MDE1270 - Prehistoric stone setting on Hoccombe Hill (Monument)


A stone setting comprising four stones in a quadrilateral arrangement is located below the crest of the southeast side of Hoccombe Hill, close to the head of Hoccombe Water.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 768 435. Brendon Two Gates: a stone setting of five stones in a quadrilateral. [1] No stone setting of the type described could be found in the area. This may refer to MDE1257 which is not listed by Grinsell, but which consists of only three stones. [2] HOCCOMBE HILL II. A setting of 4 stones: 3 upright and 1 fallen, forming an elongated parallelogram orientated northwest to southeast diagonally across the contour. The site is now not necessarily complete (See [1]). It is situated in rough pasture with bracken, heather and rush on a southeast facing, moderate slope well below the crest of Hoccombe Hill and close to the head of Hoccombe Water. There are fine views down the valley to the east. All stones appear to be of local, sedimentary sandstones of the Hangman Grits series. Two more settings occupy the south slope of Hoccombe Hill; MDE1257 lies 480 metres to the east and MDE9886 is 1050 metres to the eastsoutheast. A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [3] This site is presumably that described by Grinsell as "five stones in parallelogram with triangle" [1]. There is no trace of the fifth stone, however it may have been destroyed by a track which runs through the site. Grinsells grid reference, is at least 200 metres too far west. Eardley-Wilnot located and planned the monument. [4-5] The grid reference SS 738 453 is incorrect. The National Monument Record entry 35281 is a duplication of 35284. The correct grid reference is SS77064368. Earlier reports for this setting are confused and may actually refer to MDE1257. The setting consists of one fallen and three upright stones and may be incomplete. Eroison hollowes will eventually lead to stones (B) and (D) falling over. [6] Eardley-Wilmots sketch [4] more closely resembles MDE9886 than MDE1270. [8] The site was extremely vunerable due to animal activity in 2003. Stone D is loose and in an active erosion hollow (1.9 metres across and 0.3 metres deep). Both the stone and it's packing stones are exposed. The damage is exacerbated by weather and the use of the stone as a rubbing post. Stone C is exposed as above. It is loose and in an active erosion hollow measuring 2 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres deep. Stone B is stable but in an active erosion hollow (1.9 metres in diameter and up to 0.3 metres deep). The stone is exposed as above. Stone A is recumbent as is shown in the 1988 plan. There is an erosion hollow to the north-west of the stone. [9] The site was subject to further survey in 2012. All four stones were located; stone A was noted to have changed orientation since the RCHME survey was undertaken, while stones C and D had active erosion hollows with rubble beginning to appear within them. [10] A well preserved setting situated on the south facing slope of Hoccombe Hill, just east of the quincunx at MDE1257. The site comprises of 4 post shaped stones, one recumbent (Stone A), aligned in a rhomboidal northwest-southeast arrangement. All stones are roughly similar in size, and are between 0.55-0.75m standing height. The alignment of Stone A has changed since the RCHME survey, as noted by Slater (2012: 24) in her survey, but it was recumbent and loose on the surface at that time and it could have been moved by people or a vehicle. MDE1270 is in a “very good” condition, and is largely unchanged since 2012, with all stones well set and stable with no losses. The only significant threat is the poaching of ground around the stones, where the grazing livestock have been using them for rubbing. While packing stones are beginning to show, the uprights remain stable in their sockets. [11]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 8 October 1974.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Pattison, P. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 6 December 1988.
  • <4> Technical drawing: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 1981. Sketch Plan.
  • <6> 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.
  • <7> Survey: Hoccombe Hill II/ink survey . 1:100. General: Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <8> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. Source Unknown.
  • <9> Report: Dray, K.. 2003. A Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Badgworthy Land Company Owned Land, Exmoor. P. 27.
  • <10> Report: Slater, E.. 2012. A condition survey of standing stones on Badgworthy Land Company owned land, Exmoor National Park. p24-26.
  • <11>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MDE1270. [Mapped features: #45317 Stone A., MDE1270; #45318 Stone B., MDE1270; #45319 Stone C., MDE1270; #45320 Stone D., MDE1270]



Grid reference Centred SS 770 436 (53m by 45m) (Surveyed)
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74SE/17
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12279
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE1271
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20353
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE 26
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE 27
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35281
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35284

Record last edited

Dec 5 2018 10:48AM


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