MDE1285 - Prehistoric quincunx near Woodbarrow Hangings (Monument)


A stone setting comprising five stones in the form of a quadrilateral with a central stone (a "quincunx"), with another stone to the south forming a triangle. The stones were all extant in 1995 but very close to ground level, hidden in the turf.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 7151 4283) Stones (NR). [1] There is a quadrilateral of stones near Woodbarrow Hangings. The Ordnance Survey 6 inch map of 1891 [1] shows five stones but Chanter and Handsford Worth suggest a quadrilateral and triangle combined, as a further stone broken off at ground level, is situated to the southeast. [2,3] This stone setting comprises two upright stones 0.7 metres high and 0.9 metres high; one fallen stone 1.3 metres long and two 0.2 metre high stumps. Published survey 1:2500 revised. [4] A setting of 6 stones at SS 7151 4283, comprising a quadrilateral with fifth central stone (called a quincunx) and a sixth stone forming an additional triangle with the two southernmost stones of the quadrilateral. The quadrilateral is slightly irregular, with sides of 6 metres and 7 metres, the triangle is almost an equilateral with sides of 6.5 metres, 6.5 metres and 7 metres. All the stones are of local sandstone. The setting lies on a gentle, northwest facing slope just below the west of Winaway and close to the lip of the step. Barbrook Valley near its head at Woodbarrow Hangings. The stones are almost hidden in an area of coarse grass, heather and rush. There are extensive views to the northwest down the Barbrook Valley; the ridge top 400 metres to the south are several large barrows. All the stones recorded by Chanter and Worth [2] were located, those missed in 1974 [3] and 1983 [5-6] are in fact present, masked by a thin layer of moss and soil. Three photographs of the site have been supplied to the NAR [7]. A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [8,9] A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [10] SS 7151 4283. A setting of six stones as described and planned at 1:100 by Pattison [9]. Initially only two of the stones, A and B, (leaning slabs 0.7 metres and 0.5 metres high respectively) appear to be extant the others are not obvious. Closer examination reveals them hidden in the turf at, or very close to, ground level. Surveyed at 1:2500. [11] The site is covered by dense reeds and most of the stones are almost or completely buried by moss and turf. All of the stones are considered to have low vunerability. Stone B is slowly deteriorating and the other stones are stable. Stones B and D are considered to be in poor condition. The condition of stones A, E and F is unknown. [12] The remains of a quincunx on a gentle west facing slope on the north facing spur leading from Woodbarrow Hangings. All 6 stones recorded at this site were located despite their recumbencey and the thick rushes across the entire spur. Most stones barely protrude the surface with only Stone B and D visible, owing to a nearby animal and vehicle track which is lowering the level of the rushes. The sites condition is considered to be “poor” despite the presence of the stones, due to their near complete concealment in the vegetation and peat. The main threat to the site is the use of the track to the east of the setting for vehicles which is putting Stone B and D at risk of damage. Vegetation cover at the site has hindered previous efforts to survey, this cover has remained and the turf and grasses are now completely burying some stones. [13] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [14]

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1891.
  • <2> Article in serial: Chanter, J.F. + Worth, R.H.. 1905. The Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor and its Borders. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. I. P. 392 figure 1, plate 4.
  • <3> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. 189.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 1 October 1974.
  • <5> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H. 1983. Thirty Exmoor stone-settings. I 4.
  • <6> Technical drawing: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. Sketch Plan.
  • <7> Photograph: Walker, M.. Photograph.
  • <8> Technical drawing: Pattison, P.. 1989. Woodbarrow Hangings/ink survey . 1:100. General: Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Pattison, P. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 January 1989.
  • <10> Report: Quinnell, N.V. and 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. 17.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 8 March 1995.
  • <12> Report: Pearce, G.. 2012. A Condition Survey of Selected Standing Stone Settings on Exmoor National Park Authority Owned Land. p11-14.
  • <13>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MDE1285. [Mapped features: #45329 Stone A., MDE1285; #45330 Stone B., MDE1285; #45331 Stone C., MDE1285; #45332 Stone D., MDE1285; #45333 Stone E., MDE1285; #45334 Stone F., MDE1285]
  • <14> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35367, Extant 11 January 2022.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NW/36
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74SW/6
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 656
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20021
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW15
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35367



Grid reference Centred SS 7152 4284 (28m by 27m) (6 map features)
Map sheet SS74SW

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Record last edited

Jan 11 2022 4:43PM


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