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Bulls Paradise, Lundy Island

In the civil parish of Lundy.
In the historic county of Lundy Island.
Modern Authority of Devon.
1974 county of Devon.
Medieval County of Devon.

OS Map Grid Reference: SS13644423
Latitude 51.16688° Longitude -4.66692°

Bulls Paradise, Lundy Island has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Bulls Paradise is a substantial defensive structure, now thought to be a manor house. Excavations by K S Gardner confirm the sequence of three phases:
1. A 12th century stone building
2. In the early 13th century a 7 foot thick granite wall, with external rock-cut ditch, appears to have enclosed an open yard with buildings, including a hearth, and a clay-lined water-hole
3. In the mid-13th century the site was demolished, and the walls flattened into the ditches and the water-hole. After levelling the site was covered by an extensive midden which contained bones, metal and stone tools and weapons; a silver Venetian coin of circa 1420; and 13th to 15th century pottery, including French and Spanish imports (Hurst). The counterparts to the north wall and ditch were located 100 feet to the south and traces of other structures noted (Gardner, 1968, LFS). The date and obvious importance of the site suggests that it was the defended homestead of the early Mariscos and the demolition by the latter half of the 13th century may be attributed to the period when Henry III built his own castle there in 1243 AD (Gardner, 1972). (PastScape)

The settlement at Bull's Paradise has been described as a small ringwork although little is known of its structural detail. The area has been interpreted as the manorial centre of the island and as such is of significance in understanding its historical development during the medieval period. Part excavation and geophysical survey of this area have demonstrated the quality of surviving remains.
The monument includes earthwork remains of a chapel, a cemetery, a medieval defended homestead and a medieval midden contained in two enclosed paddocks to the west of Barton Cottages and Manor Farm north and west of the present village, on Lundy. The larger area, known as Bull's Paradise, has been partly excavated and subject to geophysical survey, revealing remains of a defended medieval homestead. To the east is a smaller paddock containing further remains including an additional part of the homestead. Further remains to the south east of Bull's Paradise are now covered or levelled by the construction of the Manor Farm buildings and related structures. It is uncertain to what extent the remains survive in this area and so it is not included in the scheduling. The south side of the field, called Bull's Paradise, contains evidence for a possible timber chapel and graves dating from the late 13th century to the 17th century. Pottery and a coin of Edward II found on the site have confirmed this date range. The site was probably in use when the farm now called Manor Farm became the primary settlement on the island. Also in this southern area and now mostly under the farm buildings is the site of the 'Giants Graves'. These were uncovered and reported on in the mid-19th century. Glass beads survive as evidence for a ninth century burial here and red pottery reported but now lost may have been Samian ware. One of the capstones from this burial site now rests outside the tavern and a pillow stone is in the porch of the church. The defended medieval homestead is believed, from excavation, to have been a strong stone building with an outer ditch and internal yard, dating from the mid-12th century to its deliberate destruction in the mid-13th century. This may then have been replaced by the construction of Marisco Castle. In the area of the cemetery a midden has been identified of 13th-17th century date. This was later dug through for the deposition of further burials. A large grass covered mound on the west side of Bull's Paradise has been shown by trial excavation in 1971 to be a mass of tumbled stone and building material relating to another, as yet undated, homestead. (Scheduling Report)

The original manor house was undefended and built on relatively flat ground on the spring line. It is worth noting that this house was then, at some expense and with the difficulty of making a rock cut ditch, fortified. That is the site was reused. Henry III built his 'Marisco' castle on a more prominent and natural defended site on the cliff edges and then this site remained in use until the C18 when the manorial residence moved back to a site less exposed to the weather. Bulls Paradise was built to be lived in; Marisco Castle was built to be seen from the sea.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:22:04

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