North Hall Community excavation, Devon

North Hall Community excavation, Devon

In 2012 Oakford Archaeology was commissioned by the Dartmoor National Park Authority to carry out a community evaluation on the site of a suspected medieval manor house at Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Dartmoor.

As part of the community involvement the Oakford Archaeology field archaeologists undertaking the work supervised up to thirty volunteers each day, in addition to providing guided tours of the site to visitors and on-site involvement for Ilsington and Widecombe Primary School pupils.

The works exposed the heavily robbed out remains of a single wall, while large areas of the site were covered in small, loose stone rubble. No evidence for internal floors or external surfaces was uncovered and it is thought that the site was comprehensively robbed from the 17th century onwards. A single large postpit, identified underneath the rubble spread, might suggest an earlier building phase. Excavations at the northern end of the site uncovered the remains of the robbed-out revetment wall lining the inside edge of the moat.

Excavations at the western end of the site revealed at least two phases of earthen bank behind the moat. Evidence of a beamslot would suggest that the rear of the later bank would have been revetted. Five sherds from a possible ‘North French Barrel Costrel’, dating to the 13th-14th century, were recovered from the infilling of the beamslot behind the earthen bank.

The finds recovered from the site contained large quantities of late 18th-19th century blue-and-white transfer print, as well as tobacco pipe stems and a number of plain bowls. Sixty-two sherds of medieval coarsewares, dating to the 13th-15th century were recovered, as well as two sherds of ‘Valencian Lustre Ware’, a 15th century high status pottery from western Spain.

Read more about the project on the Dartmoor National Park Authority and Widecombe History Group websites.

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