Dinna Clerks

Factual Story

Dinna ClerksBy: RAMMBack to Dartmoor Stories

Location: Dinna Clerks

  • Dinna Clerks image 1Jug

Dinna Clerks is a deserted Dartmoor farmstead, it has been described as the Pompeii of Dartmoor. Life would have been hard at Dinna Clerks, it was isolated and on the margins - both of society but also of survival.


At some point around 1350 the roof caught fire and came crashing down. The fire brought an end to habitation on the site. Nobody seems to have been hurt, but the site was abandoned. However, this sudden calamity effectively froze the house in time. When the local archaeologist, Mrs E.M. Minter, excavated the site she found the house contents had been left exactly where they had been used that fateful day.


The finds give a fascinating insight to everyday life at Dinna Clerks. Near to the hearth in the main living area of the house some wooden bowls were found. Nearby was a cooking pot sunk into the floor. This must have been the kitchen and eating area.


The farmstead had to grow most of its own food. The small fields were used to grow oats, rye and a few vegetables. Some cows, sheep and almost certainly a pig were kept. The cooking pot found at the site would have been used to make a lot of gruel and porridge!


Jugs and pots were found in a small separate area at the top end of the house. This might have been a cooler room used as a larder.


A penny of King Henry III was found in the corner of the house where animals were kept. It was probably lost accidentally. Dinna Clerks must have been abandoned sometime shortly after the date of this coin.

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