MEM24948 - World War Two searchlight emplacement in Church Close (Monument)


Two subcircular platforms, previously interpreted as possible prehistoric hut platforms and recorded under MDE11247, are now thought to represent World War Two searchlight positions.

Please read the .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 698 492. The fields around Lee Abbey are now under pasture and the much ploughed remains of earlier cultivation are visible as terracing and curvilinear lynchets (up to 1.5 metres high and 3 metres wide) in fields surrounding the main buildings. Also evident are several small levelled areas A-H. (See 1:1000 Survey for exact extent). I: SS 7007 4935. The remains of a well ploughed circular platform about 10 metres in diameter within front and rear scarps 0.6 metres high. J: SS 7011 4944. A similar though less well defined circular platform approximately 10 metres in diameter. It is mainly evident as a curved frontal scarp about 0.7 metres high. The rear merges into the gentle slope. I and J mark the sites of two circular features shown on the 1946 aerial photographs [1]. They had been ploughed out by 1972 as they are not evident on aerial photographs [2] taken then. It is almost certain that some of these remains, probably those to the northeast, are prehistoric in origin.The two circular features, I and J, may possibly have been hut platforms. [3] The circular features I and J are visible on aerial photographs; however, they do not appear on later photographs, and were most likely destroyed by ploughing and other improvement activities in the mid 20th Century. They are not depicted on the 1st or 2nd edition Ordnance Survey maps of the area. [4-6] Sites I and J have previously been interpreted as possible prehistoric hut platforms by [3]; however, these had not been ploughed over on aerial photographs dating to 1946 to 1948 [7], whereas Church Close has been ploughed from as least as early as the 19th Century. Platform J may represent a World War Two searchlight position, as in a stance for a 90cm light projector; a narrow cable channel on the platform is visible on [7]. Anomalies in this area on the geophysical survey [8] described "a semi-circular stony deposit with a disrupted ditch to the north", either of prehistoric or more recent origin. [9] The features were originally recorded under MDE11247, but have been moved to a new HER Monument record for clarity. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK 1655/3155/57 (11 July 1946).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . Devon 'T'Blk1 / Somerset 'C'Blk2, 023, 15 April 1972.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 30 March 1994.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904.
  • <6>XY Archive: Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme: SS 64 NE. MD002172. [Mapped feature: #47090 Site I, ]
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography.
  • <8>XY Report: Dean, R.. 2017. An archaeological gradiometer and resistance survey: Land at Lee Abbey, Lyton and Lynmouth, Devon. [Mapped feature: #47088 Site J, LA1704]
  • <9> Report: Riley, H. 2017. Assessment and Metric Survey of Archaeological Features at Lee Abbey, Exmoor National Park Project Report. LA1704, p6.
  • <10> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 3 March 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7008 4939 (58m by 117m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS74NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • None recorded

Record last edited

Mar 1 2022 11:50AM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.