MMO181 - Prehistoric earthworks on Tom's Hill (Monument)


Field boundaries, hut circles and enclosures have been identified as earthworks from aerial photographs taken between 1952 and 1979. The earthworks are potentially prehistoric or Romano-British in date.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 800 432. Low banks on the west end of Tom's Hill, first recorded from air photographs, were examined in the field in 1981. The low banks and lynchets form fragments of curving field boundaries and an irregular enclosure with an entrance and internal divisions. On the north side of the hill there are at least two circular house platforms, levelled into the slope, with the remains of hut walling on one of them. The area involved is approximately 12 hectares. [1] Centred at SS 8007 4315, covering the entire western tip of Great Tom's Hill, is a system of field banks and at least one enclosure. To the south of the Exmoor/Oare parish boundary which bisects the system, the features lie in an area of deep molinia grass, and are very difficult to trace on the ground. To the north they are obscured by heather. Where they are visible they form a complex of turf-covered stony lynchets. Their extent and curving form, coupled with the fact that they exploit the upper valley sides and also incorporate a droveway, suggest a medieval date. The features show well on air photographs taken in 1979 (NMR No: SF 1459). The complex was surveyed with GPS. [2] The field system, enclosure and hut circles were transcribed as earthworks from aerial photographs of the1950s onwards as part of the Exmoor National Mapping Programme survey. Both areas of field system follow a largely sub-rectilinear pattern aligned roughly north to south, the main axis of sub-division aligned roughly west to east. The adjacent D-shaped enclosure is centred on circa SS 8008 4312 and sub-divided into three cells. Two possible hut circles are visible, at circa SS 8001 4331 and circa SS 8006 4327, measuring approximately 25 and 10 metres in diameter respectively. The presence of a hollow way or droveway within this area at circa SS 7994 4337 has been proposed as evidence of a medieval date, but this routeway appears to have little direct association with the field system, enclosure or hut circles as visible on the available aerial photographs, which are more convincingly prehistoric or Romano-British in form. [3-6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [7] c. SS 8009 4311. Well defined enclosure with northwestern and northeastern sides straight and at right angles to each other. Southwestern side forms a convex arc. Southeastern side is only clear at the eastern end. Linear internal divisions. [8] The enclosure mentioned by [8] forms part of a complex of field banks in this area. [9]

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Article in serial: Burrow, I., Minnitt, S. and Murless, B.. 1982. Somerset Archaeology 1981. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 126. 69-91. p64.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/931 (F20) 4110-12 08-NOV-1952.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F65) 166-7 27-APR-1964.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8042/2 (1459 328, 330-333, 342 and 344) (1 March 1979).
  • <6> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184.
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36295, Extant 8 June 2021.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: March 1977. NMR SF1459.328, 342 and 344.
  • <9> Unassigned: SMR file 33123.
  • <10> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS8043.
  • <11> Report: McDonnell, R.. 1985. Recommendations for the Management of Archaeological Sites in the Exmoor National Park at Warren, Pinford, Tom's Hill and Hayes Allotment. 52 (site 42).
  • <11> Photograph: Somerset County Council Planning Department. Slide. 3.014.0086 (March 1984).
  • <12> Aerial photograph: 1990. DAP QP3-6 (1990) SCED.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10984
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11524
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6870
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO7755
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW36
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36295
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33123
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33919



Grid reference Centred SS 8000 4319 (568m by 560m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Jul 13 2021 2:27PM


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