Venvill “They do also present that the soil of divers moors


Venvill
“ They do also present that the soil of divers moors , commons and wastes , lying for the most part about the same forest of Dartmoor and usually called by the name of the Common of Devonshire, is parcel of the Duchy of Cornwall, and that the foresters and other officers of his majesty and his progenitors Kings and Queens of England have always accustomed to drive the said commons, moors and wastes of other men , lying in like manner about the said forest , home to the corn hedges and leap yeates  round about the same Common and forest , some few places only exempted , and that the said foresters and officers have taken and gathered to his majesty’s use at the times of drift within the same commons such profits and other duties as they have and ought to do within the said forest; how be it they intend not hereby to prejudice the particular rights which any persons do claim for themselves or their tenants in any commons or several grounds in or adjoining to the said common or forest, but do leave the same to judgment of the law and to the justness of their titles which they make to the same.
“More they do present that all the King’s tenants which are Venvill have accustomed and used to have and take time out of mind in and upon the forest of Dartmoor all things that may do them good, saving vert (which they take to be green oak) and venson, paying for the same their Venvill rents and other dues as hath been time out of mind accustomed, and doing their suits and service to his majesty’s courts of the manor and forest of Dartmoor aforesaid, and also excepting night rest, for the which every one of them have of long time out of mind -yearly paid or ought to pay 3 d., commonly called agrasewait, and also to have and take tyme out of mind common of pasture for all manner of beasts, sheep, cattle in and upon all the moors, wastes, and commons usually called the Common of Devonshire, and also turves, vagges, heath, stone, coal and other things according to their customs, paying nothing for the same but the rents, dues and services aforesaid, nevertheless their meaning is that the Venvill men ought not to turn or put into the said forest or common at any time or times any more or other beasts and cattle than they can or may usually winter in and upon their tenements and grounds lying within in Venvill.”
It is not always easy to determine precisely those parishes that were described as being in Venville; such parishes were said to beVenvill

settlements next to the Forest of Dartmoor and in addition the rights of Venvillemen were alleged to extend to those parishes adjoining the purlieus of the Moor.

Sometimes the word “ adjoining” was most liberally interpreted, and various lists were compiled from 1802 to 1848 which indicate the degree of liberality.
Such lists to help to fix in the mind those parishes that come within this Venville area, sometimes in the opinion of owners and occupiers rather than in the view of law or authority.


Willandhcad , Jurston , Sheril , Middle Cator , Widecombe Parish , Holne , Dean Prior , Ugborough



1829
Throwleigh , South Tawton , Belstone , Sourton , Bridestowe , Chagford , Gidleigh , North Bovey , Widecombe , Manaton , Holne , Dean Prior , Ugborough



DARTMOOR , BUCKFASTLEIGH ,  Henry VIII       12/2/39


  informacions for my lorde prynce to the kynges most Honorable Counsell concernyng my said  Lorde prynces Forest of Dartmoor in the Countye of Devonshire 

in the mores & wastes to the same belongyn’ Inner circle, diameter 16.9cms. ‘This lytell compas betokenyth the Foreste.

The seconde compas betokenythe the waste ehich lyeth from the Forest unto the ... hit ys callyd the Commyners of Devonshire.

The thirde compas Betokenithe the vyndefylde men there whiche be the kynges and myelorde princes is tenants.

The fourthe compas betokenyth the hole shere of Devonshire. The lytell ?forykes aboute thecorndyches ys callyd the Lypeyattes for to goo unto the wast more and Forest’


Second circle, diameter 23.8ems, segmented:- ‘Este lypc yatte North ockentin yatte Weste pykeyeatte Southe sceryton yeatte’ third circle, diameter 29.8cms.

'The vyndefeld men of dene had Ougborowe

The vyndelelde men of cornewode had Harfford

The vyndeflde men of schystor had meavye

The vyndefelde men of Shaye|Shaugh| and Whittechurche, The vyndelfelde men of Walkynton and Samford The vynefelde men of Okenton and Southawt: The vynfelde men of Gydley and Throwely The vynde-felde men of Chageford and Manaton’


Fourth circle, diameter 36.8cms [no inscription]


Note: written information on the wintering of cattle on the K ing’s tennants holdings


Endorsed: lands of the Abbot of Buckfast expressed as a diagrammatic plan. Closes are shown as rectangles and include ‘a close callyd knowthome that the fyer bekon standith on’ with a drawing of the beacon; a road described as

‘This waye lyethe from Dartbrogge towardes the Forest of Dartmore’;

‘Parish church of Buckfastlee’ shown as a representation of a tower with a letter P superimposed; representation of a castle; details of rents payable 

Publication: E.J. Beer, Buckfastleigh Remembered (Privately published, 1981), map of Buckfastleigh only



