MDE10873 - Radworthy deserted settlement and field system (Monument)


The remains the farmstead of Radworthy and its associated field system covering some 30 hectares.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

The remains of the farmstead of Radworthy are centred at SS 6991 4283, with its associated field system lying on a south-south-west facing spur to its immediate west, and extending over some 30 hectares. Radworthy was "Radeuda" at Domesday [1], although there may have been confusion between this site and North and South Radworthy in North Molton parish [2]. The date of abandonment is unclear, although the Tithe Apportionment describes the building as "Dwelling House" with a court, five gardens and several potatoe (sic) plots [3]. This suggests that the building was still occupied, although the failure of the Apportionment to name most of the associated fields might suggest that the local knowledge of their names had gone. The field evidence comprises the well preserved remains of a single building. It measures some 23.5 metres in length by 4.5 metres wide. It is constructed of roughly laid shillet or slate into walls 0.6 metres thick and standing to a maximum of 0.95 metres high on the north, and more usually 0.4-0.5 metres high on the south. It is cut into the hillside on its northern side which means that the back wall is in effect a revetment wall for the natural hill slope. No definite doorways are visible and the southern wall, where one would have expected to see one, is very fragmentary in places. No windows are visible and the only internal feature is a single internal partition, dividing the building into a western half, 13.5 metres long and and eastern one 10 metres long. Some internal plaster still adheres to the northern wall. The building lies on the northern side of a terraced track which also gave access to the fields. To the south are a number of small paddocks or yards stretching down to the un-named tributary of the Bray defining the southeastern side of Radworthy. The field system associated with the building has now reverted to rough grassland and bracken is encroaching over large parts of it. The fields are defined by substantial earth and stone boundary banks (no longer supporting hedgerows or even remnent hedgerow species). [4] This is the deserted farm site of Radworthy. It lies on a triangular piece of land between two streams which join to form the river bray. Buildings were located at SS 6992 4282 on the eastern edge of an extensive field system which has now reverted to moorland. The site is not shown on Donne's map of Devon of 1765. The date of desertion is unknown but Radworthy is a good example of an Exmoor deserted medieval settlement. [2] The field system of Radworthy is clearly visible on aerial photographs, although the building described is obscured by trees. Several of the banks forming the field boundarie are depicted on the modern Ordnance Survey map. The settlement is also depicted on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1889, but no dwelling place is shown. This would seem to suggest that the settlement had been abandoned but had not yet fallen into ruins. A likely date for the abandonment of Radworthy would seem to be between 1839 and 1889. [5-8] Low banks forming a system of irregular fields with smaller enclosures on the east side suggesting the site of a deserted farm. The 1947 and 1977 aerial photographs are very good. [9-11] North Radworthy was held by Rainald of William de Poillei at the time of the Domesday Book. Before the conquest it was held by Aluric. It appears in William de Poillei's grant of tithes to St. Martin of Seez. [12] The aerial photograph shows detail of south eastern half of field system excellently. [13] A report into the location, layout and history of the deserted settlement of Radworthy was undertaken in advance of earthwork survey. The remains of a post-medieval building associated with an extensive relict field system was recorded by volunteers for the Longstone Landscapes Community Archaeology Project. Documentary research and field survey has suggested that a medieval settlement may have existed elsewhere at Radworthy and several platforms or enclosures may indicate the site of this settlement. [17, 18] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [19]

Sources/Archives (18)

  • <1> Monograph: Grover, J., Mawer, A. & Stenton, F. M.. 1969. The Place Names of Devon. P. 60.
  • <2> Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Record Card. SS 64 SE27.
  • <3> Map: 1839. Challacombe Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 1 October 1993.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 884-85 (29 April 1973).
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2004. 1:10000, 2004. 1:10,000.
  • <8> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SE. MD002181.
  • <9> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS6942a.
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF/CPE/UK/1980.3088 (April 1947).
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 13/120 (May 1977).
  • <12> Monograph: Reichel, O. J.. 1928-1938. Hundreds of Devon: The Hundred of Shirwell in Early Times. P. 467, 489, 491.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . nmr ss6943:sf 1748/426 (23 April 1980).
  • <14> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1896. County Series, First Edition 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1905. 6SE..
  • <15> Aerial photograph: Griffith, F.. 1980s-1990s. Oblique aerial photographs of the Devon part of Exmoor National Park. LC 7 and 8 (10 January 1989), QO 8 & 9 (26 March 1990).
  • <17> Report: Green, T.. 2015. The Deserted Settlement of Radworthy.
  • <18> Report: Riley, H.. 2015. Survey of Radworthy farmstead and an earthwork enclosure: Longstone Landscape Community Archaeology Project.
  • <19> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 909968, Extant 10 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 6960 4293 (777m by 605m)
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 17962
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/27
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20708
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO309
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE45
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 909968

Record last edited

Nov 10 2021 1:45PM


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