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South Penquite Farm

Broad medieval field boundary.

The Medieval period AD 410 to AD 1540
"...a well preserved medieval field system..."

Please note all figures relate to a map of the medieval sites on the farm which is available here in PDF format (2.5 mb)

Generally, the landscape of the early medieval period was similar to that of the preceding Romano-British period; the position of settlements in the 11th century similar to the distribution of the preceding rounds (Johnson and Rose 1994, 76)

The settlement of South Penquite (and Black Penquite; 1 and 2) and its well defined ring fence enclosing a strip field system (6) are likely to date to the 11th or 13th centuries AD; a period associated with the widespread colonisation of the moor (ibid 77). Although the site is not documented before the 16th century it is likely that many sites simply lack early documentation. The hearthstone (58) and strip derived field system 63 surrounding Watts Penquite (57) suggest a similar 11th to 13th century date. These two settlements and associated field systems were once probably separated by rough ground grazed in common by tenants

Field system from the air.The two easily identifiable areas of medieval field system (6 and 63) abut a field system whose morphology and layout is based on earlier prehistoric boundaries but is also probably medieval in date. It is likely that these fields like the strip fields would have been held as intermixed holdings by the tenants of the farming hamlets. Best's Penquite (3) may also have its origins in the medieval period and could have once been a farming hamlet

The cultivation strips 55, earthworks 16 and clearance cairns 60 suggest the temporary cultivation of the rough ground surrounding the enclosed field systems and it is possible that limited areas of strip fields like 7 had their origins as such. These areas of temporary cultivation could also date to the early post-medieval period

During the medieval period Bodmin Moor was an important source of alluvial tin and both streamworks 22 and 24 are likely to have been worked (and reworked in to the post-medieval).

Dominic & Cathy Fairman
South Penquite Farm, Blisland, Bodmin, Cornwall

Tel: 01208 850491