MEM23333 - Post-medieval peat stacks on Sherdon (Monument)


Two adjoining post-medieval mounds. These may be associated with peat extraction, but they have often been considered as barrows alongside two others (MSO6799).

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Exmoor Nos. 21a and b, adjoining mounds at SS 7924 3549. 21a, the northeast mound, is 7 paces in diameter by 1.5 feet high and is ditched. 21b, the southwest mound, is 7 paces in diameter by 2.5 feet high and is also ditched. These two barrows are listed as doubtful. [1] These are known as Sherdon Barrows (together with MSO6798), and so called in Chase records of 1794 and 1819. [2] Numbers 21a and b, at SS 7925 3552 are both small square mounds enclosed by a slight ditch. They do not seem to be of any great age and may be drying platforms associated with peat digging. [3] These possible peat drying platforms, mentioned by are centred at SS 7925 3552. They consist of a pair of adjacent turf covered mounds enclosed within a shallow ditch. The eastern, flat topped mound is rectangular, measuring 6.2 metres by 7.3 metres and 0.4 metres high. The western mound is sub-circular and measures 6.3 metres in diameter and 0.5 metres high. The two mounds are separated by a shallow ditch. Both lie within a rectangular area measuring 15.5 metres by 8.5 metres and defined by a sharp sided ditch 1 metre wide and 0.3 metres deep. The purpose of the mounds is unclear. The sharpness of the enclosing ditch suggests a post-medieval date. The classification of the mounds as peat drying platforms is unfounded. Local information states that peat was never dried on mounds or platforms within memory. It is suggested that on Bodmin Moor, where similar features have been identified and so classified, the mounds represent peat charcoal production sites. However, there is no known documentary evidence for peat charcoal production on Exmoor. [4-6] This area is clearly visible on aerial photographs, although only one small sub-rectangular square (identified as a peat stand) can be seen. It is clearly very different in size and form to the larger barrows nearby (MSO6799) at SS 7921 3554 and SS 7943 3548. The mounds lie in an area of extensive peat cutting, and it is possible that the subrectangular mound is related to this activity. [7-8] This area was visited during rapid field assessment in 2013 and interpreted as two decayed turf stacks. The mounds were seen to both be subcircular and 1 metre high. The one to the west is 7 metres north-south and 6 metres east to west, the other is 8 metres north to south and 7 metre east to west. A sharp ditch, 0.7 metres wide and 0.5 metres deep encircles both mounds. [11] Two peaty mounds lie to the east of a round barrow (EHF160008) on the east side of Horsen Hill. They are both subcircular and 1 metre high. The one to the west is 7 metres north to south and 6 metres east to west. A sharp ditch, 0.7 metres wide and 0.5 metres deep, encircles both mounds. These are the remains of decayed turf stacks. [12] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [13]

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1969. Somerset Barrows. Part I: West and South. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 113. 17, 33.
  • <2> Monograph: Collyns, C.P. 1902. The Chase of the Wild Red Deer. 221, 249.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PALMER, JP. Mid 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 2 September 1965.
  • <4> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Stan Curtis, Simonsbath (former Fortescue Estate worker and peat cutter).
  • <5> Article in serial: Griffith, F.M.. 1984. Archaeological investigations at Colliford Reservoir, Bodmin Moor, 1977-78. Cornish Archaeology. 23. pp 49 - 140. p49-140.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 12 October 1994.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F61) 167-68 (27 April 1964).
  • <8>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NE. MD002190. [Mapped feature: #47719 ]
  • <9> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 4367.
  • <10> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS7935.
  • <11> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report. 40.
  • <12> Report: Riley, H.. 2016. Archaeological walkover survey: Horsen, Exmoor. 6.
  • <13> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34995, Extant 16 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO46
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10874
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10875
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12001
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE5
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34995
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34638



Grid reference Centred SS 7925 3551 (15m by 16m)
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Nov 16 2021 4:26PM


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