MMO156 - Holmoor deserted farmstead (Monument)


A series of ruined stone built structures, field boundaries and earthwork enclosures, visible on aerial photographs and probably of post-medieval date. The settlement is depicted on maps of 1782 and 1822 and was deserted by 1890.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 86104037. Deserted farmstead of Holmoor on the east side of a deepstream valley. There are clear earthwork remains of a longhouse with several enclosures around, approached by a hollow way from the north west (M Aston, fieldwork 30 July 1977). Holmoor was a separate holding of only 9 acres in 1840, but with extensive pasture rights on the moors. The earthworks are clearly shown on air photograph. [1,2] Richard McDonnell has produced a sketch plan of the site. It describes a rectangular enclosure 26 paces by 20 paces with beech trees growing on its stone faced banks. A second enclosure attached to the north side with sunken floor and building remains. Short holloway enters on northeast side. Although complex, the site appears to be a small building with three rooms and annex to the west. Third small enclosure on south side. Banks generally 1.5m high. [3,4,16] Additional reference. [5,6] The site is depicted on maps of Somerset dated 1782 and 1822 [8] but only the area of the intake is shown on the OS surveyors' drawing of 1803-4. [7] "Homoor" was a small, isolated holding of c7.5 acres in 1840 (contra 9 acres of [1]), completely surrounded by open moorland. At this time it consisted of an L-shaped farmstead with a walled garden and barton to the SE, three larger gardens to the W and enclosed pasture and meadow to the E (see tithe map trace). [10] By 1890 it had been abandoned and more regular fields laid out. [11] However, it seems from aerial photographs that there were at least two further intakes to the NE and E of the homestead, presumably representing fields abandoned prior to 1840 or taken in between 1840 and the end of occupation of the settlement. [12] Post-Medieval farmstead with attached enclosures at SS 86104037. The site is on the edge of a steep slope falling to the River Quarme at the south end of Hoar Moor. A ruined, stone-built farmstead comprising a amin range orientated NE to SW with a small, additional structure attached to the S corner. The main range is rectangular, 17.7m long overall divided into three cells 4.7x3.7m, 3.8x4.1m and 5.5x4.2m respectively from SW to NE. The structure on the south corner measures 5.4mx3.6m. Three enclosures are attached to the farmstead in series to the SE; Richard McDonell's sketch plan [7] shows these adequately. The first is subrectangular, measuring c13x8-12.3m, the narrower end upslope. The remaining two are rectangular, measuring 23x13m and 13x8.5m respectively, with substantial, stone-faced earthen banks up to 1.5m high and partially copped by mature beech trees. Field walls in the immediate vicinity, all around the farmstead, define associated, small-scale intakes. The surviving homestead remains mirror exactly the plan of structures in 1840. The remains of the "house" on the site cannot be said definitely to represent a long house, as stated by Aston ([3]). On present evidence the site appears wholly Post-Medieval. [13] The remains of the deserted farmstead of Holmoor, of probable post-medieval date, survive as a series of ruined stone built structures, field boundaries and earthwork enclosures centred on circa SS 86124037. The settlement structures and associated field boundaries, as described by the authorities above, are largely visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards. The main farmstead building range may be centred on circa SS 86114037, banks or walls defining an enclosed area circa 23 metres long and up to 14 wide, aligned north-west to south-east. In total the farmstead's field system follows the south-west facing contours of the Quarme valley for up to 240 metres. A track or hollow way approaches the farmstead from the north-east in an arc across Hoar Moor. Facing the farmstead enclosure across the Quarme valley, a possibly subdivided oval enclosure circa 60 metres in diameter, centred on circa SS 86014036, is probably a further phase of intake associated with Holmoor. The gutters of a catchwater system water meadow immediately to the north may be associated with the later phases of the farmstead. These gutters, centred on circa SS 86264056 and SS 86224080, have been erroneously annotated as drains on the Ordnance Survey base map. It is the opinion of this authority that a number of elements depicted in MacDonnells sketch plotting are non-archaeological in origin, including the linear features centred on circa SS 86174036 which appear to be naturally formed drainage channels. [14,15] Catch meadow water system nearby and probably associated (MSO6722). [17] On the southern edge of Hoar Moor, on the edge of a steep slope above the River Quarme, at SS 8610 4039, are the remains of a farmstead. The building comprises a ruined, stone structure. The main range is orientated northeast to southwest with a small, additional structure attached to its southern corner. The main range is 17.5 metres by 4 metres (external measurements) and is divided into three small rooms. The structure on the southern corner is 5.5 metres by 3.5 metres. On the southeastern side of the farm are three rectangular enclosures, formed by substantial beech hedge banks and the remains of four small fields surround the farm. The earthwork remains of an oval enclosure on the north side of Quarme, at SS 8598 4035, together with banks and drainage ditches on Hoar Moor, identified from aerial photographs, may be associated with the farmstead. The farmstead, known as Holemoor, was in use by 1809-1812 when it was part of the Acland Estate. The infields (25 acres in 1809, 9 acres in 1842) were supplemented by a large amount of rough grazing (151 acres) on the moor above. It had been abandoned by 1890. [22]

Sources/Archives (23)

  • --- Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185.
  • <1> Aerial photograph: GRATY, DJG. Aerial photograph. (SCPO HSL UK 1971 Run 95 9332).
  • <2> Map: 1840. Exford Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <3> Article in serial: Aston, M. 1982-3. Deserted Farmsteads on Exmoor. Somerset archaeology and natural history : the pro. 127. 92.
  • <4> Article in serial: Aston, M and Murles, B.J. 1978. Somerset Archaeology 1977. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 122. 138.
  • <5> Article in serial: GRATY, DJG. 1982. Somerset archaeology and natural history : the pro. 126. 126 (1982). p 82: (R McDonnell, Western Arch Trust).
  • <6> Article in serial: GRATY, DJG. 1977. Medieval Village Research Group annual report. 25. 25, 1977. p 15: (M Aston).
  • <7> Externally held archive reference: Externally held archive. CRAAGS Field Record Sheet 20-JAN-1981 (R McDonnell).
  • <8> Serial: Somerset Record Society [series] . Day & Masters' (1782) and Greenwoods' (1822) maps of Somerset.
  • <9> Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) . OS 2" drawings 1803-4.
  • <10> Map: 1840. Exford Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <11> Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) . OS 25" 1890.
  • <12> Aerial photograph: PATTISON, PP. Aerial photograph. OS 73/109/968.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Pattison, P. Field Investigators Comments. F1 PP 09-MAR-1987.
  • <14> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 F20 4276-7 11-APR-1947.
  • <15> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 967-8 29-APR-1973.
  • <16> Technical drawing: McDonnell, R. 20/1/1981. with sketch plan.
  • <17> Unassigned: Dennison, E, Somerset County Council. 26.06.84.
  • <18> Aerial photograph: September 19. HSL.UK.71-177 Run 87. 8626.
  • <19> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 8640.
  • <20> Aerial photograph: September 19. HSL.UK.71-178 Run 85. 9331.
  • <21> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 4167.
  • <22> Report: Riley, H.. 2009. Hoar Moor and Codsend Moors, Exford and Cutcombe, Somerset, Exmoor National Park: Historic Landscape Analysis. 31-2.



Grid reference Centred SS 8623 4042 (505m by 285m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11276
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6719
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE36
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 36064
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33617

Record last edited

Sep 5 2017 2:13PM


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