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Stone Barton Ringwork

In the civil parish of Chulmleigh.
In the historic county of Devonshire.
Modern Authority of Devon.
1974 county of Devon.
Medieval County of Devon.

OS Map Grid Reference: SS71311410
Latitude 50.91205° Longitude -3.83198°

Stone Barton Ringwork has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a Masonry Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The earthwork remains of a Norman ringwork situated on the top of a high hill with commanding views between two large river valleys to the north and south. Central to the site is a sub-circular enclosed area which measures 38m north-south and 34.2m east-west and is defined by large banks. There are some internal features visible within the enclosed area including an elongated bank which runs from the eastern outer bank to the west and peters out. There is also a sub-circular mound in the north west segment which has a diameter of 6.5m and is 0.2m high. The site was possibly occupied by a manor house during the medieval period. Quantities of iron slag have been discovered within the enclosure. (PastScape)

Stone Barton, in beautiful remote country 2 m. E. of the town, has substantial remains of an earthwork on a promontory above the farm. There is said to have been a castle here, and in Westcote's day a ruined heap of stones could be seen. It may have been a small Iron Age hill-fort adapted later to an early medieval castle or fortified house. (Hoskins)

The castle north of Stone Barton survives well and contains archaeological information relating to Norman military activity in this part of Devon.
This monument includes the earthwork remains of a castle, known as a ringwork, situated on top of a high hill with commanding views between two large river valleys to the north and south. Central to the site is a sub-circular enclosed area which measures 38m from north to south and 34.2m from east to west and is defined by large banks. To the north the banks measure 9.8m wide and are up to 1.4m high when viewed externally. To the north west they measure 5.5m wide and up to 1.7m high externally and 0.7m high internally. Some spreading has occurred to a width of some 2.3m downslope and this material partly overlies another bank. The enclosure curves round to the west where it attains a width of 8m and is 1.3m high externally and 0.8m high internally. Undulations in height and changes in width would seem to indicate the presence of tumble around stony walls. To the south the area forms a largely flattened bank which measures 5.3m wide and 0.1m high internally. To the east, the enclosure bank measures 9.7m wide and 0.6m high. There are some internal features visible within the enclosed area including an elongated bank which runs from the eastern outer bank to the west and peters out. This bank measures 4.5m wide and 0.2m high. There is also a sub-circular mound in the north west segment which has a diameter of 6.5m and is 0.2m high. To the north of the enclosure, downslope and partly overlain by it, is a large curving bank. This measures 3.4m wide, 1.8m high downslope and 0.4m high upslope. It curves around the enclosure and veers off in a south easterly direction. To the east of this curving bank is a D-shaped spread of material with a hollowed centre. This measures 8.4m long and 5.4m wide and is 0.6m high. To the south of the curving bank lies a circular enclosure which has an internal diameter of 10.2m. The enclosing banks measure 4.2m wide and up to 0.4m high internally. A rectangular structure lies to the east of this enclosure and south of the curving bank. Aligned in an east-west direction and defined by banks, it measures 16.1m long by 14.3m wide internally. The banks are 3.2m wide and 0.3m to 0.5m high. A further large bank lies 19m to the south of the curving bank. This measures 3.4m wide and 0.5m high and occupies the south eastern quadrant of the site. To the west of the large enclosure is a sub-rectangular feature defined by stony banks which runs parallel to the western field boundary and appears to partly underlie it. This feature measures 13.2m long and 3.2m wide internally and is defined by a 0.7m wide bank standing up to 0.3m high. To the south of the enclosure and partly overlain by material from it, are two banks. The first measures 4.2m wide and is 0.4m high. It runs south towards the field boundary which cuts it at its southernmost extent. The enclosure decreases in height as it trends towards the south. To the east is the second bank. This measures 9.2m wide and 0.6m high. It is aligned NNW-SSE. (Scheduling Report)

King rejects this site writing "This has been identified as a motte and bailey by the Ordnance Survey. There are no earthworks of any significance, and the main feature seems to be merely a line of small buildings, ruined and grassed over."

No medieval documentation, but a strong tradition from 17th century of a castle here. No archaeological dating evidence. Although its form is unclear, it was possibly a walled enclosure with towers and a gatehouse. Probably dating to the 14/15th century. (Devon and Dartmoor HER ref. Higham 1979)

Site was surveyed in 2002 by ACE Archaeology Club ( and survey details given to EH but do not seem to have been published.
Quite what the relationship between the two sites; Stone Barton Manor House and Stone Barton Ringwork is is unclear. Gatehouse suspects that this was one larger site in the middle ages which has been reduced in size since then. It seems likely that this manor house would have had some fortifications but to what extent is unknown.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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