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         LAND AND PEOPLE

In a balanced society land is inseparable from people,
It shapes them as working folk, breeds in their minds a respectful attitude toward birth and death;
and in every region, every parish, Us discipline has been the source of originality of thought and culture. In the market towns, villages and hamlets of the Dart* moor borderland the shaping process is still strong.
Agriculture gives to these places a unity and connects the upland with the rest of the county.
Modern Dartmoor also attracts many visitois annually, and it is probable that more money is earned from tourism than from agriculture. Farmers and their wives may catei for visitors in order to make a profit; but they also dispense good country fare—honey, cream, butter, bacon, roast beef and pasties —and contribute toward a proper understanding between town and country. Tourism and agriculture are likely to remain as the chief supports of the Dartmoor native.
It is agriculture that appeals most to the Dartmoor farmers and commoners; and their work is never easy because the land gi ves rise to special problems. Whether at the heart of the Mooi where the land is of poor quality—or on the borders where u is suitable for the pasturage of sheep and cattle, there is evidence ol constant struggle between man’s desire for cultivation and the slow wilfulness of the Moor to spread. In the survey devoted 11 • Land Utilization, edited by Professor Dudley Stamp, it was estimated that:
v “There are considerable possibilities of afforestation on and around Dartmoor. There are old established plantations at 1,260 to over 1,500 feet north of Princetown, large new afforested areas south of Postbridge, and the Forestry Coin mission area around the new reservoir south-west of Cnagfoid, Woodland at present is most abundant on the eastern bordei, and one surveyor noted that much had survived because ol difficulty of access.” *
158
In the same survey the special region from Chagford to More-tonhampstead is referred to: “The whole region is underlain by the eastern part of the Dartmoor Granite mass, and the soil is not inaptly described by the general title of Granite Gravel. There is no mistaking the land use pattern on the Land Utihzation Map, Sheet 138—patches of moorland on the higher hills, much woodland, the agricultural land mainly under the plough, the ploughland thus occupying large continuous stretches with comparatively little grassland, and that poor. There are few orchards; these are the warm light soils which have led to a marked specialization in potatoes. Throwleigh, Gidleigh, Chagford, North Bovey, Manaton, Moretonhampstead, Lustleigh, Bridford and Christow arc the parishes in this region, the first five stretching into the main mass of Dartmoor, whilst portions of Hennock and Bovey Tracey are also included. All show a high proportion of land in potatoes, but low percentage in wheat and barley (the soil may suit but the climate does not). Several surveyors have noted the difficulties of maintaining pastures at high levels “even by careful grazing because they quickly revert to rough grazing and can only be restored by ploughing.”
The Dartmoor farmer has found a difficulty in making a livelihood merely from the raising of sheep and cattle. It was estimated in 1946 that about 1,138 farmers took advantage of moorland grazing, and the Duchy of Cornwall calculated that twenty-two parishes and a number of farms remained “in Venville” even though it seems that the Venville customs are now in abeyance and Venville dues paid only irregularly.
The economic position of the Dartmoor commoners could be the subject of much controversy. Dr Ian Moore, Principal of Scale Hayne Agricultural College, Newton Abbots and an authority on the use of grassland, has told me that so far as Dartmoor is concerned there is a great potential in relation to the improvement of grassland.
“But the whole question is largely one of economics and many of the Dartmoor farmers have not the capital available to embark upon schemes of improvement, such as ploughing and re-seeding, fencing, drainage and the hke. Then, too, there is a considerable acreage of land in the country which could be improved at much less expense before Dartmoor is tackled and the whole problem largely resolves around the question of


DARTMOOR
what is needed of British agriculture. If we were driven to i point of relying upon home resources then the improvement of Dartmoor and like moorland areas would have to he faced.”
Living in liis compact stone-built house in a valley sheltered against storm the Dartmoor farmer has had to develop in himself both shrewdness and thrift. He has learned to fight for self-preservation. Traditionally these farmers derived the bulk ol their income from the sale of store cattle, store sheep and wool. The Scotch Blackface breed have increased steadily in numbci s and the Whitefaced Dartmoor is still common though very few of the Bluefaced Dartmoor are now there. South Devon and Devon cattle are kept for milk production and some improvements have been made to farm buildings to render them suitable for the sale of milk under sanitary conditions.
Some commoners in a favourable geographical position and linked to the ancient Venville tradition, arc able to own sheep though they neither own nor rent land. They farm out their sheep under what is called the “half-crease” system. A farmer takes charge of the flock and provides it with fodder, and for this service he obtains all the wool and half the lambs. This is typical of a peasant mode of agriculture and is healthy because it assists the men desirous ultimately of acquiring capital in order to buy land; and it also aids the man who while owning land has little ready money for the purchase of stock. Rights of common, if not so widely exercised are still existent, and the Moor has become a centre for grazing.
The farms are made up of small fields enclosed within the grey stone walls or hedges.
“It is estimated that in some parishes a quarter of the enclosures are less than two acres in size and there are some in which single-acre plots are a feature. These are known locally as “Borough Acres”, being survivals of a system which originated in Saxon times. The soil is generally derived from the granite and is thin and hungry, being inherently short of lime, phosphate and potash, ,but free draining and responsive to adequate treatment with dung, lime and fertilizers. The farms are well scattered over the fringes of the Moor and are frequently difficult of access. Electricity and other such amenities are more often than not absent, while water supplies arc


