MMO139 - Weirwood deserted medieval farmstead (Monument)


A deserted medieval farmstead called Weirwood. The form and structure of the surviving earthworks suggest that the farmstead was settled in the medieval period and was still inhabited in the 19th Century.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 830 463. Deserted farmstead of Weirwood. It is shown as an occupied farm within its fields on the 1841 Tithe Map with 39 acres of land [1], owned by the Right Honourable Earl of Lovelace and occupied by Francis and William Pearce, but was first located from an aerial photograph taken in 1947, [2] which shows two or three buildings with surrounding fields. Richard McDonnell has produced sketch plans of the building remains and earthworks. Local traditions [3] attribute a 19th Century origin to this site, but the earthworks suggest an earlier, medieval farm site. (Not shown on 1809 1 inch 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map). (Pottery, probably all North Devon ware, circa 1600-50, found on "an old habitation site in Weir Wood" could possibly be from this site - see MSO7888). [1-5] A deserted medieval farmstead known as Weirwood is visible as earthworks on the ground and on aerial photographs. The remains of at least three buildings are visible, centred at SS 8299 4622 surrounded by associated field boundaries.The buildings are relatively complete, with a double sided fireplace still visible in one building. A fourth building is visible approximately 50 metres to the south-west at SS 8295 4619, situated on the south west facing slope of a large hillock. Substanial irregular field boundaries extend north-west and north-east forming perhaps four or five separate enclosures. One of these boundaries appears to follow the edge of the large hillock at SS 8291 4622, while others appear to follow the course of a paleochannel, suggesting they may have been associated with water management at the site. To the east of the group of three buildings, a curvilinear bank is visible, enclosing an oval area measuring approximately 40 metres long by 20 metres wide. The enclosure resembles a pond or lake, but seems excessively large for a settlement of this size. Further examination of this feature will be required to determine its exact function. The entire site covers an area measuring approximately 750 metres long by 200 metres wide, an area of 11.5 hectares. Weirwood is shown as an inhabited farmstead on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1890, and so must have been abandoned after this date. Further research may uncover further documentary evidence of the settlement here. [6-8] Complex site of three or four buildings and stone faced banks forming three or four small enclosures. Surprisingly complete site with trackways and field system extending to north and south (into Oare parish) of the farm. This is a square building made of mortared stone, no entrance visible but was probably on south side where the trackway approaches from the main farm area to the northeast. It is built onto a quarried ledge on the southeast side of a large wooded burrow. It is 7 paces square with walls 0.25 metres thick varying from 2.5 metres to 0.25 metres high. A multisided stone built structure is set asymmetrically in this building about 1 metre high which may be a double sided fireplace. Mostly collapsed. Set in the northwest quadrant of what is presumably a single room. A second building lies at SS 8298 4629 which is rectangular, 6 paces by 12 paces. An Exmoor National Park walk runs through the centre of it, which has destroyed any entrance. At the east end two irregular and loosely built walls have been added. In addition to field banks there is a leat running parallel to, and on north side of, Weir Water. [9] One building shown on 25 inch Ordnance Survey map at SS 8296 4630 and only small walled enclosures shown on Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division 6 inch map. [10-11] Two to three building remains and small enclosures centred at SS 8297 4620 (Farmstead?). Weirwood Farm 3/27/80 8098. [2,12,13] A collection of North Devon ware has been found in this vicinity and may come from the farmstead site (MEM22408). [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> Map: Cox, J. W.C.. 1841. Porlock Tithe Map and Apportionment. 13.3 inches : 1 mile. Land parcel 1245.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: GRATY, DJG. Aerial photograph. RAF CPE/UK 1980 (11 April 1947) 3034.
  • <3> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Inf: Mrs Olive Hallam.
  • <4> Article in serial: Aston, M. 1982-3. Deserted Farmsteads on Exmoor. Somerset archaeology and natural history : the pro. 127. 98.
  • <5> Article in serial: Aston, M and Murles, B.J. 1978. Somerset Archaeology 1977. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 122. p138.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72065 211 (15 April 1972).
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1896. County Series, First Edition 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1890.
  • <8>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 NW. MD002166. [Mapped feature: #32659 ]
  • <9> Unassigned: SMR file 33949.
  • <10> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 33(7).
  • <11> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560. SS84NW.
  • <12> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS8246B.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: September 19. HSL.UK.71-178 Run 83. 9298.
  • <14> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 24 July 2013.
  • <15> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35929, Extant 22 February 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 8272 4628 (668m by 443m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11553
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO7894
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NW22
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35929
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33949

Record last edited

Feb 22 2022 10:31AM


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