MDE8975 - Medieval or post-medieval rubbing stone or waymarker on Thornworthy Common (Monument)


A standing stone was marked on the 1891 Ordnance Survey map. It is now recumbent, 0.9 metres long, and lies in a hollow. It may have been a rubbing post or a waymarker along the Lynton to South Molton trackway.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 7132 4368. Fallen stone. Standing Stone on Thornworthy Common marked on Ordnance Survey 6 inch 1962. [1] The recumbent stone lies in enclosed moorland which has been partially cleared and is under rough pasture. It is 0.9 metres long, 0.3 to 0.4 metres wide and about 0.15 metres thick. Of a sedimentary rock type it has a diamond shaped section and one fairly bulbous end, presumably its base when upright. A vague, rather amorphous, reed filled hollow which lies to the east may as suggested, be the eroded stone pit. The origin and function of the stone is uncertain but it seems to be of dubious archaeological significance. [2] S Timms visited the site in June 1985. The stone was recumbent but the pit from which had fallen was clearly visible. The stone was measured at c.90 centimetres high and 40 centimetres wide at the base. It was suggested the stone was associated with an old trackway or boundary (MMO495). [3] SS 71320 43699. A recumbent stone. This stone is not marked on the 1962 Ordnance Survey six inch map as 'Standing Stone' (as implied above [1]) but simply as 'Stone'. The fact that the stone is shown on the 1891 Ordnance Survey ([4]) implies that it was upright then and it probably came from the hollow, or pit as suggested by Timms [3]. The stone, 0.9 metres long, 0.4 metres wide and 0.15 metres thick, is now recumbent in the hollow, a small piece has split off its 'top'. Probing in the hollow revealed other stones, probably the original triggers. The area to the west, which is covered with rough grass and bracken, has been quarried away in several places revealing boulders and stones just below the surface. This stone may have come from this area. Timms also suggests that this stone is possibly associated, presumably as a waymarker, with the old Lynton to South Molton trackway or packhorse route (MMO495) which runs a few metres to the east [3]. Its exact purpose is now impossible to confirm but it would appear more likely to be a waymarker or a rubbing stone than a prehistoric standing stone. [5] The site is a recumbent sandstone post measuring 0.5 by 0.2 by 0.1 metres (exposed) just south of the Thornworthy Stone Row, on the gentle west facing slope of Thornworthy Little Common. The identification of this site is difficult to confirm and it has been suggested to either be a prehistoric standing stone, rubbing post, waymarker, or a natural stone. A similar recumbent stone at SS 71329 43689 was discovered during the survey. The stone, due to its near complete concealment beneath the turf and difficulties in its identification is scored as “Poor”, although there is little clear damage to its fabric. However, it also lies recumbent in an area of thick bracken, which could conceal the stone and destroy any stratigraphic evidence of a socket. It is also slowly being buried by the turf, which will mask it from future surveys. [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. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 January 1989.
  • <3> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Visit by S Timms, 3 June 1985.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1896. County Series, First Edition 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1891, Devon 7SW.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 7 September 1994.
  • <6>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MDE8975. [Mapped feature: #45400 Recumbent Stone, MDE8975]
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 870533, Extant 13 January 2022.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74SW/111
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 26026
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21001
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW86
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 870533



Grid reference SS 7132 4368 (point)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Jan 13 2022 10:27AM


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