 160
Civing in liis compact stone-built house in a valley sheltered against storm the Dartmoor farmer has had to develop in himself both shrewdness and thrift. He has learned to fight for self-preservation. Traditionally these farmers derived the bulk of their income from the sale of store cattle, store sheep and wool. The Scotch Blackface breed have increased steadily in numbers and the Whitefaced Dartmoor is still common though very few of the Bluefaced Dartmoor are now there. South Devon and Devon cattle are kept for milk production and some improvements have been made to farm buildings to render them suitable for the sale of milk under sanitary conditions.
Sratimtrc

what is needed of British agriculture. If we were driven to i point of relying upon home resources then the improvement of Dartmoor and like moorland areas would have to he faced.”
Lome commoners in a favourable geographical position and linked to the ancient Venville tradition, arc able to own sheep though they neither own nor rent land. They farm out their sheep under what is called the “half-crease” system. A farmer takes charge of the flock and provides it with fodder, and for this service he obtains all the wool and half the lambs. This is typical of a peasant mode of agriculture and is healthy because it assists the men desirous ultimately of acquiring capital in order to buy land; and it also aids the man who while owning land has little ready money for the purchase of stock. Rights of common, if not so widely exercised are still existent, and the Moor has become a centre for grazing.
The farms are made up of small fields enclosed within the grey stone walls or hedges.
“It is estimated that in some parishes a quarter of the enclosures are less than two acres in size and there are some in which single-acre plots are a feature. These are known locally as “Borough Acres”, being survivals of a system which originated in Saxon times. The soil is generally derived from the granite and is thin and hungry, being inherently short of lime, phosphate and potash, ,but free draining and responsive to adequate treatment with dung, lime and fertilizers. The farms are well scattered over the fringes of the Moor and are frequently difficult of access. Electricity and other such amenities are more often than not absent, while water supplies are


Dartmoor, the backbone of the County of Devon.
Convulsive movements raised and lowered the land, so that the great rock mass became part of a vast continent which included the land which we now call France.
The ice ages came and went and, although they did not reach as far south as the embryonic Dartmoor,

snow-slips which preceded the glaciers carried debris which was scattered over the Moor as “clitters.”
In warmer intervals between the centuries of ice, there were great floods of rain, which weathered and split the great rock plateau and rushed down from the high land in steep, stormy torrents

- the beginning of the Taw,the Torridge, the Plym, the Dart and the Teign. The Teign carried with it thousands of tons of rotted granite, which it laid down in its lower reaches as boulder clay. It cut for itself a narrow course through the softer rocks below the Moor and eventually poured into the sea through a sunken valley which we now call the Teign Estuary.
At the mouth of the valley, the current of the river, checked by the sea and by broken rocks, silt and sand, built up an area of beachy mud.
The river, deflected by this barrier, took a sharp turn to the right and cut a way for itself at the foot of the great cliff which we now call the Ness.Cador, Earl of Cornwall, pursued Childric the Saxon Kaiser
The heaving crust of the earth had now become more stable. Life had established itself on the land and the brown bear, the mammoth and the sabre-toothed tiger were wandering over the countryside, hunting, and being hunted by, primitive man.The caves at Brixham and Torquay show traces of man’s habitation and there are signs that wild beasts lived there too.

No doubt Palaeolithic man hunted over the hills around Teignmouth and fished in the Teign, but there is no record of inhabited caves in or near Teignmouth.
Thousands of years later, Bronze Age man lived on Haldon and he regarded the shores of Teignmouth as a good place to obtain supplies of salt for preserving his meat and for adding savour to his food.
References in the works of Greek and Roman writers show that in pre-Roman times there was a flourishing civilization in the West of England, based on the trade in tin, which was used in the manufacture of bronze for weapons. This civilization had its centres near the tin-working areas on the Moor, but salt had to be brought from the coastal areas, and poor villages around the coast subsisted



BOGS

The rivers that flow from Dartmoor— The bogs are their cradles—

A tailor lost on the moor—

A man in Aune Mire , Some of the worst , Cranmere Pool—How the bogs are formed—Adventure in Redmoor Bog—Bog plants—The buckbean—Sweet gale Furze—Yellow broom—Bee-keeping.


