MDE1044 - Prehistoric quincunx above the River Bray (Monument)


A prehistoric stone setting (known as a "quincunx") forming an almost perfect square with a central stone, on a southwest facing slope above the River Bray. It measures about 26 metres square.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS69794333) Stones (NAT). [1] Longstone Allotment, Chapman Barrows. An isolated stone setting forming a quadrilateral with a centre stone marking the exact intersection of the diagonals. The sides are:- north-west: 59 feet, 11 inches; northeast: 60 feet 11 inches; southwest: 52 feet 7 inches; southeast: 61 feet 3 inches. One stone is broken off near the ground level and the largest is 33 inches high. [2] As described by Chanter and Worth. Situated in rushy moorland the stones are not deeply embedded though some packing stones have been used. Setting sides 15-18 metres, height of largest stone 0.8 metres. Grinsell gives national grid reference as SS 699 430 but same description [9]. Mcdonnell sees a low mound at the south of the site [4]. Divorced survey at 1:2500. [3] Five stones in quincunx, all pointing east to west. [5] SS 6979 4333. A setting of five stones, four of which form an almost perfect square with the fifth near the intersection of the diagonals. The site lies on a southwest facing slope above the River Bray in an area covered reeds, heather and long grass, at 468 metres Ordnance Datum, which possesses good views to the south and southwest.The geology is the Combe Martin Slates and the monument is composed of thin shaley slabs.The axis of this setting, termed a quincunx, are almost exactly north to south and east to west, with sides of 26.2 and 25.4 metres respectively. Contrary to Chanter and Worth [2] the centre stone does not mark the intersection; a line between stones C and E passes 25 centimetres to its south. The orientation of the stones are, with the exception of C, uniformly east to west. Stone C, although portrayed by Chanter and Worth [2] and described by Eardly Wilmot [5] as being similarly orientated, actually lies north to south. It may be that this stone has fallen and been incorrectly restored. The low mound seen by McDonnell is not apparent. [6,7] Only the centre stone is now standing. Two stones are missing, two broken at ground level. Probably damaged recently. [14] Four out of the five orginal stones were located. None that are still standing remain unbroken and three are [or nearly are] recumbent. The site is deteriorating moderately quickly, with stone E deteriorating more rapidly than the rest of the site. Stones A, B and D are considered to be in a fair condition with low vulnerabiility and slow deterioration. Stone E is considered to be in very bad condition with high vunerability and rapid deterioration. [15] Geophysical survey undertaken in 2014 implied that this may not be an isolated feature. Located to the east close by is what may be a dense spread of stone, perhaps the remains of a number of small cairns (MEM23347). The features appear to respect the boundaries of one another, perhaps indicating a similarity in date. [16] The remains of a quincunx at the top of the south facing slope on the western side of Challacombe Common. Whilst 5 stones have been recorded here only 4 were found during this survey, as in 2012. However, whilst Stone B was identified in 2012 this survey could not locate it but instead located Stone C. The stones historically were all upright until relatively recently, and most of them are “post-like” in shape and vary in height. The sites condition is considered to be “poor” as the site was largely intact as a quincunx just prior to the 1989-1991 survey. Now all but one stub of Stone E remains upright, which itself is vulnerable now to livestock and vehicles. Sheep are also rubbing against Stone E creating a slight hollow. [17] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [18]

Sources/Archives (18)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1963. 6 Inch Map: 1963.
  • <2> Article in serial: Chanter, J.F. + Worth, R.H.. 1905. The Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor and its Borders. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. I. P. 391.
  • <3> Unpublished document: BUCKLEY, MHB. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 22 August 1972.
  • <4> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS 6943B.
  • <5> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H. 1983. Thirty Exmoor stone-settings.
  • <6> Technical drawing: Probert, S.. 1989. Chapman Barrows/ink survey . 1:100. General: Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. SA Probert, 13 January 1989.
  • <8> 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.
  • <9> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. P. 189.
  • <10> Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Devon. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 1. P. 369-371.
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF/CPE/UK/1980.3088 (April 1947).
  • <12> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 13/120 (May 1977).
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . NMR 556943: SF 1748/426 (23 April 1980).
  • <14> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Telephone call from E Mold, 18 January 1988.
  • <15> Report: Pearce, G.. 2012. A Condition Survey of Selected Standing Stone Settings on Exmoor National Park Authority Owned Land. p5-10.
  • <16> Report: Mitcham, Doug. 2014. Geophysical surveys of a rectangular enclosure and stone setting on Challacombe Common, Exmoor National Park.
  • <17>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MDE1044. [Mapped features: #45270 Stone A., MDE1044; #45271 Stone C., MDE1044; #45272 Stone D., MDE1044; #45273 Stone E., MDE1044]
  • <18> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34675, Extant 8 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12132
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/60
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20234
  • Local List Status (Candidate)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE2
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34675



Grid reference Centred SS 6980 4333 (59m by 54m) (4 map features)
Map sheet SS64SE

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Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Nov 8 2021 9:25PM


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