Table 1 sets out the reports filed with Archaeological Data Services for 2012.  The reports are discussed in a little more detailed in alphabetical order of parish.  A brief synthesis of the findings of 2012 completes the document.

Table 1 Summary of reports for 2012

In 2012 15 sites were investigated in 9 parishes, with 4 sites in Bideford and 3 in Hartland.  A total of eight organisations produced reports, with South West Archaeology contributing 6, A C Archaeology contributing 4 and single reports from Allen Environmental Archaeology, Context One Archaeology, Durham University Archaeology Services, Historic Environment Projects of Cornwall County Council and Nottingham Tree-Ring Dating Laboratory. Most of the proposed developments concerned building works and housing development.  There was one wind turbine and one solar farm.

1. Abbotsham: Old School

The report concerned a watching brief during construction of an extension to the existing building, which first had been a parish poor house and later a school.  The site adjoins St Helen’s church in the centre of the village.  The foundation trench monitored produced five sherds of pottery, from the seventeenth to the eighteenth centuries, all of which were of North Devon origin.  The topsoil also yielded fragments of disarticulated human bone, which have been left for reburial in the nearby churchyard.

2.  Beaford: Upcott Barton

The report concerned a geophysical survey on a site proposed for a solar farm on Upcott Barton, about 1 km NE of Beaford village.  Approximately 14 ha was surveyed.  In 2010 Durham Archaeological Services had done a desk-based assessment of the site.  Upcott Barton is one of the medieval farms within the parish.  Most of the geophysical anomalies found were linear and were plough marks, field drains or probable former field boundaries. In one area, lying about 300 metres east of the modern farm there was a complex series of ditches seemingly forming an enclosure, which is presumed to be late Bronze Age or Iron Age.

3.  Bideford: 1-5 Bridge Street

The report concerns tree-ring analysis of the timbers in the building, recently known as the Tavern in the Port.  It lies about 50 metres from the western end of Bideford Long Bridge.  Samples of oak roof timbers were taken from 1, 2, 3 and 5 Bridge Street.  The earliest felling dates (AD 1570-1621) were found in 2 Bridge Street and 1 Bridge Street had timbers with similar felling dates (AD 1583-1606).  Felling dates of the timbers in 3 and 5 Bridge Street were a little later (1672-1720 for 3 Bridge Street and 1679-1702 for 5 Bridge Street).   It is not clear whether the timbers represent original work, perhaps drawing on a variety of timber yard stock, or represent a mixture of new and reused timber.

4.  Bideford:  28 Bridgeland Street and 5 Queen Street

The report concerns desk study and historic buildings recording of two properties whose gardens and yard abut one another and where redevelopment was proposed.  Bridgeland Street, as its name suggests, was initially developed at the behest of the Feoffees of Bideford Bridge Trust at the end of the seventeenth century.  Number 28   

Bridgeland Street appears on a plan of 1745.  The present building contains alterations, probably of the late eighteenth century, to the original.  Queen Street owes its origins to various widenings of Bideford Quay and may well have directly fronted onto the river before the New Quay was constructed in 1663.  A 1720 plan, now in poor condition, shows that the land to the rear of both properties was orchard, garden and various outhouses.  The report gives details of the two buildings and offers a probable development chronology.  28 Bridgeland Street started as an L-shaped building in 1693 and a significant second phase occurred in the late eighteenth/early nineteenth centuries, with some reorganisation on the ground floor, a new entrance and a projecting bow window above it and a second staircase installed.  Late nineteenth century work involved some divisions of first floor rooms.  5 Queen Street also originated in the late seventeenth century, probably as a two storied structure, with the second floor then added inlate eighteenth/early nineteenth century reordering.