DARTMOOR proper consists of that upland region of granite, rising to nearly 2,000 feet above the sea, and actually shooting above that height at a few points, which is the nursery of many of the rivers of Devon.

The Exe, indeed, has its source in Exmoor, and it disdains to receive any affluents from Dartmoor; and the Torridge takes its rise hard by the sea at Wellcombe, within a rifleshot of the Bristol Channel, nevertheless it makes a graceful sweep—tenders a salute—to Dartmoor, and in return receives the liberal flow of the Okement.

The Otter and the Axe, being in the far east of the county, rise in the range of hills that form the natural frontier between Devon and Somerset.

But all the other considerable streams look back upon Dartmoor as their mother.

And what a mother! She sends them forth limpid and pure, full of laughter and leap, of flash and brawl. She does not discharge them laden with brown mud, as the Exe, nor turned like the waters of Egypt to blood, as the Creedy.

A prudent mother, she feeds them regularly, and with considerable deliberation. Her vast bogs act as sponges, absorbing the winter rains, and only leisurely and prudently does she administer the hoarded supply, so that the rivers never run dry in the hottest and most rainless summers.

Of bogs there are two sorts, the great parental peat deposits that cover the highland, where not too steep for them to lie, and the swamps in the bottoms formed by the oozings from the hills that have been arrested from instant discharge into the rivers by the growth of moss and water-weeds, or are checked by belts of gravel and boulder. To see the former, a visit should be made to Cranmere Pool, or to Cut Hill, or Fox Tor Mire. To get into the latter a stroll of ten minutes up a river-bank will suffice.

The existence of the great parent bogs is due either to the fact that beneath them lies the impervious granite, as a floor, somewhat concave, or to the whole rolling upland being covered, as with a quilt, with equally impervious china-clay, the fine deposit of feldspar washed from the granite in the course of ages.

In the depths of the moor the peat may be seen riven like floes of ice, and the rifts are sometimes twelve to fourteen feet deep, cut through black vegetable matter, the product of decay of plants through countless generations. If the bottom be sufficiently denuded it is seen to be white and smooth as a girl's shoulder—the kaolin that underlies all.

On the hillsides, and in the bottoms, quaking-bogs may be lighted upon or tumbled into. To light upon them is easy enough, to get out of one if tumbled into is a difficult matter. They are happily small, and can be at once recognised by the vivid green pillow of moss that overlies them. This pillow is sufficiently close in texture and buoyant to support a man's weight, but it has a mischievous habit of thinning around the edge, and if the water be stepped into where this fringe is, it is quite possible for the inexperienced to go under, and be enabled at his leisure to investigate the lower surface of the covering duvet of porous moss. Whether he will be able to give to the world the benefit of his observations may be open to question.

The thing to be done by anyone who gets into such a bog is to spread his arms out—this will prevent his sinking—and if he cannot struggle out, to wait, cooling his toes in bog water, till assistance comes. It is a difficult matter to extricate horses when they flounder in, as is not infrequently the case in hunting; every plunge sends the poor beasts in deeper.

One afternoon, in the year 1851, I was in the Walkham valley above Merrivale Bridge digging into what at the time I fondly believed was a tumulus, but which I subsequently discovered to be a mound thrown up for the accommodation of rabbits, when a warren was contemplated on the slope of Mis Tor.

Towards evening I was startled to see a most extraordinary object approach me a man in a draggled, dingy, and disconsolate condition, hardly able to crawl along. When he came up to me he burst into tears, and it was some time before I could get his story from him. He was a tailor of Plymouth, who had left his home to attend the funeral of a cousin at Sampford Spiney or Walkhampton, I forget which. At that time there was no railway between Tavistock and Launceston; communication was by coach.

When the tailor, on the coach, reached Roborough Down, "'Ere you are!" said the driver. "You go along there, and you can't miss it!" indicating a direction with his whip.

So the tailor, in his glossy black suit, and with his box-hat set jauntily on his head, descended from the coach, leaped into the road, his umbrella, also black, under his arm, and with a composed countenance started along the road that had been pointed out.

Where and how he missed his way he could not explain, nor can I guess, but instead of finding himself at the house of mourning, and partaking there of cake and gin, and dropping a sympathetic tear, he got up on to Dartmoor, and got—with considerable dexterity—away from all roads.

He wandered on and on, becoming hungry, feeling the gloss go out of his new black suit, and raws develop upon his top-hat as it got knocked against rocks in some of his falls.

Night set in, and, as Homer says, "all the paths were darkened"—but where the tailor found himself there were no paths to become obscured. He lay in a bog for some time, unable to extricate himself. He lost his umbrella, and finally lost his hat. His imagination conjured up frightful objects; if he did not lose his courage, it was because, as a tailor, he had none to lose.

