MDE1077 - Prehistoric hillslope enclosure on Kentisbury Down (Monument)


A prehistoric hillslope enclosure measuring approximately 90 metres by 70 metres and partly levelled by ploughing. The interior is uneven, possibly indicating settlement in the form of house platforms.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 64274330) Camp (NR) [1] A simple enclosure, consisting of an almost ploughed out bank with an average height of 0.3 metres, situated on land sloping to the southeast and sited well below the crest. The northwest portion of the enclosure is completely ploughed out and no trace of outer ditch was found. Vague traces of an entrance occur at 'B'. The site is under grass and corn stubble. No outlying earthwork and no trace of habitation within the interior of the enclosure was found. Survey at 1:2500. A round stone with central perforation was found while ploughing the field in 1951 at 'A' (SS 6428 4329); the site pointed out by Mr Shapland [2]. The stone is a spindle whorl of hard sandstone, 1.35 inches in diameter and 0.5 inches thick with a central hour-glass perforation, 0.32 inches diameter narrowing to 0.1inches. Retained by Mr Shapland. [3] As described, the bank is up to 0.4 metres high internally and 0.6 metres externally. It has been mutilated on the south east side, but the entrance was probably in the effaced uphill side. There are two internal level sites or platforms on the west side and a third in the south east. Most probably a non-defensive Iron Age settlement. Resurveyed at 1:2500. [4] (SS 6427 4330) Settlement (NR). [5] SS 643 433. A small Iron Age univallate hillslope enclosure on the southeast slope of Kentisbury Down; the northwest sector of which has been levelled by cultivation and the rest is under pasture. "SS 640 435" (Incorrect grid reference see [2]). A probably Iron Age spindle whorl from the hillslope enclosure on Kentisbury Down. Now in High Bray County Primary School. [6] Centred at SS 6427 4330. A sub-oval univallate enclosure, probably of prehistoric origin, formerly measured some 90 metres by 70 metres, is situated on the south-east facing slopes on Kentisbury Down. It lies within three permanent pasture fields. In the two northwest fields only, amorphous undulations mark the last vestiges of the enclosure bank. The bulk of the enclosure and the best preserved of the earthworks lie in the south-east field. Here the bank survives as a spread feature 0.4 metres high on average, but where, on its western side, it has been cut into the hillside it survives to 0.6 metres in height. At SS 64304318 a lowering of the bank is a later mutilation. The interior is uneven, and this appears to represent settlement remains in the form of platforming. The earthworks are too amorphous to interpret in detail without large scale survey. 1:2500 survey revised. Archive plan including MDE1081 deposited in NMR. [7,8] The Iron Age univallate hillslope enclosure is visible as earthworks and cropmarks on aerial photographs. A small area of the bank at SS 6425 4334, now only visible as a cropmark, is visible as a low bank on aerial photographs taken in 1947. The enclosure is overlain by 19th century field boundaries, and it is likely that the majority of the damage occurred after this date. [9,10] The enclosure was ploughed again in 1975. Nothing noted by the farmer during ploughing. The course of the bank can still be traced except in the field to the north west of the field in which the main part of the enclosure lies. The level sites or platforms recorded by the Ordnanace Survey Archaeological Division in 1972 are no longer discernible. The enclosure lies to the south and south east of the group of three barrows on kentisbury down. Enclosure not affected by farmer's improvement proposals in 1981. Fairly visible on 1978 infra-red aerial photograph. [11,16] This site was scheduled as 95c in 1948. A management agreement is under negotiation. [12] A moderate to small enclosure with only banks surviving and completely ploughed out on the northwest side. The position of site is significant; it is situated in the middle of a major east to west ridge, and at northern end of major north to south one, with access to the moor and the north coast. The enclosure could have been watching over a crossing point or a meeting place. [13] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a score of 0. [17] The site was surveyed in June 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 0. [18] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [19] The site is depicted and labelled "Settlement" on the 2021 MasterMap data. [20]

Sources/Archives (20)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1905. 6 Inch Map: 1905. 1:10560.
  • <2> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Mr Shapland (farmer) East Breadwick, 20 November 1953.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Rigg, J.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 20 November 1953.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F2, 27 August 1972.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1978. 1:10,000 Map, 1978. 1:10,000.
  • <6> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. P. 82, 202 & 204.
  • <7> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R.. 1993. Kentisbury, enclosure at SS 64 SW 2/ink survey . 1:2500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 February 1993.
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3096-97 (11 April 1947).
  • <10>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SW. MD002180. [Mapped feature: #38476 ]
  • <11> Unpublished document: Timms, S.. 1981. Worksheet. 15 September 1981.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Department of Environment. 18/11/1983. Letter to County Planning Officer.
  • <13> Monograph: Walls, T.. 2000. Earthwork Enclosures in North East Devon and their Late Prehistoric Landscape.
  • <14> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS6443A.
  • <15> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. CPE/UK/1980 3098 (April 1947).
  • <16> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. MAM/2711 (June 1978).
  • <17> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <18> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <19> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34758, Extant 15 November 2021.
  • <20> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64SW27
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12114
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20222
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO37
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SW2
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34758
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): DV 95



Grid reference Centred SS 6426 4330 (92m by 110m)
Map sheet SS64SW

Finds (1)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Nov 15 2021 5:00PM


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