Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland

EN4237: Brent Tor  

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HER:  Devon MDV1669

NMR:  SX 48 SE 5 (438139)

SM:  1104797

NGR:  SX471804

X:  247104  Y:  80410  (EPSG:27700)

Boundary:  

Summary

Possible contour hillfort located on rocky Brent Tor, conspicuous landmark on fringe of Dartmoor. Above River Burn to E. Curving, incomplete, rampart appears to enclose N and E sides of the tor, with precipitous outcrops providing definition on W. Wall/bank to 1m high on inside, but looking much steeper from without, with steep, apparently artificial, earthwork slope to 5m high and 10m wide at base. Possible traces of ditch in places. Possible structures behind rampart. Possible post medieval mineral extraction in interior confuses interpretation. Earthworks on N slopes of tor possibly Dark Age, medieval or later date and could be associated with fair held between 1231 and 1550. Hill subsequently used by abbots of Tavistock as site for Brentor parish church (St Michael's). Rocky grassland and bare rock.

Status

Citizen Science:  ✗  

Reliability of Data:  Unconfirmed:  Little data.

Reliability of Interpretation:  Unconfirmed:  There must be doubts as to the nature and date of site without investiagtions.

Location

X:  -463316  Y:  6551413  (EPSG: 3857)

Longitude:  -4.162039  Latitude:  50.603262  (EPSG:4326)

Country:  England

Current County or Unitary Authority:  Devon

Historic County:   Devon

Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  Brentor

Condition

Some management and erosion repair measures taken place. St Michael's Church in interior.

Extant:  
Cropmark:  
Likely Destroyed:  

Land Use

Rocky grassland and bare rock. Church in interior.

Woodland:  
Commercial Forestry Plantation:  
Parkland:  
Pasture (Grazing):  
Arable:  
Scrub/Bracken:  
Bare Outcrop:  
Heather/Moorland:  
Heath:  
Built-up:  
Coastal Grassland:  
Other:  

Landscape

Hillfort Type

Possible contour hillfort located on Brent Tor, conspicuous landmark on fringe of Dartmoor. Above River Burn to E.

Contour Fort:  
Partial Contour Fort:  
Promontory Fort:  
Hillslope Fort:  
Level Terrain Fort:  
Marsh Fort:  
Multiple Enclosure Fort:  

Topographic Position

Hilltop:  
Coastal Promontory:  
Inland Promontory:  
Valley Bottom:  
Knoll/Hillock/Outcrop:  
Ridge:  
Cliff/Plateau-edge/Scarp:  
Hillslope:  
Lowland:  
Spur:  

Dominant Topographic Feature:  Rocky tor.

Aspect

North:  
Northeast:  
East:  
Southeast:  
South:  
Southwest:  
West:  
Northwest:  
Level:  

Elevation

Altitude:  305.0m

Boundary

Boundary Type:  

Second HER:  

Second Current County or Unitary Authority:  

Second Historic County:  

Second Current Parish/Community/Council/Townland:  

Dating Evidence

Uncertain date. It is assumed that the site is Iron Age, but it is possible that it is earlier, even Neolithic.

Reliability:  D - None

Pre 1200BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
1200BC - 800BC:  
400BC - AD50:  
AD50 - AD400:  
AD400 - AD 800:  
Post AD800:  
Unknown:  

Pre Hillfort Activity:  ✓  Possible. It is assumed that the site is Iron Age, but it is possible that it is earlier, even Neolithic. Flint chance find.

Post Hillfort Activity:  ✗  

Investigations

Earthwork survey - no details.

Earthwork Survey (Uncertain):  No details.

Interior Features

Earthwork foundations of c. dozen small rectilinear structures c. 4m by 3m extend for c. 70m along inside of highest rampart with c. ten contiguous structures c. 5m by 4m terraced into slope to SW. Flint chance find.

Water Source

None:  
Spring:  
Stream:  
Pool:  
Flush:  
Well:  
Other:  

Surface

Earthwork foundations of c. dozen small rectilinear structures c. 4m by 3m extend for c. 70m along inside of highest rampart with c. ten contiguous structures c. 5m by 4m terraced into slope to SW.

No Known Features:  
Round Stone Structures:  
Rectangular Stone Structures:  
Curvilinear Platforms:  
Other Roundhouse Evidence:  
Pits:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  

Excavation

No Known Excavation:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Geophysics

No Known Geophysics:  
Pits:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Quarry Hollows:  
Other:  
Nothing Found:  

Finds

Flint chance find.

No Known Finds:  
Pottery:  
Metal:  
Metalworking:  
Human Bones:  
Animal Bones:  
Lithics:  
Environmental:  
Other:  

Aerial

APs Not Checked:  
None:  
Roundhouses:  
Rectangular Structures:  
Pits:  
Postholes:  
Roads/Tracks:  
Other:  

Entrances

None defined.

Total Number of Breaks Through Ramparts:  

Number of Possible Original Entrances:   

Guard Chambers:  

Chevaux de Frise:  ✗  

Enclosing Works

Curving, incomplete, rampart appears to enclose N and E sides of the tor, with precipitous outcrops providing defence on W. Wall/bank to 1m high on inside, but looking much steeper from without, with steep, apparently artificial, earthwork slope to 5m high and 10m wide at base. Possible traces of ditch in places. Possible

Enclosed Area 1:  
Enclosed Area 2:  
Enclosed Area 3:  
Enclosed Area 4:  
Total Enclosed Area:  

Total Footprint Area:  

Multi-period Enclosure System:  ✗  Area not defined.

Ramparts Form a Continuous Circuit:  ✗  

Number of Ramparts:  1

Number of Ramparts NE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SE Quadrant:  1
Number of Ramparts SW Quadrant:  
Number of Ramparts NW Quadrant:  

Current Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  
Unknown:  

Multi-period Morphology

Partial Univallate:  
Univallate:  
Partial Bivallate:  
Bivallate:  
Partial Multivallate:  
Multivallate:  

Surface Evidence

Probable stone wall.

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Rubble:  
Wall-walk:  
Evidence of Timber:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
Other:  

Excavated Evidence

None:  
Earthen Bank:  
Stone Wall:  
Murus Duplex:  
Timber-framed:  
Timber-laced:  
Vitrification:  
Other Burning:  
Palisade:  
Counter Scarp Bank:  
Berm:  
Unfinished:  
No Known Excavation:  
Other:  

Gang Working

Gang Working:  ✗ 

Ditches

Ditches:  

Number of Ditches:  1:  Possible traces in places.

Annex

Annex:  ✗  

References

Griffith, F. M. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View, Paperback Volume, 66.

Newman, P. 2003. Brentor. An Earthwork Site on Western Dartmoor, Devon, English Heritage Archaeological Investigation Report, AI/12/2004.

Pilkington-Rogers, C. W. 1932. The Date of the Dartmoor Antiquities, Trans Devonshire Assoc, 64, 385.

Silvester, R. J. 1979. The Relationship of First Millennium Settlement to the Upland Areas of the South West, Proc Devon Archaeol Soc, 37, 181.

Worth, R. N.. 1889. Early History of Tavistock, Trans Devonshire Assoc. 21, 135.

Terms of Use

The online version of the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland should be cited as:

Lock, G. and Ralston, I. 2017.  Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk.

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