He told me incredible tales of the large, glaring-eyed monsters that had stared at him as he lay in the bog. They were probably sheep, but as nine tailors fled when a snail put out its horns, no wonder that this solitary member of the profession was scared at a sheep.

The poor wretch had eaten nothing since the morning of the preceding day. Happily I had half a Cornish pasty with me, and I gave it him. He fell on it ravenously.

Then I showed him the way to the little inn at Merrivale Bridge, and advised him to hire a trap there and get back to Plymouth as quickly as might be.

"I solemnly swear to you, sir," said he, "nothing will ever induce me to set foot on Dartmoor again. If I chance to see it from the Hoe, sir, I'll avert my eyes. How can people think to come here for pleasure—for pleasure, sir! But there, Chinamen eat birds'-nests. There are depraved appetites among human beings, and only unwholesome-minded individuals can love Dartmoor."

There is a story told of one of the nastiest of mires on Dartmoor, that of Aune Head. A mire, by the way, is a peculiarly watery bog, that lies at the head of a river. It is its cradle, and a bog is distributed indiscriminately anywhere.

A mire cannot always be traversed in safety; much depends on the season. After a dry summer it is possible to tread where it would be death in winter or after a dropping summer.

A man is said to have been making his way through Aune Mire when he came on a top-hat reposing, brim downwards, on the sedge. He gave it a kick, whereupon a voice called out from beneath, "What be you a-doin' to my 'at?" The man replied, "Be there now a chap under'n?" "Ees, I reckon," was the reply, "and a hoss under me likewise."

There is a track through Aune Head Mire that can be taken with safety by one who knows it.

Fox Tor Mire once bore a very bad name. The only convict who really got away from Princetown and was not recaptured was last seen taking a beeline for Fox Tor Mire. The grappling irons at the disposal of the prison authorities were insufficient for the search of the whole marshy tract. Since the mines were started at Whiteworks much has been done to drain Fox Tor Mire, and to render it safe for grazing cattle on and about it.

There is a nasty little mire at the head of Redaven Lake, between West Mill Tor and Yes Tor, and there is a choice collection of them, inviting the unwary to their chill embraces, on Cater's Beam, about the sources of the Plym and Blacklane Brook, the ugliest of all occupying a pan and having no visible outlet The Redlake mires are also disposed to be nasty in a wet season, and should be avoided at all times. Anyone having a fancy to study the mires and explore them for bog plants will find an elegant selection around Wild Tor, to be reached by ascending Taw Marsh and mounting Steeperton Tor, behind which he will find what he desires.


"On the high tableland," says Mr. William Collier, "above the slopes, even higher than many tors, are the great bogs, the sources of the rivers. The great northern bog is a vast tract of very high land, nothing but bog and sedge, with ravines down which the feeders of the rivers pour. Here may be found Cranmere Pool, which is now no pool at all, but just a small piece of bare black bog. Writers of Dartmoor guide-books have been pleased to make much of this Cranmere Pool, greatly to the advantage of the living guides, who take tourists there to stare at a small bit of black bog, and leave their cards in a receptacle provided for them. The large bog itself is of interest as the source of many rivers; but there is absolutely no interest in Cranmere Pool, which is nothing but a delusion and a snare for tourists. It was a small pool years ago, where the rain water lodged; but at Okement Head hard by a fox was run to ground, a terrier was put in, and by digging out the terrier Cranmere Pool was tapped, and has never been a pool since. So much for Cranmere Pool!

"This great northern bog, divided into two sections by Fur Tor and Fur Tor Cut, extends southwards to within a short distance of Great Mis Tor, and is a vast receptacle of rain, which it safely holds throughout the driest summer. Fur Tor Cut is a passage between the north and south parts of this great bog, evidently cut artificially for a pass for cattle and men on horseback from Tay Head, or Tavy Head, to East Dart Head, forming a pass from west to east over the very wildest part of Dartmoor. Anyone can walk over the bogs; there is no danger or difficulty to a man on foot unless he gets exhausted, as some have done. But horses, bullocks, and sheep cannot cross them. A man on horseback must take care where he goes, and this Fur Tor Cut is for his accommodation."[1]

The Fur Tor Mire is not composed of black but of a horrible yellow slime. There is no peat in it, and to cross it one must leap from one tuft of coarse grass to another. The "mires" are formed in basins of the granite, which were originally lakes or tarns, and into which no streams fall bringing down detritus. They are slowly and surely filling with vegetable matter, water-weeds that rot and sink, and as this vegetable matter accumulates it contracts the area of the water surface. In the rear of the long sedge grass or bogbean creeps the heather, and a completely choked-up mire eventuates in a peat bog. Granite has a tendency to form saucer-like depressions. In the Bairischer Wald, the range dividing Bavaria from Bohemia, are a number of picturesque tarns, that look as though they occupied the craters of extinct volcanoes. This, however, is not the case; the rock is granite, but in this case the lakes are so deep that they have not as yet been filled with vegetable deposit. On the Cornish moors is Dosmare Pool. This is a genuine instance of the lake in a granitic district. In Redmoor, near Fox Tor, on the same moors, we have a similar saucer, with a granitic lip, over which it discharges its superfluous water, but it is already so much choked with vegetable growth as to have become a mire. Ten thousand years hence it will be a great peat bog.

