MDE1039 - Undated parallel stone rows at West Middleton (Monument)


Two pairs of parallel stone rows together with several individual stones situated in a field at West Middleton. Their general layout and their position on a prepared terrace suggests an agricultural use.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Centred SS 6487 4589. Two pairs of parallel stone rows, both on a northwest to southeast axis, and six individual stones are situated on two level terraces or platforms on a west hillslope. They are enclosed by a field hedge on the north and east sides and a revetted field bank on the south and west sides. The stones, of Morte slate are all similar in size and shape, being 0.45 metres to 0.6 metres high. Some have been removed and others broken off and almost all can be slightly shaken so they are not deeply embedded. The uniformity of the stones their position on prepared terraces and general layout suggest an agricultural use, unless they are the unlikely surviving part of converging prehistoric stone rows in a pasture field. They are a multiplicity of the Exmoor 'stone settings' with as usual no tradition or in this case field name to suggest origin or purpose. A Preservation Order made in 1968 by the Department of Environment (Mr D A Sherlock) has the sole observation that the stones form an unusual grouping. Surveyed at 1:2500. [1-3] SS 64874590. Standing stones at West Middleton. Scheduled, Devon 638. [4,5] (Centred SS 648459) Stones (NAT). [6] Two converging double rows about 25 metres long containing 45 stones in all. There are a further eight stones between the rows at the north end. All are slate slabs 2.5 - 3.0 metres apart and 0.4 - 0.8 metres high except for some broken ones that are lower. Rows are on terrace and the stones are roughly graded into groups of similar height. Probably rick stands. Plan. [7] Forty eight stones in a field of rough pasture arranged in two pairs of parallel rows with seven stones irregularly spaced between the rows towards the north end. The rows are closer to each other at their south end. The two rows are each about 110 feet long with stones spaced about 8 feet apart. Unbroken stones are lozenge-shaped or rectangular in cross section and 23 to 27 inches high. Fourteen of the stones are broken and visible only at grass level. Gaps in the rows indicate that three are missing and there are a few loose stones scattered around the vicinity which may have once formed part of the monument. [8] Sketch plan of stones completed. Possibly one or two stones lost since Ordnance Survey visit in 1972. [10] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 9. [11] The site was rated in poor condition in 2009 as only 37 stones could be identified of the 45 recorded in the 1989 RCHME survey, although the site appeared in good condition at the time of the visit. The site currently appears well managed with light grazing and with no obvious areas of active damage. SJB 20 March 2013. [12] The site was surveyed in June 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 6. [13] Monument record reviewed as part of NRHE to HER pilot project. [14,15] The site was surveyed in 2018 as part of the Exmoor Standing Stone Condition Survey which identified 44 stones. No new damage or significant deterioration was recorded at the site. Livestock graze the area with minimal rubbing, keeping the stones highly visible through their grazing. The prehistoric authenticity of this site is not entirely clear, with the two main rows present on separate terraces. [16,17]

Sources/Archives (17)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Mr Smyth, West Middleton, Parracombe.
  • <2> Technical drawing: Fletcher, M.J.. 1972. West Middleton/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 30 August 1972.
  • <4> Report: Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology. 1979. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology, Publication 5. P. 14, List of Scheduled Ancient Monuments in Devon.
  • <5> Index: Department of the Environment (IAM). 1978. List of Ancient Monuments of England and Wales 1978. P. 42.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1980. 1:10000 Map, 1980. 1:10000.
  • <7> Report: Quinnell, N.V. and Dunn, C.J.. 1992. Lithic monuments within the Exmoor National Park: A new survey for management purposes by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 31-2.
  • <8> Index: Ancient Monuments. 1968. West Middleton Standing Stones. The Schedule of Monuments.
  • <9> Article in serial: Fowler, M.J.F.. 1993. Standing Stones of Exmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 125. p 170.
  • <10> Report: Curtis, G.. 1991. West Middleton Stone Rows. Site visit.
  • <11> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <12> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information.
  • <13> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <14> Archive: Historic England. 2016. NRHE to HER prototype website test. 34664.
  • <15> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34664, Extant 12 July 2016.
  • <16> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MDE1039.
  • <17> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018 - Scheduled Standing Stones. MDE1039.



Grid reference Centred SS 6487 4589 (36m by 41m)
Map sheet SS64NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2019
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/6
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20101
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NW6
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34664
  • OSA: SS64NW6

Record last edited

Jul 8 2021 11:24AM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.