A Book of Dartmoor

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A Book of Dartmoor  (1900)  by Sabine Baring-Gould
Introductory
Yes Tor - A Book of Dartmoor.jpg

A


BOOK OF DARTMOOR


BY S. BARING-GOULD





WITH SIXTY ILLUSTRATIONS


NEW YORK : NEW AMSTERDAM BOOK CO.

LONDON: METHUEN & CO.

1900

 

TO THE MEMORY OF

MY UNCLE

THE LATE

THOMAS GEORGE BOND

ONE OF THE PIONEERS OF
DARTMOOR EXPLORATION

TO THE MEMORY OF

MY UNCLE

THE LATE

THOMAS GEORGE BOND

ONE OF THE PIONEERS OF
DARTMOOR EXPLORATION

PREFACE

AT the request of my publishers I have written A Book of Dartmoor. I had already dealt with this upland district in two chapters in my Book of the West, vol. i., "Devon." But in their opinion this wild and wondrous region deserved more particular treatment than I had been able to accord to it in the limited space at my disposal in the above-mentioned book.

I have now entered with some fulness, but by no means exhaustively, into the subject; and for those who desire a closer acquaintance with, and a more precise guide to the several points of interest on "the moor," I would indicate three works that have preceded this.

1. Mr. J. Brooking Rowe in 1896 republished the Perambulation of Dartmoor, first issued by his great-uncle, Mr. Samuel Rowe, in 1848.

The original work was written by a man whose mind was steeped in the crude archaeological theories of his period. The new editor could not dispense with this matter, which pervaded the work, without a complete recasting of the book, and this he was reluctant to attempt. He limited himself to cautioning the reader to put no trust in these exploded theories. The result is that the reader is tripping over uncertain ground, never knowing what is to be accepted and what rejected.

2. Mr. J. H. W. Page's Exploration of Dartmoor, 1889, is admirable as a guide. The author, however, was unhappily ignorant of prehistoric archæology, and allowed himself to be led astray by the false antiquarianism that had marked the early writers. Consequently, his book is capital as a guide to what is to be seen, but eminently unreliable in its explanation of the character and age of the antiquities.

3. A capital book is Mr. W. Crossing's Amid Devonia's Alps, 1888, which is wholly free from pseudo-antiquarianism. It is brief, it is small and cheap, and an admirable handbook for pedestrians.

In no way do I desire to supersede these works. I have taken pains rather to supplement them than to step into the places occupied by their writers.

The plan I have adopted in this gossiping volume is to give a general idea of the moor and of its antiquities—the latter as interpreted by up-to-date archæologists—and then to suggest rambles made from certain stations on the fringe, or in the heart of the region.

Here and there it has been inevitable that I should twice mention the same object of interest, once in the introductory portion, and again when I have to refer to it as coming within the radius of a proposed ramble.

As a boy I had an uncle, T. G. Bond, who lived near Moreton Hampstead, and who was passionately devoted to Dartmoor. He inspired me with the same love. In 1848 he presented me, as a birthday present, with Rowe's Perambulation of Dartmoor. It arrested my attention, engaged my imagination, and was to me almost as a Bible. When I obtained a holiday from my books, I mounted my pony and made for the moor. I rode over it, round it, put up at little inns, talked with the moormen, listened to their tales and songs in the evenings, and during the day sketched and planned the relics that I then fondly supposed were Druidical.

The child is father to the man. Years have rolled away. I have wandered over Europe, have rambled to Iceland, climbed the Alps, been for some years lodged among the marshes of Essex—yet nothing that I have seen has quenched in me the longing after the fresh air, and love of the wild scenery of Dartmoor. There is far finer mountain scenery elsewhere, but there can be no more bracing air, and the lone upland region possesses a something of its own —a charm hard to describe, but very real—which engages for once and for ever the affections of those who have made its acquaintance. "After all said," observed my uncle to me one day, when my father had dilated on the glories of the Pyrenees, "Dartmoor is to itself, and to me—a passion." And to his memory I dedicate this volume.

My grateful thanks are due to Messrs. R, Burnard, P. F. S. Amery, J. Shortridge, and C. E. Robinson for permission to employ photographs taken by them.

