MDE1208 - Two Bronze Age barrows on North Molton Ridge (Monument)


Two Bronze Age barrows. The western barrow is 19.2 metres in diameter and 0.5 metres high, and much disturbed. The eastern one, about 20 metres in diameter and 1 metres high, is topped by a Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

[SS 77853254] Tumuli (NR) [SS 77973246] Beacon (NR) [1] "North Molton No 13", (SS 7785 3254) seen by C Whybrow and Grinsell in 1961. Suggested that the circumferential rim represents an enclosure as a tree clump, that is 18th century in date. However it is possible that it is an original feature. The barrow has a diameter of 20 paces and a height of 2 and a half feet. "North Molton No 14", (the Beacon), (SS 7797 3246) seen by Whybrow and Grinsell in 1961. The barrow is 57 paces in diameter and 4' feethigh crowned by OS trig pillar, total diameter of the mound is 67 feet. The barrow is enclosed, except on the north, by a berm, bank and outer ditch. These could be original features or the result of tree planting. [2] Site of pre-Elizabethan beacon. [3] SS 7784 3254. An 0.5 metre high, 20.0 metre diameter flat topped mound with an 0.3 metre high 'bank or rim' atopping the southern half, and with traces of an outer ditch. Most probably a mutilated barrow, and rather small for a tree ring. In a poor condition. SS 7796 3245. An 0.9 metre high, 22.0 metre diameter mound surrounded, except on the north side, by a wide berm, a bank, 0.5 metres high internally and 0.8 metres high externally, and an 0.3 metre deep ditch. Most probably a round barrow which has been either adapted as a beacon site or is mutilated as the result of tree planting. Published survey 1:2500 revised. [4] Two barrows occupy the summit of North Molton Ridge. At SS 7784 3254 is a mutilated prehistoric barrow. It comprises a flat topped, turf covered, subcircular mound, averaging 19.2 metres in diameter and 0.5 metres high. The mound has a very disturbed appearance, probably the result of robbing and illicit excavation in the past, and more recently the result of cattle feeders being placed upon it. Two breaks are visible on the northern and southern sides of the mound which are associated with these events. The northern one is 1.3 metres wide, whilst the southern one is 2.3 metres wide and still has traces of vechicle ruts in it. A spoil mound 0.9 metres high lies on the eastern side of this break. The eastern half of the mound has a bank-like rim around its crest, which may be the residual fabric of the barrow. On the southeastern side of the barrow is an external ditch 1 metre wide and 0.2 metres deep. Fragmentary traces of it are visible on the western side. The barrow is covered in a mixture of heather, grass and moss. It has a panoramic aspect. At SS 77963245 is a second barrow, the summit of which is now occupied by an Ordnance Survey Triangulation Pillar. The barrow comprises a well defined , flat-topped, turf-covered, circular mound 21.5 metres north-south by 19.5 metres west to east. It is 1 metre high and has a summit diameter of 8.8 metres. The summit is poorly defined, and its shape, sub-circular to sub-square, has been altered, perhaps by the construction of the Pillar. There is no trace of a ditch around the barrow. The barrow has extensive views in all directions except to the north-north-west. Around the barrow, and at a distance of 7.6 metres from it, is an outward-facing scarp, 1.1 metres high, with an external ditch, and in places a slight external bank. The feature is continuous except on the northern side, where it was apparently not constructed. It defines an area of ground around the barrow, which is raised above the surrounding moorland on the west, east and south. The absence of the feature on the northern side is explained by the rising ground in this direction, which would not have facilitated the same effect. The feature apparently post-dates the construction of the barrow, and is best interpreted in a post-medieval context: either associated with the beacon suggested by Source 3 or more likley with the tree stand suggested by Source 2. As such it would have provided a dry platform for trees, to be viewed from the south. This land is still in estate ownership, belonging to the Stucley Estates. [5] The barrows described above are clearly visible on aerial photographs, along with several smaller mounds which have been tenatively identified as prehistoric burial monuments. [6,7] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the western barrow a survival score of 0 and the eastern barrow a score of 7. [11] The site was surveyed in March 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. Both barrows were given a survival score of 0. [12] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [13]

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Barrows of North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 28. P. 98,126.
  • <3> Article in serial: Russell, P. M. G.. 1955. Fire Beacons in Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 87. P. 282.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 7 March 1973.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 January 1995.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF 106G/UK/1420 3449-50 (15 April 1946).
  • <7> Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 SE. MD002195.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK 1980. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. 3086. 3374 (April 1947).
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 12/045,12/055 (May 1977).
  • <10> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS7732a.
  • <11> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <12> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <13> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35068, Extant 6 October 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 696
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 697
  • Devon SMR: SS73SE/501
  • Devon SMR: SS73SE/502
  • Environmentally Sensitive Area
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20059
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20060
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO64
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 SE1
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35068
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): 247 a & b



Grid reference Centred SS 7791 3249 (172m by 129m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS73SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Oct 6 2021 3:00PM


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