I had an adventure in Redmoor, and came nearer looking into the world beyond than has happened to me before or since. Although it occurred on the Cornish moors, it might have chanced on Dartmoor, in one of its mires, for the character of both is the same, and I was engaged in the same autumn on both sets of moors. Having been dissatisfied with the Ordnance maps of the Devon and Cornish moors, and desiring that certain omissions should be corrected, I appealed to Sir Charles Wilson, of the Survey, and he very readily sent me one of his staff, Mr. Thomas, to go over the ground with me, and fill in the particulars that deserved to be added. This was in 1891. The summer had been one of excessive rain, and the bogs were swollen to bursting. Mr. Thomas and I had been engaged, on November 5th, about Trewartha Marsh, and as the day closed in we started for the inhabited land and our lodgings at "Five Janes." But in the rapidly closing day we went out of our course, and when nearly dark found ourselves completely astray, and worst of all in a bog. We were forced to separate, and make our way as best we could, leaping from one patch of rushes or moss to another. All at once I went in over my waist, and felt myself being sucked down as though an octopus had hold of me. I cried out, but Thomas could neither see me nor assist me had he been able to approach. Providentially I had a long bamboo, like an alpenstock, in my hand, and I laid this horizontally on the surface and struggled to raise myself by it. After some time, and with desperate effort, I got myself over the bamboo, and was finally able to crawl away like a lizard on my face. My watch was stopped in my waistcoat pocket, one of my gaiters torn off by the suction of the bog, and I found that for a moment I had been submerged even over one shoulder, as it was wet, and the moss clung to it.

On another occasion I went with two of my children, on a day when clouds were sweeping across the moor, over Langstone Moor. I was going to the collection of hut circles opposite Greenaball, on the shoulder of Mis Tor. Unhappily, we got into the bog at the head of Peter Tavy Brook. This is by no means a dangerous morass, but after a rainy season it is a nasty one to cross.

Simultaneously down on us came the fog, dense as cotton wool. For quite half an hour we were entangled in this absurdly insignificant bog. In getting about in a mire, the only thing to be done is to leap from one spot to another where there seems to be sufficient growth of water-plants and moss to stay one up. In doing this one loses all idea of direction, and we were, I have no doubt, forming figures of eight in our endeavours to extricate ourselves. I knew that the morass was inconsiderable in extent, and that by taking a straight line it would be easy to get out of it, but in a fog it was not possible to take a bee-line. Happily, for a moment the curtain of mist lifted, and I saw on the horizon, standing up boldly, the stones of the great circle that is planted on the crest. I at once shouted to the children to follow me, and in two minutes we were on solid land.

The Dartmoor bogs may be explored for rare plants and mosses. The buckbean will be found and recognised by its three succulent sea-green leaflets, and by its delicately beautiful white flower tinged with pink, in June and July. I found it in 1861 in abundance in Iceland, where it is called Alptar colavr, the swan's clapper. About Hamburg it is known as the "flower of liberty," and grows only within the domains of the old Hanseatic Republic. In Iceland it serves a double purpose. Its thickly interwoven roots are cut and employed in square pieces like turf or felt as a protection for the backs of horses that are laden with packs. Moreover, in crossing a bog, the clever native ponies always know that they can tread safely where they see the white flower stand aloft.

The golden asphodel is common, and remarkably lovely, with its shades of yellow from the deep-tinted buds to the paler expanded flower. The sundew is everywhere that water lodges; the sweet gale has foliage of a pale yellowish green sprinkled over with dots, which are resinous glands. The berries also are sprinkled with the same glands. The plant has a powerful, but fresh and pleasant, odour, which insects dislike. Country people were wont to use sprigs of it, like lavender, to put with their linen, and to hang boughs above their beds. The catkins yield a quantity of wax. The sweet gale was formerly much more abundant, and was largely employed; it went by the name of the Devonshire myrtle. When boiled, the wax rises to the surface of the water. Tapers were made of it, and were so fragrant while burning, that they were employed in sick-rooms. In Prussia, at one time, they were constantly furnished for the royal household.

