MSO11248 - Hernes Barrow, Court Hill (Monument)


A Bronze Age round barrow has been robbed and has been eroded by ploughing. The remains of an internal kerb include four earthfast stones noted during field survey, with the tops of further stones visible protruding through the turf.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 85233700. Exford 2. Used as a boundary marker. Called Ernesburg and Hernesbureghe in the 1219 and 1279 perambulations of Exmoor Forest. Bowl barrow 19 feet diameter and 1 foot high. Retaining circle 35 feet diameter within margin of mound with four stones in situ and one recumbent. [1] Is a truncated bowl barrow 0.4 metres high. Four retaining stones just inside the west perimeter averaging 0.6 metres by 0.2 metres by 0.5 metres high. [2] 'Herne's Barrow', a mile S.S.W. of Exford Church and immediately S. of the trig. point on Court Hill. The remains consist of an enclosure bank (internal diameter 38ft) from which five stones protrude possibly representing the retaining wall of a round barrow which has been dug over - but not recently. Visited - 1931 and 1938. [4] One of two irregular mounds transcribed by McDonnell from aerial photographs, featuring a circular ditch. [6-8] In good condition. Tractor or other wheeled vehicle is driving over the edge of the earthwork causing some rutting. The four stones are still in position with others showing through the grass. No other earthworks in the immediate vicinity but the grassland appears to be regularly improved. [9] (SS 8522 3697) Tumulus (NR). [10] Centred at SS 85224 36977 are the mutilated remains of a round barrow. It is situated at 391 metres above Ordnance Datum on the summit of Court Hill. It lies some 48 metres south of an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar in an enclosed pasture field. The barrow is visible as a turf covered earth and stone mound about 17 metres in diameter and 0.5 metres high. It has been robbed leaving an amorphous and uneven interior and a ragged edge eroded by ploughing, especially in the southeast. Four earthfast stones, each about 0.7 metres high, 0.4 metres long and 0.2 metres thick, are set about 4 metres in from the perimeter in the north-northeast, northwest, west and southwest. They all lean outwards and are probably the remains of an internal kerb. Tops of other stones, one of them possibly being the fifth stone as noted by Gray [4], can be seen protruding through the turf, especially on the southeast. From the irregular spread of the internal material it would appear to have been a true barrow and not a ring or enclosure bank as suggested by Gray. The barrow was not shown on the 1888 25 inch 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map [11], in what was then enclosed rough grassland, and the name `Court Hill' does not appear on this or later Ordnance Survey maps. The barrow was surveyed by the Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division in 1965, and first appears on the 1976 map [12]. [13] The barrow earthwork does not show well on many aerial photographs. Nonetheless, the earthwork is visible on aerial photographs of 1952 and has been transcribed during the Exmoor National Mapping Programme survey. In addition on these images an indication of the disturbance described by the above authorities can be seen. A possible second larger mound is also visible approximately 145 metres to the east. Cropmarks immediately to the south of the mound, visible on aerial photographs of 1985, may also indicate the presence of a circular enclosure of later prehistoric in this area (MMO2864). [14-16] 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] The feature is depicted as an earthwork and is labelled "Hernes Barrow" on the 2021 MasterMap data. [18]

Sources/Archives (18)

  • <1> Article in serial: Grinsell, L V. 1969. Somerset barrows, part 1. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 113. 13, 16, 31.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1985. SS83NE. 1.
  • <3> Monograph: MacDermot, E T. 1911. A History of Exmoor Forest.
  • <4> Article in serial: Gray, H.G.. 1937. Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 83. V. 168-70.
  • <5> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. 129-130.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3314.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: September 19. HSL.UK.71-178 Run 85. 9328.
  • <8> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS8536.
  • <9> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. E Dennison, Somerset County Council, 23 March 1987.
  • <10> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1979. 1:10,000. 1:10,000.
  • <11> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1888, Somerset 45(16).
  • <12> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1976. 1:2500. 1:25,000. Sheet SS8569.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 21 February 1996.
  • <14> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540/860 (F20) 4010/11 (2 September 1952).
  • <15> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENPA JAS 85042 035 (29 August 1985).
  • <16> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192.
  • <17> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35703, Extant 21 September 2021.
  • <18>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #34067 ]

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO121
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6707
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE1
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35703
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33589



Grid reference Centred SS 8522 3697 (25m by 26m)
Map sheet SS83NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Sep 21 2021 1:49PM


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