MDE1257 - Prehistoic quincunx at Brendon Two Gates (Monument)


A prehistoric stone setting originally comprising 5 stones forming an almost square arrangement with a central stone (known as a "quincunx"). Only 3 stones are now standing, the central one having been reerected in 2001.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

(SS 7660 4363) Stones (T.I.) [1] Stone setting. [2] This stone setting comprises three stones from 0.3 metres to 0.6 metres high, oriented northwest to southeast and on a slight southwest slope. Assumed to be of Bronze Age origin. The setting is not listed by Grinsell [3]. Surveyed at 1:2500 at SS 7659 4363. [4] Brendon Two Gates. A quadrilateral setting about 1250 feet distant and a little east of north from Brendon Two Gates; Longitude 3 degrees 45' 56 1/2", Latitude 51 degrees 10' 11". Three stones, including the central still stand; another has fallen but its place is marked by triggers. The outer four stones appear to have pointed to the centre; three still do. (The above evidently applies to Corney's setting [2] but the Latitude quoted should read 41" to relate to the National Grid Reference. Otherwise the position would be approximately SS 7663 4260). [5] (SS 7659 4263) Stones (NR). [6] A setting, formerly of five stones, comprising three upright stones in a northwest to southeast line and two holes to the northeast and southwest, the whole forming an almost square arrangement with (b) as a central stone. The sides of the square are 9 metres long. The setting is aligned obliquely across the contour, well below the crest of Brendon Common, at SS 7659 4363 on a gentle, southsoutheast slope falling to the Badgworthy Water. The site has distant views over Lanacombe to the south and occupies the same hillslope as two other settings, situated 480 metres and 1520 metres to the east (MDE1271 and MDE9886 respectively). All the stones are of local sedimentary rock of Hangman Grits. (D), a shallow hole 1.9 metres wide by 0.3 metres deep, surrounded an upright stone in the early 20th Century. At the same time, a fallen stone was recorded on the southwest side close to a group of paving stones [5]. These stones are no longer visible but (e), a small hole 1.4 metres wide by 0.1 metres deep, may once have held the fallen stone. A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [7] A condition survey of the setting was carried out in April 2003. Stone (A) is not fully protected by the blackthorn. There is a slight erosion hollow and an animal track runs to the west of the stone. Stone (B) is stable and protected. The erosion matting remains buried and the natural vegetation has regrown. Stone (C) is stable and protected. There is an animal track to the south west of the stone. Evidence of animal hair in the blackthorn suggests the setting is still being used as a rubbing post for animals. [11] The site was surveyed again in 2012. Stone A was noted to be situated in a pool of water and reeds but in a good, stable condition. The other two stones were also stable. [12] A quincunx situated c.250m from the road at Brendon Two Gates, on a south facing slope overlooking the collects for Hoccombe Water. Once likely consisting of 5 stones, the setting now has only three still visible. The setting has changed little since 2012 when it was last surveyed. All three stones are very stable in their sockets, however, both Stone A and B are seeing high levels of animal rubbing, especially Stone B. This has led to large hollows and waterlogging around their bases. Stone C appears to be largely ignored by livestock but there is still evidence of previous poaching around the stone. Of some concern are the animal and vehicle tracks which border the north and south of the site, but no damage has yet occurred. [13]

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. WT Corney, Wiveliscombe, Taunton, Somerset..
  • <3> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 3 September 1974.
  • <5> Article in serial: Chanter, J.F. + Worth, R.H.. 1906. The Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor and its Borders. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 38. II. P. 541.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1981. 1:10,000, 1981.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Pattison, P. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 6 December 1988.
  • <8> Verbal communication: Various. Various. ENPA archaeologist field visit.
  • <9> Monograph: Quinnell, N.V. + 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.
  • <10> Survey: Brendon Two Gates/ink survey . 1:1000. General: Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <11> Report: Dray, K.. 2003. A Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Badgworthy Land Company Owned Land, Exmoor. P. 15-18.
  • <12> Report: Slater, E.. 2012. A condition survey of standing stones on Badgworthy Land Company owned land, Exmoor National Park. p14-15.
  • <13>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MDE1257. [Mapped features: #45290 Stone A., MDE1257; #45291 Stone B., MDE1257; #45292 Stone C., MDE1257; #45293 Stone D., MDE1257; #45294 Stone E., MDE1257]



Grid reference Centred SS 7659 4364 (29m by 38m) (Surveyed)
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74SE/16
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12278
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20352
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE13
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35244

Record last edited

Dec 5 2018 10:00AM


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