5.  Bideford: New Road

The report concerns palaeo-environmental analysis of materials from coring undertaken as part of the construction of a new walk way on the east side of New Road, just upstream of Bideford Long Bridge.  Borehole work had shown an accumulation of 9 -11 metres of silt and alluvium over bed rock and had suggested the presence of a former channel of a small tributary of the Torridge.  This was cored and a record of c 7 metres of sediment made.   Material for radiocarbon dating was recovered from the top and middle of the sediment sequence and pollen, diatoms, plant remains and molluscs were also analysed. The calibrated radiocarbon dates, both from fragments of alder were 2470-2580 BC and 2630-2880 BC, within the Neolithic.  The combined data suggest that in the late Neolithic the area was estuarine, with alder carr, grasses and sedges, but becoming a more open landscape soon after and sands and gravels of marine and open estuary provenance tend to dominate in the core samples of more recent time.  There is no direct evidence of human activity.  The vegetation history revealed here is more or less the same as that found at Pill Farm Tawstock and at the Taw Bridge Barnstaple during construction of the Barnstaple western by-pass.


6.  Bideford: 6a The Quay

The report concerns archaeological monitoring during the demolition of the exisiting building, which had been the subject of an earlier historic building assessment by South West Archaeology.  The site lies just downstream of the western end of Bideford Long Bridge.  Very little of archaeological interest was found, the most interesting being 2 shards of eighteenth century North Devon gravel tempered ware and 2 clay pipe stems, also from the eighteenth century.


7.  Great Torrington: 50 New Street

The report concerns archaeological monitoring during foundation works as part of the construction of a new dwelling on land to the rear of the property.  The site is c 300 NW of the parish church and on the north side of New Street.  Nothing of archaeological significance was found.  More might have been expected as the site probably within or very close to the burgage plots.


8.  Great Torrington: Vaughan’s Glove Factory, White’s Lane

The report concerns an historic buildings record of the last surviving glove factory in Torrington.  The building is to be converted into apartments.   The factory was constructed in 1884 and perhaps its character as akin to a non-conformist chapel  may reflect the religious character of William Vaughan, for whom it was built. White Marland brick features prominently in its construction.  The report records the building’s features and also catalogues some of the graffiti and an old poster found.

9.  Hartland:  Bursdon Moor

The report concerns a watching brief at Four Barrows on Bursdon Moor, Hartland, where an existing water-trough was been re-sited and new troughs and associated water supply pipes installed.  The wider context was as part of a programme to restore habitat and sustain a more effective management for nature conservation.   The base on which the old trough had been laid was not removed and so no archaeology was exposed.  Excavations for the two new troughs and water supply yielded nothing of archaeological significance.  While such limited excavation may not have been expected to yield much, the absence of any other archaeology around the barrows suggests that they stood in an otherwise unoccupied setting in the landscape.   

10.  Hartland: Church of Our Lady and St Nectan, Well Lane

The report is concerns an historic building recording of the former Roman Catholic church in Well Lane, about 200 metres east of the square in the centre of the village.  It is intriguing that the church, whose fabric was a converted temporary school classroom of the type commonly used c 1960-1970 and from which all the useful furniture and liturgical fittings were removed prior to the survey, should be given an HBR.  The report gives a useful summary of the establishment of the church in the 1960s. It does not mention that a wooden statue of St Nectan has been moved and is now in the parish church at Stoke.  Given that the site was close to the centre of the village, and could be presumed to have some medieval archaeology, it was odd that no watching brief was issued when the church was demolished and the site prepared for housing development.

11. Hartland: Harbourcross, Meddon

The report concerns an archaeological watching brief at Harbourcross, Meddon as the site was prepared to install an anemometer mast.  Meddon is one of the larger hamlets within Hartland parish and the site lies 1.2 km to the NE and about 1.5 km east of the A39.  Eight trenches were as foundations for the mast.  None of the trenches yielded anything of archaeological significance.     

12.  Holsworthy: The Old Show Ground

The report concerns archaeological evaluation trenches dug on the 7 hectare site, about 600 metres NNE of St Peter’s church.  The trenches revealed traces of former field boundaries known from nineteenth century maps.  Two sherds of late medieval or very early post-medieval coarse-ware were found in one trench but the context is unclear as it also contained Victorian earthenware and porcelain fragments.  

