Brent Tor

Brent Tor, Devon, England.


Around the Tor are Iron Age earthworks, the remnants of a Hill fort.

Unusually, the fortifications are at the base of the Tor, rather than the summit as is more normal (compare with Brent Knoll in Somerset).

No serious archaeological work has been carried out on the site. However, the northern ramparts in particular are well preserved, displaying a multi-vallate pattern characteristic of the Iron-A, or early -B, culture.

There are three distinct consecutive ramparts in this sector, and traces of internal partitioning.

The Church of St Michel de Rupe (“Saint Michael of the Rock”) dates to the 13th century. At one point, the Church may have been used as a Beacon tower, used to spread word of enemies seen out to sea. It is also said that the church was to be built at the bottom of the tor, but the devil who didn’t want to see its construction would move the construction to the top of the hill each night to stop its construction. Dissuaded by the devil, the locals continued with its construction in defiance.

Dates: Iron Age
Access: Free access to the public
Feature: A medieval Church stands in the centre of the fort
Pilot/photographer: Steve Larcombe
Submitted:  12-11-18

High Circuit:


Low Circuit:

Fly Over 1:

Fly Over 2:

Aerial Plan View:

Brent Tor plan

Archaeologists Notes:*

EN4237 Brent Tor, Devon
HER: Devon MDV1669
NMR: SX 48 SE 5
SM: 1104797
NGR: SX471804
Status: Unconfirmed
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Summary: Possible contour hillfort located on rocky Brent Tor, conspicuous landmark on fringe of Dartmoor. Above River Burn to E. Curving, incomplete, rampart appears to enclose N and E sides of the tor, with precipitous outcrops providing definition on W. Wall/bank to 1m high on inside, but looking much steeper from without, with steep, apparently artificial, earthwork slope to 5m high and 10m wide at base. Possible traces of ditch in places. Possible structures behind rampart. Possible post medieval mineral extraction in interior confuses interpretation. Earthworks on N slopes of tor possibly Dark Age, medieval or later date and could be associated with fair held between 1231 and 1550. Hill subsequently used by abbots of Tavistock as site for Brentor parish church (St Michael’s). Rocky grassland and bare rock.

*Extract from Oxford University Atlas of Hillforts 

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