MDE11895 - Possible medieval earthworks on Horner's Neck (Monument)


The earthwork remains of a building complex on Horner's Neck that may be medieval in date. They consist of the turf covered stone foundations of a group of buildings and small yards. Summary from record MDE21408: Medieval defended earthwork in Horner's Neck Wood. Alternative view to MSO11895 and MSO11896

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 7467 4887. Farmstead remains, probably medieval and later. The Farmstead at Horner's Neck Wood was surveyed at 1:1000 scale by staff of RCHME during October 1993. The site comprises, a deciduous woodland that occupies some 700 metres of steep slopes along the northern side of the East Lyn River. At the eastern end of the woods, to the northeast of Watersmeet House is Horner's Neck, a narrow steep sided promontory or spur, which projects, southwards towards the river. At the southern end of the spur are the well defined turf covered stone foundations of a group of buildings and small yards. The origin of this site is not clear. Some 100 metres due north of the buildings is a cross ridge earthwork (MSO11896), and the juxtaposition of these two sites on the same narrow spur might, at first, suggest that they could be contemporaneous. The earthwork however, appears to be a separate entity; it has clear prehistoric characteristics and is probably Iron Age, though its entrance, which appears to have been widened, may have been reused at a later date possibly for the farmstead. The buildings are clearly much later in origin and though they could possibly overlie, or have destroyed, earlier remains associated with the earthwork, there is no definite evidence to support this. For further information see archive report. [1-3] The buildings on Horner's Neck form an enigmatic group. They are very substantial, and occupy an isolated and topographically extreme site. Their isolation argues against them being interpreted as a post medieval farmstead. They are perhaps better explained as a medieval complex, in which interpretation, their defensible position and substantial construction are relevant factors. However, further documentary and other research is required to fully explain this important site. [4] Earthworks visible in recently felled National Trust woodland. They consist of four rectangular features aligned north to south on the west side of footpath. Largest is 8 paces by 20 paces with sign of internal division. Banks are approx 0.5m high and stoney. [5] The defended area contains the remains of rectangular, probably medieval buildings, which may be later than the earthworks (MDE11896). Recent excavations by Exeter University failed to find any dating evidence but the location suggests a high status or religious site from the early medieval or pre-Conquest period. [6,7] In woodland at the southern tip are the earthwork remains of at least two rectangular buildings. The site may represent a defended medieval manor or minor castle. [8] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [9]

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I.. 1993. Horner's Neck/ink survey . 1:1000. General: Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 29 October 1993.
  • <3> Report: Sainsbury, I.. 1993. Horner's Neck farmstead, SS 74 NW 81/report . RCHME. General: Paper. Typescript.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 12 January 1996.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Mold, E.. 1989. Site Visit.
  • <6> Report: Berry, N.. 2003. Archaeological and Historic Landscape Survey of West Lyn Farm, Lynton, Devon. National Trust Sites and Monuments Record Number: 100260.
  • <7> Report: Berry, N.. 2004. Archaeological and Historic Landscape Survey of Kipscombe Farm, Countisbury, Devon.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Rose, P, G.. 1988. Letter.
  • <9> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 973564, Extant 15 December 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NW/196
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 46286
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21408
  • Local List Status (Candidate)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW81
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 973564



Grid reference Centred SS 7464 4886 (52m by 73m)
Map sheet SS74NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

Dec 15 2021 4:49PM


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