MDE8273 - Post-medieval field system on Knap Down (Monument)

Summary

Two parallel banks, visible as low earthern mounds north of Knap Down Lane, may have been part of an abortive attempt to subdivide the area after Enclosure in 1866.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The area of Knap Down, enclosed by a yellow band on the accompanying map [1], is shown as open common land on the 1843 Tithe Map [2]. Most of this area ie, that enclosed by a green band on map [1], was enclosed by the Combmartin (sic) Inclosure Award of 1871 [3] and is shown on the Combmartin Inclosure Map [4]. According to Beaumont [5] the Combmartin Inclosure Award was one of the last in Devon. To the north of Knap Down Lane on a steep north facing slope is one large area of scrub and bracken apparently uncultivated however, some attempt may have been made at the time of the inclosure to subdivide this area, as evidenced by the slight remains of two fragmentary banks. The area to the south of Knap Down Lane has been subdivided into some twenty, mainly strip fields. [6] There are the remains of two parallel banks centred at SS 5938 4715. These banks lie in a very steep north facing bracken and scrub covered slope to the north of Knap Down Lane. Though clearly visible on 1946 air photographs [7], on the ground these low earthen banks are now barely discernible being no more than 0.4 metres high at best and spread to about 5 metres wide. Commencing some 10 metres to 15 metres from a hedge on the north they run up the slope some 54 metres parallel for about 60 metres before fading. What appears on the aerial photograph to be another, outer bank, parallel to the western bank is a stream gulley. McDonnell [8] refers to these banks as "low banks forming a group of four fairly small subrectangular enclosures... possibly a deserted farm site". There are no enclosures and it is not a deserted farm site. This would appear to be a misinterpretation of vegetation lines, sheep tracks and the stream gulley visible on the aerial photographs. The area containing these banks was allotted to Sir Charles Watson on the 1866 Inclosure Map [4] and this may have been an abortive attempt to subdivide the area into individual strip fields, as was done on the south side of Knap Down Lane. (Note: The whole is so fragmentary and ill defined that no survey action was taken). [9] Several post-medieval field boundaries are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs of the Knap Down area, Combe Martin. The visible banks are centred at SS 5921 4699 and measure approximately 135 metres long, running north to south. They appear to be part of the enclosed land, laid out in 1871, but by 1955 have been removed to create larger fields. A less well preserved bank is also visible in an area of scrub and bracken to the north of Knap Down Lane. The second of the fragmentary banks mentioned above is not visible on aerial photographs. [11,12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889, Devon 5:4 - marked by [2], held by Historic England Archives.
  • <2> Map: 1843. Combe Martin Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <3> Report: Ridley, G. + Caird, J.. 1871. Inclosure Award.
  • <4> Map: 1866. Inclosure Map: Combe Martin, Field 147.
  • <5> Article in monograph: Beaumont, M.. 1989. Tithes and Enclosures. Out of the World and into Combe Martin. Combe Martin Local Histor.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 19 May 1993.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. 106G/UK 1655 3177-78 (July 1946).
  • <8> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. Gazetter number: SS5947a.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 25 March 1993.
  • <10> Monograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. Devon's Past: An Aerial View. 75. P. 98.
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 82/1281 (F21) 0049 (29 August 1955).
  • <12> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 54 NE. MD002165.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 5932 4706 (993m by 297m) (Historic mapping)
Map sheet SS54NE
Civil Parish COMBE MARTIN, NORTH DEVON, DEVON

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS 54 NE 24
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS 54 NE 33
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 17892
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 21023
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20506
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20913
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE8279
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO266
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 54 NE29
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 54 NE35
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 615774
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 616370

Record last edited

Mar 23 2016 1:06PM

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