MDE8289 - Medieval or post-medieval settlement earthworks northeast of Netherton (Monument)


A series of possible medieval or post-medieval settlement earthworks including trackways, platforms and ridge and furrow are visible on aerial photographs in fields to the northeast of the deserted farmstead of Netherton.

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Type and Period (5)

Protected Status

Full Description

A series of possible settlement earthworks including trackways, platforms and ridge and furrow are visible on aerial photographs [1,5] in fields to the northeast of the deserted settlement of Netherton, and may represent medieval or post-medieval settlement at this location. The earthworks cover an area of approximately 4.7 hectares centred on SS 5921 4747. The largest of the earthworks is a central trackway or hollow way, approximately 4 metres wide, which runs roughly north to south for 300 metres across two fields before turning 90 degrees towards East Challacombe Farm. Two shorter east to west aligned trackways branch from the hollow way at SS 5921 4747 and SS 5923 4742 and two narrower parallel trackways are visible approximately 40 metres to the east. In the southern field between the hollow way and trackways, several platforms cut into the side of a west facing slope, approximately 15 metres wide but varying in length, are thought to be the remains of building platforms. In the northern field, a larger platform or terrace is visible to the east of the hollow way, although this may be a natural feature. To the west of the hollow way, centred on SS 5920 4742, an area of ridge and furrow ploughing is visible, measuring approximately 195 metres long by 50 metres wide. The deserted farmstead of Netherton (MDE800) is recorded immediately to the west of these earthworks, and it seems likely that the earthworks represent a part of a settlement which predates this, dating to the medieval or post medieval period. Netherton is shown as a small inhabited farm on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map [2], with the adjacent fields containing a garden and an orchard. A Richard de Nithereton appears in the Lay Subsidy Rolls for 1330, suggesting a settlement may have existed at Netherton at this point. Other farms and settlements in the area, for example West Challacombe are known to date to the 15th Century. Place names in the area such as Netherton Lane and Netherton Cross (both shown on [3]) could support the interpretation that Netherton may have formerly been a larger settlement. Further study will be required to ascribe a precise date to the earthworks. [1-6] SS 5922 4762. The remains of ploughed down fields in the area to the south west of East Challacombe Farm. They are visible as well defined curvilinear lynchets, 1 metre to 1.5 metres high and up to 3.4 metres wide, in a pasture field. There is nothing evident on aerial photographs [8] or the 1899 Ordnance Survey Maps [2]. The lynchets would appear to be the remains of ploughed out hedge lines predating the present enclosure. (Not Surveyed. Sketch for information only). [7] A curvilinear earthwork to the southwest of East Challocombe Farm centred at SS 5922 4762 has previously been identified as the remains of lynchets or ploughed out hedgelines. When seen on aerial photographs the earthwork consists of a linear ditch feature running approximately north-south before turning 90 degrees east towards East Challocombe farm. A similar feature in the adjacent field to the south appears to connect with this ditch. It is more likely that this feature is a medieval or post medieval hollow way connected to the hollow way and earthworks recorded above . These features are believed to be associated with the deserted settlement at Netherton (see MDE800). [8,2,1,6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [9,10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/89114 652 (4 May 1989.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889, Devon 1(16), 5(4).
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1963. 6 Inch Map: 1963.
  • <4> Monograph: Grover, J., Mawer, A. & Stenton, F. M.. 1969. The Place Names of Devon.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 5947/4 (23424/12) (1 March 2004).
  • <6>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 54 NE. MD002165. [Mapped feature: #38698 ]
  • <7> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, F1, 24 March 1993.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. 106G/UK 1655/3177-78 (July 1946).
  • <9> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1460158, Extant 12 October 2021.
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 616426, Extant 12 October 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 5918 4751 (208m by 352m) Aerial survey
Map sheet SS54NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 50076
  • Devon SMR: SS54NE/128
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21472
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO1633
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO271
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 54 NE103
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 54 NE45
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park Authority
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1460158
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 616426

Record last edited

Oct 27 2021 2:11PM


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