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HER Number:MDV77444
Name:Moortown farmstead, Gidleigh


Moortown farm, Gidleigh dates to at least the early 14th century, based on documentary evidence. Depicted on the 1840 Tithe Map. Farmstead surveyed by Dartmoor National Park Authority in 1992. Farmstead has expanded vastly in modern times, but the central buildings of the 19th century layout still exist.


Grid Reference:SX 664 891
Map Sheet:SX68NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishGidleigh
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishUNKNOWN

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMSTEAD (XIV to XVI - 1327 AD to 1550 AD (Between))

Full description

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

'Moortown' farm depicted on the Tithe Map; 59 on the Gidleigh apportionment. The farmhouse lies at the south-eastern side of the yard, with narrow rectangular buildings to the west and north-west. A larger range of buildings with an integrated horse-engine house and narrow projecting wing lie on the north-western side of the farm.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

The late 19th century historic map shows the layout of the farm is mostly the same as the Tithe Map depiction, although the narrow wing extending from the range with horse-engine house is now gone.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

Early 20th century historic map shows an additional small building has been added on the southern side of the farm.

Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M., 1932, The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two, 439 (Monograph). SDV337894.

Moortown was probably the home of John atte More, mentioned in the early-mid 14th century subsidy rolls. Moretown is also mentioned in 1536.

Dartmoor National Park Authority, 1993 - 1997, Dartmoor National Park Authority Farmstead Survey 1993-1997 (Report - Survey). SDV344544.

Farmstead included in survey. Visited on 01/03/1992.

Grumley-Grennan, T. + Hardy, M., 2000, Gidleigh. A Dartmoor Village Past and Present, 117-122 (Monograph). SDV359347.

The name Moortown derives from the original owner John atte More, who lived here with his wife Matilda and daughter Cecelia in 1327. It is mentioned in documentary sources in 1537 as 'Moretun' (tun or dun meaning hill or mound). Farmhouse is 16th century with late 17th century improvements. 50 yards from the farmhouse is an 18th century butter well made from large slabs of roughly shaped granite. It is a box-like structure with a flat roof made from single pieces.
From 1640, Moortown was owned by Alexander Vogwell, a large landowner in the area, who appears to have owned most of Gidleigh parish. Further ownership information provided into modern times.
The farm has been in the same family since 1913 and over the years the acreage farmed has been greatly increased; the farm is now a 300 acre property, running cattle, sheep and Dartmoor ponies.
Until the early 1950s there was no electricity or mains water on the farm and the first tractor was purchased in 1952. Before that, work on the farm was done by the family's two shire horses; Prince and Flower.
Part of the route used by sailors travelling between the ports of Bideford and Dartmouth known locally as the 'Mariners Way' crosses Moortown land on its way south to Glassy Steps below Gidleigh Tor and then to Frenchbeer, Yardworthy and Jurston. This was not a track existing in its own right but simply a route which used roads and lanes where possible and elsewhere crossed fields.

Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

The modern map shows the farm to have expanded greatly, to the south, north-west and north, where vast modern buildings dominate the farm. The original buildings shown on the Tithe Map mostly still exist in some form. Polygon highlights the older section of the farm.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337894Monograph: Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M.. 1932. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. IX. A5 Hardback. 439.
SDV344544Report - Survey: Dartmoor National Park Authority. 1993 - 1997. Dartmoor National Park Authority Farmstead Survey 1993-1997. Dartmoor National Park Authority. Mixed Archive Material.
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital.
SDV359347Monograph: Grumley-Grennan, T. + Hardy, M.. 2000. Gidleigh. A Dartmoor Village Past and Present. Gidleigh. A Dartmoor Village Past and Present. Hardback Volume. 117-122.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #104405 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV33303Parent of: Farmhouse at Moortown, Gidleigh (Building)
MDV114039Parent of: Moortown Cottage, Gidleigh (Building)
MDV18050Related to: Chapel of la Wallen 260 meters south-west of Chapple Farm (Building)
MDV128810Related to: Circular feature near Moortown, Gidleigh (Monument)
MDV33304Related to: Granite butter well at Moortown Farm, Gidleigh (Monument)
MDV80498Related to: Moortown Leat, Gidleigh (Monument)
MDV77684Related to: Thule farmstead, Gidleigh (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jul 28 2020 11:24AM