The marsh helleborine, Epipactis palustris, may be gathered, and the pyramidal orchis, and butterfly and frog orchises, occasionally.

The furze—only out of bloom when Love is out of tune—keeps away from the standing water. It is the furze which is the glory of the moor, with its dazzling gold and its honey breath, fighting for existence against the farmer who fires it every year, and envelops Dartmoor in a cloud of smoke from March to June. Why should he do this instead of employing the young shoots as fodder?

I think that as Scotland has the thistle, Ireland the shamrock, and Wales the leek as their emblems, we Western men of Devon and Cornwall should adopt the furze. If we want a day, there is that of our apostle S. Petrock, on June 4th.

By the streams and rivers and on hedgebanks the yellow broom blazes, yet it cannot rival in intensity of colour and in variety of tint the magnificent furze or gorse. But the latter is not a pleasant plant to walk amidst, owing to its prickles, and especial care must be observed lest it affix one of these in the knee. The spike rapidly works inwards and produces intense pain and lameness. The moment it is felt to be there, the thing to be done is immediately to extract it with a knife. From the blossoms of the furze the bees derive their aromatic honey, which makes that of Dartmoor supreme. Yet bee-keeping is a difficulty there, owing to the gales, that sweep the busy insects away, so that they fail to find their direction home. Only in sheltered combes can they be kept.

The much-relished Swiss honey is a manufactured product of glycerine and pear-juice; but Dartmoor honey is the sublimated essence of ambrosial sweetness in taste and savour, drawn from no other source than the chalices of the golden furze, and compounded with no adventitious matter.

 "Dartmoor," in the Transactions of the Plymouth Institution, 1897-8. Dartmoor and usually called by the name of the Common of Devonshire,

 

                                is parcel of the Duchy of Cornwall,

 and that the foresters and other officers of his majesty and his progenitors Kings and Queens of England have always accustomed to drive the said commons, moors and wastes of other men (lying in like manner about the said forest) home to the corn hedges and leap yeates round about the same Common and forest, some few places only exempted, and that the said foresters and officers have taken and gathered to his majesty’s use at the times of drift within the same commons such profits and other duties as they have and ought to do within the said forest;

 how be it they intend not hereby to prejudice the particular rights which any persons do claim for themselves or their tenants in any commons or several grounds in or adjoining to the said common or forest, but do leave the same to judgment of the law and to the justness of their titles which they make to the same.

“More they do present that all the King’s tenants which are Venvill have accustomed and used to have and take time out of mind in and upon the forest of Dartmoor all things that may do them good, saving vert (which they take to be green oak) and venson, paying for the same their Venvill rents and other dues as hath been time out of mind accustomed, and doing their suits and service to his majesty’s courts of the manor and forest of Dartmoor aforesaid, and also excepting night rest, for the which every one of them have of long time out of mind -yearly paid or ought to pay 3 d., commonly called a grasewait, and also to have and take tyme out of mind common of pasture for all manner of beasts, sheep, cattle in and upon all the moors, wastes, and commons usually called the Common of Devonshire, and also turves, vagges, heath, stone, coal and other things according to their customs, paying nothing for the same but the rents, dues and services aforesaid,

 nevertheless their meaning is that the Venvill men ought not to turn or put into the said forest or common at any time or times any more or other beasts and cattle than they can or may usually winter in and upon their tenements and grounds lying within in Venvill.”

It is not always easy to determine precisely those parishes that were described as being in Venville; such parishes were said to be

settlements next to the Forest of Dartmoor and in addition the rights of Venville men were alleged to extend to those parishes adjoining the purlieus of the Moor. Sometimes the word “adjoining” was most liberally interpreted, and various lists were compiled from i $02 to 1848 which indicate the degree of liberality. Such lists to help to fix in the mind those parishes that come within this Venville area, sometimes in the opinion of owners and occupiers rather than in the view of law or authority.


1502-3 Throwleigh South Tawton

 \ South Zeal J Halstock \ Bclstone J Sourton Isridestowe

 

Parish unknown Chagford Hurston Colliholc Venn

Willandhcad Jurston

higher Jurston ; Tcigncombc liisworthy (in \ (iidlcigh Parish) J I cttaford I owcr Hookney | Kennon (in >■ North Bovcy Parish)

Sheril

Middle Cator (Ircat Cator Nats worthy t irendon I Jnnamed (in W idecombc Parish)

M ana ton \ t liallacombej^

I lolne I Iran Prior I Igbornugh 1829 Throwleigh South Tawton

Belstonc

Sourton

Bridestowc

Chagford

Gidleigh North Bovcy

Widccombc

Manaton

Holne Dean Prior Ugborough 1848

1839

Throwlcigh South Tawton

Belstone

Sourton

Bridestowe

Throwleigh South Tawton

'Belstone

Sourton

Bridestowe

Chagford

Chagford

Gidleigh Gidleigh

North Bovcy North Bovey

Widecombe

Widecombc

Manaton

Manaton

Holne Dean Prior

 Dartmoor

Of some 650 round barrows (nearly all cairns) at least 130 of the smaller ones, mostly in low-lying situations near rivers and streams, have a central stone cist exposed.

