Medieval Villages. 5. Unknown. 71-9.
SDV217992Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1965. Deserted Sites on Dartmoor, Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 97. A5 Hardback. 171-8.
SDV280247Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1961. 58/4424. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). F42.0186.
SDV290272Cartographic: Unknown. 1843. Widecombe in the Moor. Tithe Map and Apportionment. Map (Paper).
SDV299725Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume One - The East. One. Paperback Volume. 141-2. [Mapped feature: #101923 ]
SDV307246Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1966. Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Digital.
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.
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. 212.
SDV307267Article in Serial: Minter, E. M.. 1966. Interim Report and Plan. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Unknown. 210.
SDV307288Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1994. DAP/XK. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 9-13.
SDV336212Report - Survey: Quinnell, H.. 1998. Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey. Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV337078Report - Survey: Beeson, M. M. R. + Masterman, M. C. H.. 1979. An Archaeological Survey of Enclosed Land in Widecombe-In-The-Moor Parish. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. Vols I - V. A4 Comb Bound. 659.
SDV344104Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry: Unknown.
SDV345196Article in Serial: French, H. + Linehan, C. D.. 1963. Abandoned Medieval Sites in Widecombe in the Moor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 95. A5 Hardback. 171-2.
SDV345444Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
SDV345445Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. SX77NW. Air Photographs Unit. Map (Paper).
SDV346171Report - Evaluation: Passmore, A.. 1999. An Evaluation Excavation of Building 6, Hotholes Deserted Medieval Settlement, Widecombe. Unknown. 1.
SDV346172Report - Watching Brief: Passmore, A.. 2000. Archaeological Recording at Hutholes Deserted Medieval Settlement, Widecombe. A4 Stapled.
SDV346173Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1990. DAP/PT. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 10-15.
SDV346174National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2011. 445182. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV351996Report - Survey: Newman, P. + Probert, S.. 1994. Hutholes. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field Investigation. A4 Stapled.
SDV352501Un-published: White, P.. 2013. Previously Unsurveyed Dartmoor Historic Farmsteads. Excel Spreadsheet.
SDV361983Article in Serial: Gent, T.. 2007. The Re-Excavation of a Deserted Medieval Longhouse at Hutholes, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 65. Paperback Volume + Digital.
SDV38836Article in Serial: Hall, J. + Hamlin, A.. 1976. Deserted Medieval Settlements in Devon. Devon Historian. 13. A5 Paperback. 6.

Associated Monuments

MDV104781Parent of: Building 1, Hutholes Deserted Medieval Settlement (Monument)
MDV104783Parent of: Building 2, Hutholes Deserted Medieval Settlement (Monument)
MDV104784Parent of: Building 3, Hutholes Deserted Medieval Settlement (Monument)
MDV104785Parent of: Building 4, Hutholes Deserted Medieval Settlement (Monument)
MDV104786Parent of: Building 5, Hutholes Deserted Medieval Settlement (Monument)
MDV104787Related to: Building 6, Hutholes Deserted Medieval Settlement (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV1752 - PESTLE (Early Medieval to XIV - 1066 AD to 1400 AD)
  • FDV1753 - Rubbing Stone (Early Medieval to XIV - 1066 AD to 1400 AD)
  • FDV1754 - WHETSTONE (Early Medieval to XIV - 1066 AD to 1400 AD)
  • FDV1751 - WINDOW GLASS (Early Medieval to XV - 1066 AD to 1500 AD)
  • FDV1755 - POT (XII to XV - 1200 AD to 1500 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV6219 - Survey of Hutholes Deserted Medieval Settlement
  • EDV7558 - Excavation of Hutholes Medieval settlement, South Rowden
  • EDV8586 - Re-excavation of House 3, Hutholes Medieval Settlement
  • EDV8587 - Evaluation of Building 6, Hutholes Medieval settlement

Date Last Edited:Apr 23 2021 10:17AM