The Dartmoor Perambulations
In 1240 King Henry III ordered by a writ which was dated the 13th of June that the lands of his brother Richard of Cornwall should confirmed by a boundary perambulation. The lands in question were the Forest of Dartmoor and the Manor of Lydford which he had previously granted to Richard in 1239. It was decreed that the Sheriff of Devon and 12 "lawful knights of the country" should undertake the mission. Accordingly the party consisted of the Sheriff, who Tristram Risdon lists as Gervas de Horton and the following men:
The perambulators completed their task on the 24th of July which is a clear indication of how quickly the King's wishes were obeyed. The boundary that was delineated by the perambulation passed through numerous points which consisted of geographical and prehistoric features and are as follows:
Many of the above names are clearly of an ancient origin and are no longer listed on the OS map. The following list comprises of the perambulation points and their modern names:
In 1609 another perambulation was carried out and its findings were presented to a Survey Court in the August of that year. The main purpose of this perambulation was to clarify many of the bound points and modify others. There were additional boundary points added between those of the original 1240 ones.
The 1240 Perambulation
Today there is a challenge walk called 'The Ancient Boundary Walk of Dartmoor' and this takes in the route of the perambulation. The walk was devised by Ian Kirkpatrick in 1982 and it his he who officiates over those taking part. Since its inception there have been 1,082 walkers to successfully complete the 42.5 miles of its route. The route winds its way through just about every aspect of 'wild Dartmoor' taking in tor, streams, bog and fen. Personally I have not done it yet but every year it is on my 'tuit' list and hopefully in 2006 I will finally get around 'tu it'.
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