MDE11668 - Roman farmstead on parish boundary of Combe Martin and Kentisbury (Monument)


An earthwork enclosure, probably a farmstead dating to the Roman period as burnt material from small scale excavations returned a 2nd to 3rd century date. It is respected by the parish boundary.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Earthworks centred at SS 62544485 represent a former enclosure of unknown date and function. The site lies at 260 metres above Ordnance Datum within two pasture fields, and is bisected by the west-east field bank between the fields. Differing cultivation regimes have affected the preservation of the features, with those to the north being much better preserved, although there have been recent attemps to infill the ditches.The earthworks in the northern field comprise an L-shaped arrangement of three parallel banks and ditches averaging 0.7 metres from bank crest to ditch bottom. They run approximately north-south for 35 metres, before turning 65 degrees and running westwards for 40 metres where they are lost in a natural hollowing caused by spring sapping. The external bank and ditch, however, curve around the northern side of the enclosure and curve gently southwards around the western side where they are lost at a field boundary. The interior of the enclosure is undulating.The earthworks in the southern field comprise the southern half of the enclosure. This is strikingly rectilinear in form, and consists of a spread bank 0.4 metres in height with well-formed rounded corners at the south-west and south-east. It comprises a single bank, and is therefore in stark contrast to the earthworks in the northern field. The earthworks have been smoothed by cultivation, and traces of ?ridging on a north-south alignment are visible in places. The interior is level and featureless.The northern half of the enclosure lies at the extreme east end of Combe Martin parish, the southern half lies in Kentisbury parish. To the immediate north of the enclosure is the southern boundary of Trentishoe parish. It seems that the site predates both the parish boundary and the present configuration of fields. Surveyed at 1:1250 scale (1) A rapid examination of air photography shows the earthworks of this enclosure. (2-3) The enclosure described above is clearly visible on oblique and vertical photographs. Its form and position resemble an Iron Age hillslope enclosure, similar to those seen elsewhere within Exmoor National Park (i.e. Voley Castle and Beacon Castle in Parracombe). However, without further survey a precise date cannot be established. (4-5) The 1979 aerial photograph records three sides of a polygonal enclosure, made up of a single ditch on one side and double ditches on two. On one side there is also an outer bank. The length at the longest side is approximately 50 metres. This is a very curious feature: the 6 inch map (/) doesn't suggest that lie of the land would make drainage ditches probable. It is a polygonal feature in flat lowlying ground those function entirely unknown. The combe martin parish boundary appears to make a special diversion to include this feature. (6) A geophysical (resistivity) survey and excavation of two small trenches was undertaken by a community archaeology group in 2012. The geophysical survey covered the southern area of the enclosure and is interpretated as showing a ditch and bank rectilinear enclosure with rounded corners with internal features on an east-wet and north-south axis with further external amonolies to the east of the enclosure. The excavaions were in the south eastern corner of the enclosure one in the ditch (1m x 1m) and one on top of the bank (1m x 2.4m). The trench in the ditch contained no finds but indicated that the ditch was just over 1m in depth and had gradually infilled. The trench on the bank indicated the constuction of the bank to be at just over 1 metre in height above a buried soil. Charcoal and burnt stones were noted and interpreted as a fire pit or fire pit material. Charcoal sent for radiocarbon analysis appear to return a likely 2nd to 3rd century AD date. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. Wilson-North, R. 24/02/1993.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . NMR, SS 6244/1/214-215, SS 6244/2/216-218.
  • <3> Verbal communication: Miller, A.S.. RCHME/EH Aerial Photographers Comment. 07/12/995.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 6244/5 (18528/04). 12/10/1999.
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SW. MD002180.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . nmr ss6244:sf 1460/217. 07/03/1979.
  • <7> Report: Knights, J. and Dunkerley, T.. 2012. A geophysical resistivity survey of a rectangular ditch and bank enclosure at NGR SS62544485 Waytown Farm and two explorative test pits.



Grid reference Centred SS 6253 4484 (115m by 109m)
Map sheet SS64SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64SW59
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 21624
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 51296
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20937
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21500
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO37
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SW41
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 925786

Record last edited

Jun 25 2018 3:21PM


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