S. BARING-GOULD

Lew Trenchard, Devon

CONTENTS

CHAPTER
PAGE
I. Bogs 1
II. Tors 14
III. The Ancient Inhabitants 29
IV. The Antiquities 52
V. The Freaks 74
VI. Dead Men's Dust 82
VII. The Camps 97
VIII. Tin-streaming 108
IX. Lydford 124
X. Belstone 144
XI. Chagford 157
XII. Manaton 171
XIII. Holne 193
XIV. Ivybridge 209
XV. Yelverton 220
XVI. Post Bridge 241
XVII. Princetown 259

ILLUSTRATIONS
FULL-PAGE
Yes Tor
From a drawing by E. A. Tozer, Esq.
Frontispiece
A Tor, showing Granite Weathering
From a photograph by J. Shortridge, Esq.
To face page 14
Vixen Tor
From a photograph by J. Shortridge, Esq.
" 18
Rocks by Hey Tor
From a photograph by J. Amery, Esq.
" 24
The Pedigree of a Tomb
From a drawing by S. Baring-Gould.
" 56
Stone Rows, Drizzlecombe
From a drawing by S. Baring-Gould.
" 60
The Pedigree of a Headstone
From a drawing by S. Baring-Gould.
" 64
Bowerman's Nose
From a drawing by A. B. Collier, Esq.
" 74
Whit Tor Camp
Planned by Rev. J. K. Anderson, drawn by S. Baring-Gould.
" 97
Brent Tor
From a drawing by E. A. Tozer, Esq.
" 102
Blowing-house under Black Tor
From a drawing by A. B. Collier, Esq.
" 108
On the Lyd
From a drawing by E. A. Tozer, Esq.
" 124
Hare Tor
From a drawing by E. A. Tozer, Esq.
" 141
North Wyke Gate House
From a drawing by Mrs. C. L. Weekes.
" 152
Grimspound
From a photograph by C. E. Robinson, Esq.
" 165
Near Manaton
From a drawing by A. B. Collier, Esq.
" 171
Hound Tor
From a drawing by E. A. Tozer, Esq.
" 175
Hey Tor Rocks
From a drawing by E.A. Tozer, Esq.
" 176
Lower Tar
From a photograph by J. Amery, Esq.
" 190
The Cleft Rock
From a photograph by J. Amery, Esq.
" 196
Yar Tor
From a drawing by E. A. Tozer, Esq.
" 199
The Dewerstone
From a drawing by E. A. Tozer, Esq.
" 220
Sheeps Tor
From a drawing by A. B. Collier, Esq.
" 225
Portion of Screen, Sheeps Tor
Drawn by F. Bligh Bond, Esq.
" 228
On the Meavy
Drawn by A. B. Collier, Esq.
" 231
Lake-head Kistvaen
From a photograph by R. Burnard, Esq.
" 244
Staple Tor
From a photograph by J. Shortridge, Esq.
" 269
Blowing-house on the Meavy
Drawn by A. B. Collier, Esq.
" 270
 
IN THE TEXT
page
Flint Arrow-heads 37
Flint Scrapers 45
A Cooking-pot 46
Flint Scrapers 49
Fragment of Cooking-pot 50
Cross, Whitchurch Down 65
Plan of H ut, Shapley Common 67
Hut Circle, Grimspound 69
Logan Rock. The Rugglestone, Widdecombe 77
Roos Tor Logans 79
Covered Chamber, Whit Tor 100
Construction of Stone and Timber Wall 101
Tin-workings, Nillacombe 109
Mortar-stone, Okeford 111
Slag-pounding Hollows, Gobbetts 13
Smelting in 1556 14
Plan of Blowing-House, Deep Swincombe 115
Tin-mould, Deep Swincombe 117
Smelting Tin in Japan 119
A Primitive Hinge 133
Inscription on Sourton Cross 142
Inscribed Stone, Sticklepath 150
Plan of Stone Rows near Caistor Rock 161
 " " Grimspound 166
 " " Hut at Grimspound 169
Fragment of Potter 177
Ornamented Pottery 179
Tom Pearce'S Ghostly Mare 191
Crazing-Mill Stone, Upper Gobbettsv204
Method of using The Mill-Stones 205
Chancel Capital, Meavy 237
Blowing-House below Black Tor 271