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Dartmoor dig sheds light on medieval manor

Archaeologists have unearthed further evidence of life in one of the few moated medieval manor houses in Devon.

Dartmoor dig sheds light on medieval manor
Part of a wall is uncovered at Widecombe [Credit: The Plymouth Herald]
A team of experts and volunteers has been working at a site thought to have been the original medieval town manor for Widecombe.

And they are unearthing yet more clues to how it was well fortified against the outlaws who roamed the moors in the Middle Ages.

North Hall, now part of Glebe Farm, owned by Mike Lamb and Margaret Rogers, was one of seven medieval manors that made up the parish.

Archaeologists first looked at the site in 2012 and have returned each year.

Last year they uncovered stonework which may have been part of the house, along with pottery from the 13th or 14th century.

They believe that the ditch on the edge of the field is actually the remains of a moat, with a raised earthwork, built to defend the manor house.

Dartmoor National Park spokesman Mike Nendick said some "really good stuff was coming out".

He added: "We have extended the trench and found cobbles, a section of wall and some flag stones, pottery, as well as post holes, palisades and wooden beam slots.

Dartmoor dig sheds light on medieval manor
Andy Crabb at last year's dig [Credit: The Plymouth Herald]
"This is one of four such manor houses, three of which were on the Somerset border so its the only one in this part of the world.

"The people who lived her would have been powerful as it would have been a really high-status site.

"We think it was attacked at least twice in the Middle Ages by brigands on the moor. This dig has unearthed so much more and allows us to tell more of the story."

Historian Peter Reynolds, who spent 15 years tracking down the site of the manor house, started the project.

The series of excavations is the culmination of many years of research into the location of the Medieval Manor of North Hall and would not have been possible without his dedication and determination.

Dartmoor National Park archaeologist Andy Crabb said 'The dig has shed more light on the features we started to unearth last year which include a stone building, evidence for wooden structures, a moat, as well as some intriguing features that appeared on an aerial photograph.'

The dig is organised by Dartmoor National Park and funded by the Heritage Lottery Funded scheme, Moor than meets the eye.

Source: The Plymouth Herald [June 30, 2016]

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