MSO11673 - Riscombe deserted farmstead, Winsford (Monument)


A medieval deserted farmstead that was still in use in the 19th Century.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Nicholas de Rokescombe mentioned in the 1327 Lay subsidy. [1] In 1839 there were two estates here of 30 and 66 acres. [2] There are ruins of buildings and good earthworks on the site, but these are being destroyed by dumping and clearance. [3] Marked "Riscombe" on Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division 6 inch map with characteristic small enclosures. [4] A group of small enclosures and possibly three building remains were transcribed from aerial photographs at Riscombe deserted farm site. [5-7] The site of Riscombe lay on the northern side of the Winn Brook at 240 metres above Ordnance Datum, at the foot of very steep southfacing slopes. The Tithe Map for Winsford parish shows two ranges of buildings around a yard area, with further buildings set away to the south and west. The farmstead lies at the centre of a rectangular holding bordered by the Winn Brook on the south and by Ash Lane on the north. By 1889 [10] a single principal building is shown, whilst the others are either unroofed or have declined into sheds or other small structures. By 1903 [11], all the buildings are unroofed except for one very small shed away from the main complex. From the foregoing it appears that Riscombe declined during the 19th Century and was abandoned between 1889 and 1903. The site is in a stable condition, but very little survives. The sites of the two principal buildings are clearly visible. The first at SS 8802 3512 consists of a disturbed platform measuring about 8 metres long and 4.5 metres wide. It is defined by a revetment wall 1.3 metres high against the steep natural slopes on its northwest. This returns southeast at its northwestern end. The southwestern part of the platform is confused and this may be the area refered to as having been bulldozed. The second building was at SS 8803 3511 and now consists of a slight rectangular platform measuring 11.4 metres by 5 metres and defined by sharp scarps 0.4 metres high. Sherds of 19th Century pottery are visible on the surface here. [10-12] The mapping for the record has been undertaken using the georectified Winsford tithe map. [13] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [14]

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <1> Serial: Dickinson, F.H.. 1889. Kirby's Quest for Somerset. 180.
  • <2>XY Map: 1839. Winsford Tithe Map and Apportionment. [Mapped feature: #41703 ]
  • <3> Article in serial: Aston, M. 1983. Deserted Farms on Exmoor and the Lay subsidy of 1327 in West Somerset. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 127. 101.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3354.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: September 19. HSL.UK.71-177 Run 89. 8661 (obscured by tree cover).
  • <7> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS8735D, SS8835A.
  • <8> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1979. SS83NE. 9.
  • <9> Serial: Medieval Settlement Research Group. Various. Annual Report. 25. 15.
  • <10> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889, Sheet 57(1).
  • <11> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1903, Sheet 57(1).
  • <12> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 17 September 1997.
  • <13> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 5 September 2014.
  • <14> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35723, Extant 21 September 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO8522
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE9
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35723
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34232



Grid reference Centred SS 8799 3512 (145m by 114m) Historic mapping
Map sheet SS83NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Sep 21 2021 3:11PM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.