Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park

Aish Ridge “Newtake Wall” and Inscribed Boulders and Stones

Aish Ridge is located between the hamlet of Aish (which is north west of South Brent) and Corringdon Ball. On the north side of the ridge there is a row of boulders, of which one is inscribed with “R.O 1808” in a square cartouche. Additionally, there is a further inscribed boulder a short distance to the west of upright boulders which appears to have several names inscribed on it. It is conjectured that the row of boulders are an unfinished newtake wall. Further to these boulders, there are two upright stones in the adjacent wall each bearing the initial “T”. The history behind the two unusually inscribed boulders and the two “T” stones is unknown at the time of this post being published.

My thanks to Mark Fenlon with information regarding the “T” stones and the “Wren / Tucker” stone.

Aish Ridge Map
Sketch map showing the location of the “newtake” boulders, the two inscribed boulders and the two inscribed “T” stones covered in this post. The boulders are shown as two grey circular markings on modern OS maps but are not annotated.
Aish Ridge Map small
“Zoomed” in sketch map of the boulders and stones which are the subject of this post.
Aish 1
Approaching the “newtake” wall and inscribed boulders from the east. In the distance beyond the fields are Corringdon Ball, top left and Wacka Tor (Brent Fore Hill) top right. The boulders are recorded on the Dartmoor HER as an “unfinished newtake wall running from the wall of one of the staddon fields south west onto the open ridge”.
Aish 2
The “newtake” boulders are parallel to the long narrow fields above gribblesdown farm and is conjectured that they represent an attempt to enclose the furthest open fields of aish manor. There are 12 boulders over a length of about 10m.
Aish 10
“T” inscribed upright stone embedded into the wall on the north side of Aish Ridge.
Aish 11
Contextual picture of the “T” inscribed upright stone which can be found at SX68193 60967.
Aish 12
The second “T” inscribed stone.
Aish 13
Contextual picture of the “T” inscribed upright stone which can be found at SX68142 60973.
Aish 20
Another contextual picture of the “T” upright stone in relation to the “newtake” wall and the two inscribed boulders in this post. It has been suggested (ref. Brewer) that the “T” stones relate to possibly local names of Treeby or Treelands.
Aish 3
The fourth boulder from the west end of the row of “newtake” boulders is a square cuboid inscribed within a cartouche with “R.O 1808”. The boulder can be located at SX68129 60961.
Aish 4
The story behind the inscription and date is unknown.
Aish 14
Additionally, the R.O 1808 boulder has a line of slots on the down hill side, which appear to have been an attempt to split the boulder in two. This boulder is recorded in the ‘Parish Check List’ for South Brent by Rosemary Robinson (as ref item 625).
Aish 15
Approx. 20m to the west of the “newtake” wall is an unusually inscribed stone. It has the words “WREN” and “TUCKER” inscribed horizontally into it. There also appears to the letters “TDA” or “TOA” are inscribed vertically down. This close up picture shows the inscription is just about discernible.
Aish 16
The WREN inscription on the boulder is quite clear, as is the “TDA” or “TOA”. The TUCKER inscription horizontally next to the “A” is also inscribed if you look closely at the photograph.
Aish 17
After a “mud makeover” the inscriptions become very clear. In a letter to the Dartmoor Magazine, issue 37 (page 32), Dave Brewer suggests the inscription could possibly read “TO WREN A.TUCKER” and that it could be a memorial.
Aish 18
The WREN / TUCKER / TOA boulder also has a four groove ‘slots’ running horizontally towards the top of the rock.  This boulder appears in the South Brent Parish Check List (ref item 553) as well but not on account of its inscriptions but on account of the slots (which are examples of rock splitting pre tare and feather). This stone can be located at SX68108 60963.
Aish 19
The WREN / TUCKER / TOA stone in relation to the “newtake” wall.
Aish 9
Zoomed in view of the two inscribed boulders contained in this post.

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