“I am going to Dartmoor,” simple statement but if one wanted to be really pedantic the reply should be; “which one?” Sounds silly? well actually no, although everybody thinks of Dartmoor as being the 368 square miles much of which is encompassed by the Dartmoor National Park it’s not. ‘Dartmoor’ is but one name under whose umbrella a whole host of smaller moors shelter. Just to confuse things a little further the term ‘moor’ can just as easily refer to a common or parts of it.
It is no startling revelation that the word ‘moor’ comes from the Old English word mōr which meant a morass, swamp, hill or mountain, Clark Hall, p.240. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term ‘moor‘ as being; “A piece of unenclosed waste ground; uncultivated ground cover with heather.”
To take things down to a more regional level, William Crossing defines a ‘moor’ as; “This name is attached to many of the parish commons surrounding the forest and forming part of its purlieus (a tract on the border of a forest, especially one earlier included in it and still partly subject to forest laws). It is however, found more particularly in the southern part of the moor. It is also attached to certain parts of a common, and occurs in the forest as well,” p.26.
Eric Hemery basically concurs when he defines the term as; “An area of rough pasture, elevated but not characteristically mountainous. Some of the south Dartmoor Commons, apportioned to parishes adjoining the forest, are so named… (On north Dartmoor such tracts are usually known as commons),” pp. 65 – 66.
Below is a list of ‘moors’ that I have found and as you can see it’s quite a substantial list but it must be remembered that doubtless many of the older ‘moor’ place-names have been lost in the mists of time. Many of these place-names are made up of two elements, firstly a generic one which refers to a place or location along with a descriptive one of ‘moor’, ie. Dean Moor – meaning the moor of the settlement of Dean. Others are formed by two descriptive elements such as ‘Broad Moor’ – meaning wide moor. Finally there are a couple of names made up of a personal element which consists of a surname and the descriptive element of ‘moor’ such as; Sanderscott Moor and Wilkey’s Moor.
|ADDICOMBE SLAGGETS MOOR||SX 647 585|
|BLACKATON BALL MOOR||SX 688 782|
|BRENT MOOR||SX 67 63|
|BROAD MOOR||SX 526 785|
|BROADMOOR||SX 684 598|
|BUCKFASTLEIGH MOOR||SX 677 678|
|CHITTLEFORD MOOR||SX 721 751|
|CLAY TOR MOOR||SX 568 781|
|DEAN MOOR||SX 683 657|
|DUNNABRIDGE MOOR||SX 655 744|
|DUNSTONE MOOR||SX 716 751|
|HARFORD MOOR||SX 647 625|
|HARTLAND MOOR||SX 64 80|
|HEATHERCOMBE MOOR||SX 719 807|
|HIGHER PREWLEY MOOR||SX 54 89||AKA Sourton Common|
|HINTER MOOR||SX 601 660||AKA Inner Moor and Inter Moor.|
|HOCKMOOR||SX 728 675|
|HOLNE MOOR||SX 67 70|
|INNER MOOR||SX 601 660||AKA Inter Moor and Hinter Moor.|
|INNER STAL MOOR||SX 63 62|
|INTER MOOR||SX 601 660||AKA Inner Moor and Hinter Moor.|
|LANGSTONE MOOR||SX 55 78||AKA Launceston Moor|
|LAUNCESTON MOOR||SX 55 78||AKA Langstone Moor|
|LEE MOOR||SX 59 64|
|LOWERY MOOR||SX ??? ???|
|MISTOR MOOR||SX 56 75||Part of Walkhampton Common.|
|OUTER STAL MOOR||SX 62 65|
|PENN MOOR||SX 60 63|
|PREWLEY MOOR||SX 543 907|
|PUTTY MOOR||SX 546 819|
|ROWTER MOOR||SX 61 79|
|SANDERSCOTT MOOR||SX ??? ???||Near Cosdon Beacon|
|SHADEN MOOR||SX 547 636|
|SHAUGH MOOR||SX 57 64|
|STALL MOOR||SX 62 64|
|STONE DOWN MOOR||SX ??? ???|
|STOOKY MOOR||SX 56 79|
|UGBOROUGH MOOR||SX 65 61|
|WELKERSMORE||SX 6304 5854||AKA Wilkey’s Moor|
|WHELKERSMORE||SX 6304 5854||AKA Wilkey’s Moor|
|WHITE MOOR||SX 633 892|
|WILKEY’S MOOR||SX 6304 5854||AKA Whelkersmore, Welkersmore|
There is another moor that strictly has no business on the page and that is ‘The Moor‘ which can be found at Ordnance Survey grid reference SX 586 741. Compared to most of the entries above this one is fairly modern, it is a British slang term for the infamous Dartmoor prison.
Clark Hall, J. R. 2004. A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Toronto: Toronto University Press.
Crossing, W. 1990. Crossing’s Guide to Dartmoor. Newton Abbot: Peninsula Press.
Hemery, E. 1983. High Dartmoor. London: Hale Publishing.