 These cists are mostly large enough to have contained a contracted interment but unburnt bones do not survive in the acid soil of Dartmoor. Four of these cists have yielded beakers and another three have yielded other grave-goods normally found with inhumations.

 About six others have yielded cremations assumed Early Bronze Age. Of some 580 small cairns about 130 have retaining circles or kerbs, and at least 57 have a stone row proceeding from the cairn downhill, usually following the line of minimum slope.

 Dartmoor is the classic area for small cairns with retaining circles and stone rows. Many of them, however, are extremely difficult to find unless one is armed with a large-scale map, a compass and plenty of time.

Apart from the fine cist north of Fernworthy reservoir  and one or two other notable sites, the more interesting cairns are on the ‘low’ moor south of the road between Tavistock and Moretonhampstead.

 The largest concentration of cisted cairns is around the Drizzlecombe valley in the Ditsworthy Warren and Plym Steps area, but this is difficult to reach and one has to walk a long way.

 A more accessible group is on Lakehead hill in the midst of Bellever Forest, where the Forestry Commission has made clearances around the cairns. The best known and most often illustrated site here, a cairn with ‘above ground’ cist and retaining circle and stone row, is a conjectural restoration of the late nineteenth century.

Of the large cairns crowning many of the hills, several incorporate tors or smaller outcrops. Amongst the largest are the Three Barrows although they have been plundered for stone for centuries. The linear group on Hamel Down includes Two Barrows, the northern of which yielded in 1877 a cremation accompanied by a grooved bronze dagger and an amber pommel with gold pointille decoration (destroyed by enemy action on Plymouth in 1941).

TWO THOUSAND YEARS IN EXETER


Again, the site of Exeter lay some ten miles up-river from its mouth and this was important when invaders were most likely to come by sea and to attack coastal settlements.

At Exeter one was safe from such attacks, or at least there was ample warning of strange ships coming into the estuary.

From the volcanic hill we call Rougemont one could look right down to the mouth of the shining estuary and a strange fleet could be spotted hours before it could attack.


For all these reasons Exeter made a good trading-place, and above all, of course, it had something to sell— the products o f a rich and varied countryside.


And so the stage was set for the village to grow into a town, and later still into a rich medieval city, on its hilltop in the far West of England.


The Coming of the Romans
The ancient British name for Exeter seems to have been Caerwysc,meaning “the fortified town on the Exe” , but an even older name occurs in the tradition of a siege by the Roman general Vespasian in the year 49.


The tradition tells us that there was already a settlement here when Vespasian was sent westwards, and so supplements the evidence of the Hellenistic coins.

At the time of this siege Exeter is said to have
been called by the rather formidable name of Caer-pen-huel-goit, which means “ die fortified town on the hill near the high or great wood” .


Such long descriptive place-names are a characteristic of Wales to this day, and it is quite likely that Exeter had some such ancient names as this in prehistoric times.

“ The fortified town on the hill”
aptly describes the first site of Exeter, with its earthwork on the end of the ridge or hill.

“The high or great wood” probably refers to die wooded hills to the north of the city, what we now call Stoke Hill and Pennsylvania, which would have been densely wooded in prehistoric times.

Stoke Woods today are a remnant of this great wood of two thousand and more years ago.
The tradition of a siege by Vespasian has generally been discredited by modem historians, mainly on the ground that it appears in the writings of a chronicler (Geoffrey of Monmouth) who is known to be very inaccurate, if no worse.


He tells us that Vespasian was sent down by the Emperor Claudius to subdue South-West Britain, and that he besieged Exeter for eight days without success.

A British king then arrived from the east with an army and fought with Vespasian.
Despite great losses on both sides neither got die victory. The next

Statues of King Lud and his sons in the porch of St Dunstan-in-the-West Church in the City of London Lud Welsh Lludd map Beli Mawr), according to Geoffrey of Monmouth's legendary History of the Kings of Britain and related medieval texts, was a king of Britain in pre-Roman times who founded London and was buried at Ludgate. He was the eldest son of Geoffrey's King Heli, and succeeded his father to the throne. He was succeeded, in turn, by his brother Cassibelanus. Lud may be connected with the Welsh mythological figure Lludd Llaw Eraint, earlier Nudd Llaw Eraint, cognate with the Irish Nuada Airgetlám, a king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and the Brittonic god Nodens. However, he was a separate figure in Welsh tradition and is usually treated as such.[1]