MDE1277 - Medieval field system and building remains above Hoccombe Water (Monument)


The remains of a building, identified as a possible medieval longhouse, and associated field system are visible as earthworks on the south side of Badgworthy Hill.

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Type and Period (2)

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Full Description

SS 787436. The foundations of a possible Medieval long house on the southwestern spur of Badgworthy Hill above Hoccombe Water has been identified by Whybrow. [1,2] Not visible on air photographs. [3,4] A stone walled longhouse with sunken floor, orientated up/down slope. Associated with the site are fieldbanks and narrow ridge ploughing. [5] A rectangular building is shown on the south side of Badgworthy Hill on the 1st edition, 6 inch, Ordnance Survey map. [6] The well preserved remains of this rectangular building are centred at SS 7869 4358 on the south facing slopes of Badgworthy Hill. The structure is aligned north to south and measures 10.5 metres by 4.5 metres and is defined by roughly coursed walls which are turf-covered, with mortar visible in places. It has an entrance 0.8 metres wide mid-way along both its west and east sides. The interior of the building is hollowed being some 0.4 metres below the external ground surface. There are no traces of internal divisions. Air photographic transcription has recorded an associated hollow way and field system [7]. The former appears as a hollowed marshy area running up the natural slope beside the building on its western side and appears to be the result of natural water run-off. The field system, however, survives as an irregular system of earth and stone banks 0.5m high with accompanying ditches. Ridge and furrow is visible on some air photographs within one of the fields [8], and is also visible on the ground. [1] records the building as a medieval longhouse. However, both the period and classification remain in doubt. The structure certainly has opposed entrances but may equally belong to the post-medieval period. It does appear, however, to be contemporary with the neighbouring field system. [9] The building and associated field system have been surveyed at 1:2500 with GPS. The remains of the building are as previously described. The field system consists of two fields lying to the west and south of the building. They are defined by well defined earthen banks 0.5 metres high and within one of the fields is ridge and furrow running up and down the slope. The date of this complex remains uncertain but it is considered likely to date from the medieval period. As such the Domesday reference to `Lancoma' being added to Brendon Manor is relevant. The Domesday entry is as follows `LANK COMBE has been added to this manor. Edwin held it before 1066. It paid tax for 1 furlong. Land for 1 plough. 1 villager who pays 3s.' [10]. Lank Combe has generally assumed to be Lankcombe some 1.5 kilometres to the north, where there is no evidence for medieval settlement or cultivation. However, the present site lies close to Lanacombe, and it is possible that confusion has arisen over these two, almost identical, place names. [11] The field system described above is clearly visible on aerial photographs of the area; however, the longhouse cannot be identified. [13,14] This site is thought to be ruins of short-lived 19th Century enclosure rather than medieval longhouse. Another 19th Century shelter exists further down by the stream. [16]

Sources/Archives (17)

  • <1> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. P. 129 and 214.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Whybrow, C.. 08/09/1968. Letter.
  • <3> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. K Taylor, 9 October 1978.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF/CPE/UK 1980 3071-2 (11 April 1947).
  • <5> DHER migrated record: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Site Visit.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1896. County Series, First Edition 6 Inch Map. 1:10560.
  • <7> Aerial photograph transcription: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Aerial Photograph Transcriptions of Sites in the Exmoor National Park (CRAAGS). 1:10560. SS7843c.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . NLAP SS 7843/1/357.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 26 April 1994.
  • <10> Monograph: Thorn, C. + Thorn, F.. 1985. Domesday Book: Devon. Phillimore & Co. Ltd. Volume 9. Part Two. P. 114.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. R Wilson-North, and J Best, 15 August 1996.
  • <12> Technical drawing: Carpenter. Badgworthy Environs/pencil survey.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73087 679-80 (17 April 1973).
  • <14> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SE. MD002183.
  • <15> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 13/077 (May 1977).
  • <16> Unpublished document: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 26/09/1982. Letter.
  • <17> Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Record Card. SS74SE34.



Grid reference Centred SS 7862 4351 (230m by 154m) (Aerial survey)
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74SE/24
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12286
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20358
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO90
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE34
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35301

Record last edited

Mar 15 2021 1:00PM


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