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HER Number:MDV9336
Name:Hoard of Bronze palstaves, Plumley


Summary from record MDV30152:
Two bronze palstaves from the Plumley hoard are in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum; a third is with Exeter University. Found by workmen on estate of WM Harris in 1836.


Grid Reference:SX 801 802
Map Sheet:SX88SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishBovey Tracey
Ecclesiastical ParishBOVEY TRACEY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX88SW4
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 447309
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX88SW/5
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX88SW/5/1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FINDSPOT (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Untitled Source (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV24.

The descriptions in the Archaeological Journal pieces more or less duplicate one another. Way (1869) states that all the palstaves were discovered set on end. Four are described by Way: all palstaves, one with no side loop. For descriptions of the three surviving examples see subsheet.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV281441.

Tucker, c. /arch journal/9(5/3/1852)186/proceedings at the meeting of the archaeological institute.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV281442.

Tucker, c. /arch journal 24(1867)119/antiquities of bronze found in devonshire.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV281444.

Fox, a. /tda/88(1956)214-5 pl 26a/23rd report of the arch and early history of devon.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV281445.

Rowlands, m. J. /the production and distribution of metalwork in the middle bronze age in southern britain/(1976)230(bar 31)no 25.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV310652.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV310653.

Mus=exe/a 4214.

Croker, J. G., 1852, Unknown Title, Archaeological Journal, 186 (Article in Serial). SDV310646.

Four of the palstaves were placed in regular order under a block; four were scattered about.

Tucker, C., 1867, Unknown Title, Archaeological Journal, 119 (Article in Serial). SDV15912.

Way, A., 1869, Antiquities of Bronze found in Devonshire, 346 (Article in Serial). SDV305714.

Torr, C., 1923, Small Talk at Wreyland Third Series, 27 (Monograph). SDV310650.

Anon, 1924-1925, Unknown title, 51 (Article in Serial). SDV310649.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953, SX88SW4 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV310644.

Bronze palstaves found in a field at Plumley, Bovey Tracey, in 1836 under a granite boulder.
(17/03/1953) The palstaves are said to have been found near the remains of the six hut-circles. They were of stop-ridge and loop type, and one of them is exhibited in Exeter Museum. From the description of their discovery, this may have been a votive hoard.
No additional information could be gained regarding the find-spot, or the present whereabouts of the greater part of the hoard. No traces of hut-circles were found in the neighbourhood of Plumley.
(28/05/1953) One of a hoard of eight palstaves found in two lots under a granite boulder. Two specimens are in the Exeter Museum. The dcnq note states that the palstaves were found in the same field as six hut circles, which were destroyed shortly after 1836.

Fox, A., 1956, Twenty-Third Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon, 214-215, plate 26 (Article in Serial). SDV112512.

Pearce, S. M., 1978, Devon in Prehistory, Exeter City Museum 78 (Nos.17 and 23) (Monograph). SDV273286.

Two palstaves from Plumbley, Bovey Tracey, SX808791, (sic), are in Exeter City Museum, Acc No. A4214 and 7/1897/6.

Pearce, S. M., 1979, The Distribution and Production of Bronze Age Metalwork, 142 (Article in Serial). SDV322230.

Pearce, S. M., 1983, The Bronze Age Metalwork of South Western Britain, 433 (Monograph). SDV341822.

The only surviving members of the Plumley hoard are 1 and 2 in Royal Albert Memorial Museum, 3 in Exeter University.
1 palstave, V on both faces, deep stop, side loop, bevelled blade, crescentic shape. Length 156mm blade width 65mm.
2 palstave median stop ridge, trident on both sides, bevelled blade slightly outcurved, broken side loop. Length 147mm blade width 51mm.
3 palstave deep stop, side loop broken, slight and narrow Y on both faces. Length 150mm blade width 64mm B W 24mm. Found by workmen on estate of WM Harris in 1836.

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 28/05/2021 (Website). SDV364039.

Eight bronze palstaves were found about 1830 at Plumley (SX 8080), the residence of Mr William Harris. They were discovered during the blasting of some boulders in a field adjoining the house, said to be the site of a 'Roman encampment'. According to Way (Way, A., 1869, 346) the palstaves were found placed on end, four under one boulder and four under another.
Earlier accounts (Croker, 1852 and Tucker, 1867) say that four were under one boulder and the others scattered about nearby.
Mr Harris sent one of the palstaves to the British Museum, gave three to friends and retained four at Plumley. Two are said to be now at Exeter Museum.
A group of six hut circles at Plumley was destroyed soon after 1836, when the stone was taken away for building purposes. The huts are said to have been situated in the same field as the palstaves. (Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries, 1924-25, 13, 51).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV112512Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1956. Twenty-Third Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 88. A5 Hardback. 214-215, plate 26.
SDV15912Article in Serial: Tucker, C.. 1867. Unknown Title, Archaeological Journal. Archaeological Journal. 24. Unknown. 119.
SDV24Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. OSA. Card Index.
SDV273286Monograph: Pearce, S. M.. 1978. Devon in Prehistory. Devon in Prehistory. Paperback Volume. Exeter City Museum 78 (Nos.17 and 23).
SDV281441Migrated Record:
SDV281442Migrated Record:
SDV281444Migrated Record:
SDV281445Migrated Record:
SDV305714Article in Serial: Way, A.. 1869. Antiquities of Bronze found in Devonshire. Archaeological Journal. 26. Unknown. 346.
SDV310644Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953. SX88SW4. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Card Index.
SDV310646Article in Serial: Croker, J. G.. 1852. Unknown Title, Archaeological Journal. Archaeological Journal. 9. 186.
SDV310649Article in Serial: Anon. 1924-1925. Unknown title. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 13. Unknown. 51.
SDV310650Monograph: Torr, C.. 1923. Small Talk at Wreyland Third Series. Small Talk at Wreyland. 27.
SDV310652Migrated Record:
SDV310653Migrated Record:
SDV322230Article in Serial: Pearce, S. M.. 1979. The Distribution and Production of Bronze Age Metalwork. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 37. 142.
SDV341822Monograph: Pearce, S. M.. 1983. The Bronze Age Metalwork of South Western Britain. British Archaeological Reports. 120. Photocopy. 433.
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 28/05/2021.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds

  • FDV3372 - HOARD (Early Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 1501 BC)
  • FDV5830 - PALSTAVE (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC)

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:May 28 2021 12:30PM