MDE1296 - Prehistoric hut circles and field system on Thorn Hill (Monument)
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Type and Period (2)
(SS 7286 4374) Marked as 'Hut Circle'.  Between Warcombe Water and Ruckham Combe.  SS 72874375. A retaining kerb 9 paces in diameter, near spring head. Possibly a hut circle.  The published entry  applies to a roughly semicircular patch of stones with a maximum diameter of 9.0 metres. There is no specific kerbing and if the patch was originally circular the northern half is now overlaid by peat. It is most unlikely to be a hut circle and in its present state is not particularly convincing as a cairn. It may be a natural patch of stone since much protrudes from the peat in this area. 1:2500 survey revised.  SS 7290 4374. The remains of a settlement of three hut circles and an associated field system evidenced by a small rectangular field, a fragment of field wall, a lynchet and stone clearance heap.The settlement is situated across a significant shelf on the gentle north facing lower slopes of Thorn Hill, about 360 metres above Ordnance Datum. The area is covered by heather, bracken and rough grass and has a scattering of surface stone. It lies about one hundred metres north of the Devon/Somerset County Boundary, which is marked here by a series of boundary stones and a wire fence. There are good views northwards along Ilkerton Ridge, down the valley of the West Lyn River and across the Furzehill Common and Cheriton Ridge but the view to the south is limited by the rising ground of the Chains. A rough track crosses the site from northwest to southeast. SS 72873 43743. Hut A is visible as a levelled platform, 5 metres north to south by 4.6 metres. It is edged around its front by a collapsed wall now reduced to a stoney heather clad scarp, about 2.5 metres maximum width and 0.5 metres high. The rear of the platform is marked by a similar, though prominent low inner facing scarp, 1.2 metres wide and 0.4 metres high. A break in the scarp along the slope in the north-north-east may be the entrance. Several stones of the wall protrude through the heather around the W and some have tumbled down the slope. SS 72923 43761. Hut B is a similar though smaller and less well defined platform, about 4.7 metres internally, set into the slope. It is visible mainly as a turf covered front scarp, 2 metres wide and 0.5 metres high, and rear scarp, 2 metres wide and 0.3 metres high. No entrance is evident though it may have been along the slope in the south-west. The hut is skirted by a track in the South. SS 72892 43759. Hut C is a well defined levelled platform, of 7 metres internal diameter, edged around its front northern side by a collapsed wall now reduced to a stoney turf-covered scarp, about 2 metres maximum width and 0.5 metres high. The rear of the platform is marked by a similar, though less pronounced inner facing scarp, 1.6 metres wide and 0.4 metres high, mainly covered by heather and bracken. A break in the scarp along the slope in the north-north-east may mark the entrance. Several stones of the wall protrude through the heather and some have tumbled down the slope in the northeast. SS 7291 4372. Some 40 metres south west of hut B is a small field, about 30 metres northeast to southwest by 20 metres. Its northern edge is defined partly by a low field wall evident as a turf covered rickle of stones, some 14 metres long, 2 metres wide and 0.2 metres maximum height with a stone clearance heap, 4 metres in diameter and 0.2 metres high, attached to its southwest end. A lynchet, 1.3 metres wide and 1.3 metres high, defines its southern side. This site was originally noted on the 1891 Ordnance Survey  as a single hut circle which was not seen as convincing by Quinnell  in 1974. However, the finds of the two other huts plus the small field, walling, lynchet and stone clearance heap, although in poor condition, now leave the interpretation as a small settlement presumably of prehistoric origin. Surveyed at 1:2500 by GPS.  The three hut circles, lynchet and rectangular fields are barely discernible on aerial photographs of the area, suggesting the features are extremely subtle. However, they can be seen on the RAF photographs taken in 1952. [7,8] The features are marked as a settlement and field system on the 2021 MasterMap data.  This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. 
- <1> SEM7220 Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
- <2> SMO4103 Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Devon. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 1. P. 629.
- <3> SMO4578 Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. P. 195.
- <4> SMO7320 Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 8 October 1974.
- <5> SEM6705 Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1896. County Series, First Edition 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1891 (Surveyed 1887-88), Devon 7SW.
- <6> SMO7324 Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 27 June 1995.
- <7> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/931 3084-85 (8 November 1952).
- <8> SMO7565 Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182.
- <9>XY SEM340794 Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #38351 ]
- <10> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35400, Extant 11 Janaury 2022.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 7290 4372 (94m by 107m) With reference to NMP data|
|Civil Parish||LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH, NORTH DEVON, DEVON|
Related Monuments/Buildings (1)
Related Events/Activities (3)
Related Articles (1)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=35400 (Pastscape entry: 35400)
- Devon SMR Monument ID: 12271
- Devon SMR: SS74SW/61
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20345
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO106
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW26
- National Park
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35400
Record last edited
Jan 18 2022 2:42PM
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