MDE8974 - Prehistoric stone row on Thornworthy Little Common (Monument)


A stone row of prehistoric date comprising a maximum of 16 stones. It runs for a length of 44 metres, with the stones lying at intervals of 2 metres. The maximum height is 0.25 metres with most stones barely visible protruding through the turf.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A stone row on Thornworthy Little Common found by E Mold on enclosed land. 11 stones were visible over a length of 45 paces. The row runs almost due east to west. [1] SS 71274381. A stone row which lies against the contours of the steep west facing convex slope of Thornworthy Little Common. The site at 376 metres Ordnance Datum is situated in an enclosed area of rush covered rough grazing. Views are restricted to the north along Barbrook. The underlying strata are of the Hangman Grit series and the monument consists of sandstone slabs and posts. There are no features to indicate the original ends. The row orientated roughly eastnortheast-westsouthwest, is almost complete for a length of 44 metres (stones A-M). The projected line of the row is interpreted by a hollow way east of stone M. On the west slope and crest of this feature is a cluster of four stones (Q-T) which lie off line. East of the hollow way are two further stones, N apparently on line and P again lying off line. Stones A-M of the main group lie at intervals of around 2.0 metres and stand to a maximum height of 0.25 metres with most barely protruding above the turf. The obvious gaps in this alignment have been tested by probing with inconclusive results. [2] The downhill (west) extension described by [2] was not located. [3,4] A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [5] SS 7128 4381. A stone row as described, tabulated and planned by [4]. (Note: If stone N is included as integral to this row as suggested by [5] then it becomes 65 metres long with new centre at the above National Grid Reference). [6] A field visit by H Eardley Wilmot and E Mold in June 1991 recorded eight further stones. [7] A field visit by A Preece in January 1993 it was noted that the row lies on a similar orientation to nearby field boundaries, thought to be prehistoric. It was therefore suggested that the feature may be a boundary rather than a stone row. [8] Fowler notes that the site possibly corresponds to a site on Ilkerton Ridge at SS 715 439. [9] MDE8974 is a stone row running east to west at the northern edge of the enclosure of Thornworthy Little Common, split into two sections by a holloway running north to south, close to the eastern edge of the row. The row is made up of several low stones with many barely protruding the turf. However, despite 16 stones being recorded in this location, this survey could only locate 3 of them, one of which was buried amongst the thick tussocks and high foliage present on the site. Surface stone around this area also brings into the question the nature of the site and whether it is a genuine stone row. Whilst no major damage was apparent, the locating of so few stones within the row has led to the site being considered to be in a “poor” condition. Vehicles do access this common occasionally, and have visibly used a trackway that bisects the site 0.5m to the west of a stone. The high vegetation at the western side of the row also could led to accidental collisions through the concealment of the stones. [10] The site was visited as part of an academic research project by Dr Sandy Gerrard in 2018; however, survey was not possible due to dense vegetation. [11] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. H Eardley-Wilmot, letter and report with sketch (5 December 1985).
  • <2> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Visit by S Timms on 3 June 1989; worksheet with sketch.
  • <3> Technical drawing: Probert, S.. 1990. Thornworthy Little Common/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. SAJ Probert, 10 December 1988.
  • <5> 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. 27.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 7 September 1994.
  • <7> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. H Eardley-Wilmot, letter with plan (26 July 1991).
  • <8> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. A Preece, worksheet (3 January 1993).
  • <9> Article in serial: Fowler, M. J. F.. 1993. The Standing Stones of Exmoor: A provisional catalogue of 86 North Devon sites. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 125. 155-178. 169.
  • <10>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MDE8974. [Mapped features: #45397 Stone L., MDE8974; #45398 Stone M., MDE8974; #45399 Stone Q or R., MDE8974]
  • <11> Website: Gerrard, S.. 2020. The Stone Rows of Great Britain.
  • <12> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 870511, Extant 12 January 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 7128 4381 (85m by 27m) (4 map features)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74SW/112
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 26027
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21002
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW85
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 870511

Record last edited

Jan 12 2022 4:58PM


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