MDE8977 - Furzehill Common III: Prehistoric stone alignment and associated burial cairn (Monument)


The remains of a prehistoric stone row running has ten stones visible, extending for about 70 metres and terminating at the northwest end with a burial cairn. There may be further stones hidden by the turf.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 7382 4396 Stone row. A row of 4 stones running diagonally across the gently rounded crest of Furzehill Common. The site at 381 metres Ordnance Datum is visible in a shallow peat cutting circa 0.30 metres deep surrounded by long moorland grass. It possesses good views to the west, north and east; the south aspect is blocked by Hoaroak Hill. The underlying strata is of Hangman Grit series and the monument consists of sandstone slabs and posts. The row, orientated roughly northwest to southeast, is visible for a length of 9.6 metres, more stones probably exist but remain obscured. Set at intervals which average 2.5 metres, they stand to a maximum height of 0.20 metres above the base of the peat cutting. The wide gap between stones B and C was tested by probing but with inconclusive results. [1,2] A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [3] SS 73824 43958 A short row of four stones, some 9.7 metres long, basically as described and planned at 1:100 by Probert in 1988 [1,2]. As suggested more stones may exist, hidden by the turf, so it may originally have been longer or even a setting rather than a stone row. Surveyed at 1:2500. The significant point about this row is that it is situated in a peat cutting which is about 0.3 metres deep. It is possible that the stones could have been used to define the peat cutting however they are too low and are set at an angle to the main cutting line. The stone at the northwest end has a broken top and is only 30 millimetres high, the other stones are between 50 millimetres and 200 millimetres high, 130 millimetres to 340 millimetres wide and 80 millimetres to 150 millimetres thick. Three of the stones have their longest side aligned along the row. The tallest stone in the row protrudes only 0.2 metres above the base of the cutting so the whole row would have been totally obscured by peat and turf before the cutting. This implies there may be many similar sites completely hidden beneath the peat on Exmoor. This site is also, rather untypically, situated on the summit of the ridge. [4] A field visit to assess the condition of this monument was carried out by Oliver Blackmore of Exeter University in October 2001 [5]. An additional 6 stones were located some 27.5 metres to the north, extending the row to the northwest. This gives it a new length of 66 metres. All of the stones are less than 0.1 metre high and are evident as stubs protruding through the turf, usually visible as slight mossy patches in an area of molinia grassland. The row has a slight curve over its length. At its northwest end, centred at SS 7378 4401 is a turf covered circular mound 5.7 metres in diameter and 0.4 m high. The stone row heads precisely for this mound and it is clear that the mound is part of the monument. It seems therefore to be a terminal cairn, making it the first example of a 'hybrid' row on Exmoor. Surveyed at 1:500 scale November 13th, 2001. [5,6] SS 7380 4398. Remains of a prehistoric stone alignment, known as Furzehill Common 3. The alignment comprises at least 10 standing stones, forming a row which runs in a slight curve from the northwest to the south east. There is a gap between the four stones at the south east end of the row and the other six known stones. Further stones may be hidden by peat in this gap. A circular cairn lies 7.5 metres beyond the last stone at the north west end of the row. This is believed to be a terminal cairn marking the end of the alignment. Scheduled. [7] Newly (2002) discovered stones very difficult to find. No erosion holes were present. [8] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 0. [9] This site is mentioned in the 2013 report by Hazel Riley, a field survey and synthesis of previous projects in the Hoaroak Valley, funded by the Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership Scheme. [10] The site was surveyed in May 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 0. [11] A row of approximately 10+ stones orientated on a cairn in the centre of Furzehill, running roughly northwest-southeast. Only 5 stones were discovered during this survey. The planned setting is situated within the centre of a peat cutting and the stones barely rise out of the ground. A potentially new stone (E) was noted to the northwest of Stone A, but it was completely buried. The site was later visisted by S. Gerrard who surveyed the site in dryer conditions and confirmed the presence of 11 stones, none of which exhibited damage to their fabric. It appears this row may be similar to White Ladder and Cheriton Ridge, where the stones may disappear beneath the turf in wet conditions. With this new information the sites condition is now considered to be “very good”. Stones A and B were almost completely buried and took a significant amount of time to find. [12-13] The site was surveyed as part of an academic research project by Dr Sandy Gerrard in 2018. Surveys were conducted using a prismatic compass and electronic distance device with the plan being generated in the field. [14] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [15]

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <1> Technical drawing: Probert, S.. 1988. Furzehill Common III/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. SAJ Probert, 15 December 1988.
  • <3> 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.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 28 June 1995.
  • <5> Report: Blackmore, O.. 2002. A Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Exmoor National Park Authority Owned Land.
  • <6> Verbal communication: Various. Various. ENPA archaeologist field visit. Rob Wilson-North, 13 November 2001.
  • <7> Index: English Heritage. 1913-. Schedule of Monuments. EH Scheduling Amendment, 6 October 2003.
  • <8> Report: Hughes, N.. 2009. A Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Exmoor National Park Authority Owned Land. P. 29.
  • <9> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <10> Report: Riley, H.. 2013. Hoaroak Valley: Historic landscape survey and analysis. 29.
  • <11> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <12> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018 - Scheduled Standing Stones. MDE8977.
  • <13>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MDE8977. [Mapped features: #45401 Stone A., MDE8977; #45402 Stone B., MDE8977; #45403 Stone C., MDE8977; #45404 Stone D., MDE8977; #45405 Stone E., MDE8977]
  • <14> Website: Gerrard, S.. 2020. The Stone Rows of Great Britain.
  • <15> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 871510, Extant 13 January 2022.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 51138
  • Devon SMR: SS74SW/123
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21494
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW90
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 871510



Grid reference Centred SS 7380 4398 (70m by 74m) (6 map features)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

Jan 13 2022 10:47AM


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