MMO510 - Post-medieval deserted farmstead of Moorhouse (Monument)


A farmstead noted from 1674 is now a collection of earthworks. These are in the form of a D shaped enclosure containing a disturbed building platform and well defined banks representing old boundaries.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Moor House. Molland Tithe Map for 1841 shows group of fields belonging to property called Moor House. No building shown. An RAF aerial photograph shows building foundations in a small irregular shaped enclosure at SS 8333 3117. Dates of origin and description unknown, but probably medieval. [1-3] "Moorhouse" shown on 6 inch 1906 Ordnance Survey map. [4] SS 8335 3115. A collection of boundary banks and platforms near a spring, with an associated leat from Lower Willingford Bridge and Danes Brook. Messuage mentioned in documents of 1692, 1734 and 1794: "Moorhouse in Molland" and "Francis, quartly to build a house there". Features in 1821 estate survey and 1842 Tithe Map [1]. Measures draining features in HE historic landscape survey. [6] Centred at SS 8332 3118 are the earthworks of the deserted post-medieval farmstead of Moorhouse. Moorhouse is mentioned in 1674. In 1692 it is referred to as a messuage and lands. It is not depicted on the Molland Tithe Map of 1839, but the adjoining field to the west is called "Barn Close". The Ordnance Survey 1st Edition 25 inch mapping of 1890 depicts walling with the descriptor "ruin" [7]. The site of the farmstead at Moorhouse consists of a "D" shaped enclosure measuring 45 metres by 42 metres, and defined by a well preserved field bank, averaging 0.7 metres high, topped with a grown out beech hedge on the southwestern side. Within the enclosure is a substantial building platform measuring 17.5 metres by 8 metres and cut into the hillside by 1.1 metres. The platform is now disturbed by cattle trample and the sites of animal feeders. To the north of the platform are well preserved banks, 0.6 metres high, representing former boundaries - the whole confused by a modern trackway and isolated trees. Nevertheless it is in this area that the ruin is depicted at the end of the last century. It seems most likely that the area was a small yard with possibly a former range on the northeast side, backing against the enclosure boundary (that partly depicted in 1890) and another range (not depicted) running northeast to southwest, along the northwestern side of the enclosure. No doubt this area formed the core of the agricultural buildings of the farmstead. It is possible that this continued to function after the demise of the house itself, with the yard and buildings forming an "out farm". To the east of the "D" shaped enclosure is a rectangular hollow cut into the east facing slopes. It measures 6 metres by 5 metres and has a bank 0.4 metres high on the downslope side. From its northeastern corner a curving channel leads into a catchwater leat running north to south along the valley side. This rectangular feature is clearly a manure pit, into which farmyard waste was dumped. The resulting effluent trickled down into the leat and consequently onto the surrounding fields. Surveyed at 1:500. Full Level 3 report and landscape analysis. [7-10] Centred on circa SS 8332 3119, the remains of enclosure boundary banks associated with the former farmstead of Moorhouse are partially visible as earthworks on aerial photographs of the 1940s. The visible earthworks correspond to with those marked on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1890 [7]. The manure clamp described by [10] would indicate that the farmstead was associated with the extensive leat or gutter visible immediately to the east (MMO517). [11-12] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [13]

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Map: 1841. Molland Tithe Map and Apportionment. Land parcels 1-6.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF/106G/UK/1420/3289 (15 April 1946), County Hall ref. 9/30.
  • <3> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Worksheet, S Timms, 7 July 1982.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1888-1914. County Series; 2nd Edition (1st Revision) 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1906, 16NW.
  • <5> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Ground photograph from north, September 1991.
  • <6> Report: Bannister, N.R. and Bannister, D.E.. 1992. Historic landscape survey of the Molland Estate, Nr South Molton, Devon. A12.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890.
  • <8> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R.. 1995. Moorhouse/ink survey . 1:500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <9> Report: Wilson-North, R.. 1996. Lyshwell and Shircombe: Deserted Farmsteads and Field Systems . RCHME.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 20 July 1995.
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1420 (F20) 3456-7 15-APR-1946.
  • <12> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SW. MD002197.
  • <13> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1051822, Extant 2 February 2022.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 16913
  • Devon SMR: SS83SW/7
  • Environmentally Sensitive Area
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE13231
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20427
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SW34
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1051822



Grid reference Centred SS 8332 3118 (72m by 77m)
Map sheet SS83SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Apr 27 2022 2:05PM


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