13.  Holsworthy Hamlets: Manworthy

The report concerns archaeological monitoring at a site on the northern outskirts of Holsworthy, about 1.8 km N of Holsworthy square.  It was also close to another site where pre-development archaeological assessment had suggested the existence of a prehistoric enclosure.  In the event, preparation work at the Manworthy site had already occurred and the soil stripped and levelled.  It was thought possible that some archaeology may have survived and monitoring of further work was required.  None of the sections exposed revealed any archaeology, but a worn sherd of possible Iron Age pottery was recovered from one of the spoil heaps.

14.  Parkham: Babeleigh Barton

The report concerns a desk-based assessment and a visual impact assessment for a single wind turbine at Babeleigh Barton.  The site is c 500 metres SSE of Babeleigh Barton farm and 1.5km SE of Parkham village.  The Tithe Maps shows the area to have been arable, although the reports does not suggest the possibility that the land was beat-burned and so arable for only two or three years at intervals of around 15 to 20 years. By the 1890s the land was all rough grazing, the state to which it probably reverted between beat-burning.  Most of the visual impacts were rated as negative/minor or in the range negative/minor to moderate.  

15.  Peters Marland: Marland school

The report concerns a desk-based assessment and archaeological evaluation of a trial trench at Marland school.  The site is within 50 metres of St Peter’s church.  A building occupied the site of the school on the Tithe Map. I t may be presumed that the site was part of the home manor of Peter’s Marland parish and thus have the potential to yield medieval archaeology.  Finds included over one hundred sherds of pottery, much of it medieval coarse-ware and two rather enigmatic sherds of chert-tempered early medieval pottery, presumed to be from the Blackdown Hills area.  Such material has very rarely been found in rural settings in northern Devon.


The reports from 2012 add very little to archaeological knowledge of Torridge District.  

Roughly a third of the reports concern buildings in urban settings and the vast majority of the rural settings yielded little other than some sherds of North Devon coarse ware.  Perhaps the oddest report of all was on the closed Roman Catholic church in Hartland, which was an adaptation of a 1960s temporary school classroom and from which most of the fixtures and fittings had been removed before recording.  An unusual report was that on the river Torridge, near Bideford Long Bridge, where radiocarbon dates and pollen analysis showed a similar picture of forest clearance and sedimentation to that revealed  by work at sites on the Barnstaple Western by-pass.   



Grid reference

Report Producer

Type of report

Nature of development


Old School

SS424 264

A C Archaeology

Watching brief

Building extension


Upcott Barton

SS571 156

Durham University Archaeological Services

Geophysical survey

Solar farm


1-5 Bridge Street

SS454 264

Nottingham Tree-ring Dating Laboratory

Tree-ring analysis

Redevelopme nt of existing buildings


28 Bridgeland Street& 5 Queen Street

SS454 267

S W Archaeology

Historic building assessment

Pre-development appraisal in gardens


New Road (opposite Town Hall)

SS454 264

Allen Environmental Archaeology

Borehole and environmental archaeological evaluation

Footway works


6a The Quay

SS454 265

S W Archaeology

Archaeological monitoring

Demolition and redevelopment

Great Torrington

Rear of 50 New Street

SS493 193

S W Archaeology

Archaeological monitoring

Building works

Great Torrington

Vaughan’s Glove Factory, White’s Lane

SS494 192

Context One Archaeology

Historic building recording



Bursdon Moor

SS262 203

A C Archaeology

Watching brief

Water supply as part of habitat management


Our Lady & St Nectan’s, Well Lane

SS260 244

A C Archaeology

Historic building  recording

Demolition and site redevelopment


Harbourcross, Meddon

SS286 188

Historic Environments Projects, Cornwall County Council

Archaeological watching brief

Erection of anemometer mast


Old Show Ground site

SS341 045

A C Archaeology

Archaeological trial evaluation


Holsworthy Hamlets


SS345 056

S W Archaeology

Archaeological monitoring and recording

Industrial development


Babeleigh Barton

SS393 201

S W Archaeology

Desk-based assessment & visual impact assessment

Wind turbine

Peters Marland

Marland school

SS479 135

S W Archaeology

Desk-top evaluation, archaeological monitoring and trial excavation

Post-construction evaluation

Promoting awareness of the archaeology and history of North Devon

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