MMO71 - Possible Bronze Age barrows on Cosgate Hill (Monument)


Two turf covered mounds have been noted in an area of gorse and heather, with the smaller one having a small depression in its centre. They may represent prehistoric barrows.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 79164883) Hut Circle (NR) [1] Cosgate Hill. This is shown as a hut circle on the Ordnance Survey map of 1962 but Grinsell states that it "resembles a small saucer barrow without interior mound." Diameter 14 paces, height 0.5 feet, enclosed by ditch 5 feet wide - overall diameter 42 feet. Visited Sept 1961. [2] SS 7916 4883. A well preserved turf covered barrow. There is a slight interior mound 0.2 metres of 'saucer' type, 7.2 metres across with a small central excavation. It is surrounded by a 0.1 metres deep silted ditch and 0.4 metres high outer bank with an overall diameter of 13.5 metres. Published 1:2500 survey revised. At SS 7917 4881 there is a flat topped turf covered mound of earth and stone showing signs of central disturbance; diameter 10.5 metres height 0.4 metres; a probable round barrow. Located during field investigation. Surveyed at 1:2500. [3] A flat topped turf covered mound of earth and stone showing signs of central disturbance and measuring 10.5 metres wide by 0.4 metres high was noted on aerial photographs. It was described as a disc barrow and one of a cluster of four. [4-6] An alleged saucer barrow is centred at SS 7916 4883 on the summit of Cosgate Hill. It is a circluar feature comprising an encircling bank 13.5 metres in diameter, 3 metres wide and 0.6 metres high with a sharply defined internal ditch 0.5 metres wide and 0.2 metres deep. A central mound is 6.1 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high. Its interpretation as a prehistoric saucer barrow must be questioned due to the very sharp definition of the features. It is more likely to be post-medieval in date, although it was certainly in existance by 1889 and is labelled on this map as a 'hut circle'. Its function is unclear. [7,8] At SS 7917 4881 is a flat topped mound 9 metres in diameter and 0.4 metres high, and with a summit diameter of 6.8 metres. It appears to be an undisturbed round barrow. [9] A turf-covered mound, SS 7916 4883, lies in an area of heather and gorse just below the summit of Cosgate Hill, at about 340 metres above Ordnance Datum. The stony mound, 7.6 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high, is surrounded by a shallow internal ditch and a well defined earthen bank 13.7 metres in diameter, 2.4 metres wide and 0.6 metres high. The feature is thought most likely to be a prehistoric barrow. A small turf covered mound, SS 7918 4881, lies in dense gorse and heather near the summit of Cosgate Hill, at about 340 metres above Ordnance Datum. This flat topped stony mound is 9.2 metres in diameter and 0.4 metres high with a small depression at its centre. The feature is thought to be a possible round barrow. [10] Both these features were recorded at 1:200 scale as part of an archaeological survey of the Cosgate Hill area. The survey was undertaken by the Exeter office of English Heritage at the request of the Exmoor National Park Authority. A report was compiled as part of the survey work and is available from the NMRC, Swindon. [11] A possible saucer barrow can be seen on aerial photographs as an earthwork on Cosgate Hill, centred approximately on SS 791 488. On the clearest aerial photographs it is visible as a circular earthwork bank roughly 12 metres in diameter and 1.5 metres wide, enclosing an area circa 8.5 metres in diameter. Hints of an internal ditch and possible internal features can be seen, but not clearly enough to be transcribed from the aerial photographs. The variation from the dimensions described by the above authorities probably arises due to vegetation obscuring the site. The flat topped mound described at SS 7917 4881 is not clearly visible, probably for similar reasons, and has not been transcribed. [5,12-13] The GIS mapping for this record has been amended to reflect the two 'barrows' mentioned above, at SS 7918 4881 and SS 7916 4883. It is possible (probable) that this record contains information duplicated in Monuments MDE20794 and MDE20034, although it is also possible these refer to two other barrows in the area. They do, however, have independent historic SMR references and could relate to two of the four barrows discussed by McDonnell. It is also not clear whether this is one of the barrows that has been Scheduled (modern NHLE reference 1002567) due to the mapping of this designation; as a result, the Monument has been linked to the designation record. [4,14] The site was visited as part of the Scheduled Monuments at Risk survey in 2009. It was thought that the two barrows to the east (MDE1222) are scheduled. The 'western' of these barrows (no grid reference supplied) was given a survival score of 7 whilst the 'eastern' barrow (grid reference only given to three figures, SS 789 488) was scored at 10 but was not accessible. It is possible that this latter barrow may be in fact that recorded under MMO71 but this is not clear, particularly as the grid reference supplied does not match. [15] The site was surveyed in May 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. The western barrow was noted to be at SS 78991 48825 (MDE1222) and was given a survival score of 7. The eastern barrow was located at SS 79157 48831 and was scored at 10. It is not fully clear if these are the same two barrows that were assessed in the 2009 survey. [16] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [17]

Sources/Archives (18)

  • --- Unpublished document: Blaylock, Shirley. 2021. Scheduled Monument Management Plan for Linear barrow and cairn cemetery on Cosgate Hill circa 240m north-west of County Gate, Countisbury, Exmoor National Park.
  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Barrows of North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 28. p116.
  • <3> Unpublished document: STONE, J.W.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 24 September 1974.
  • <4> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS7948b.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 4037-9 (11 April 1947).
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. MAM/13/032 (May 1977).
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890, Devon 3(12,16).
  • <8> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Worksheet, H. Eardley Wilmot, 1981.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 16 November 1993.
  • <10> Unpublished document: JAMIESON, EJ. Field Investigators Comments. English Heritage Field Investigation, 2002.
  • <11> Report: Jamieson, E.. 2002. Cosgate Hill, Countisbury, Devon.
  • <12> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/853 (F20) 4010-4011 (29 August 1952).
  • <13> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NE. MD002168.
  • <14> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 27 January 2015.
  • <15> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park. Exmoor National Park Authority.
  • <16> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <17> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35127, Extant 6 December 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12225
  • Devon SMR: SS74NE/516
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE1228
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20278
  • Local Heritage List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NE9
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35127



Grid reference Centred SS 2792 1488 (15m by 25m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS21SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Mar 13 2024 5:19PM


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