Scheduled Monument: Standing stones on eastern edge of Furzehill Common
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
10 November 1969
Date last amended
10 November 2015
Summary of Monument
A stone setting on Furzehill Common 1190m NNW of Hoaroak.
Reasons for Designation
Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the others, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later prehistoric period. Examples include burial mounds (`barrows'), standing stones, stone alignments and stone settings. Stone settings are arrangements of small upright stones placed in roughly geometric patterns, many having a sophisticated layout. They are considered to be almost without parallel in Britain and Ireland. Stone settings were being constructed and used from the Late Neolithic period to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2500-1000BC) and provide rare evidence of ceremonial and ritual practices during these periods. Due to their rarity and longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered to be of national importance.
Despite a few of the original stones being missing, the presence of socket holes indicates their original locations and, as a very unusual and rare type of monument the stone setting on Furzehill Common 1190m NNW of Hoaroak will inevitably hold key archaeological and environmental information regarding its construction, use, ritual practice and its overall landscape context. These monument types are incredibly rare and as such are of great importance to our understanding of the past on Exmoor.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 10 November 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a stone setting situated on an east facing slope on the eastern side of Furzehill Common, overlooking the valley of Hoaroak Water. The stone setting survives as three roughly parallel rows of stones or stone sites laid out in the shape of a parallelogram. Some of the stones are apparently missing or broken, and there are up to three socket hollows and 10 stones remaining standing. The stones range in height from 0.1m to 0.6m. Partial excavations by Chanter and Worth in 1905 showed a socket hole contained trigger stones used to pack an upright stone originally.
Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are scheduled separately.
PastScape Monument No:-35427
National Grid Reference: SS 73894 44707