MSO11759 - Medieval and post-medieval deserted farmstead in Pit Wood (Monument)


The farmstead is visible as two building platforms and a rectilinear enclosure, together with the remains of a post-medieval building.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Banks forming trackway and small subrectangular enclosure with possibly two buildings showing as low banks in west corner of Pit Wood. [1,2] Nothing shown on 1978 OS 1:10,000 map. [3] Nothing shown on 1905 six inch 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map. [4] This appears to be a deserted farm site, date uncertain. The site comprises several small enclosures marked by degraded stone walls. There is also some earthwork evidence for at least two buildings, possibly more. The site at present is in good condition under a cover of luxuriant grass. The complex is situated on the edge of Pit Wood and there is a trackway running through the wood which was presumably the route in and out. The location is rather wet, being on the flood plain of the River Barle, and there is a substantial wall on the river side of the complex. A strange kink in this wall may mark the route of a leat into the farmyard although the fall of water is rather limited. [5] Nothing shown on 1841 tithe map. [6] Nothing shown on 1809 map. [7] A farm is mentioned in Pit Wood in the Lay Subsidy of 1327. The site was identified on aerial photographs at SS 853 337. [8] Centred at SS 8535 3368, above the River Barle flood plain, are the remains of a farmstead set into the western corner of the field bank which encloses Pit Wood. The farmstead consists of two building platforms and a rectilinear enclosure. Within the enclosure there are also the possible remains of a third structure. They are probably of medieval origin. The first platform is the northwest corner of the site within the enclosing bank at SS 8535 3369. It consists of a raised platform of 13.5 metres by 4.5 metres with an internal division cutting it approximately in half. There is also an annex in the centre of the southern side which might represent an entrance. On its western and northern sides the wall of the building has been incorporated into the field bank and can be traced where the stonework remains to a marked higher quality than elsewhere. The second building is at SS 8357 3369 to the east of the former, consisting of a platform cut into the slope. It measures approximately 6.4 metres by 5.2 metres , although it appears that the southernmost corner has been cut by a track which runs through the site. At SS 8355 336- [last digit missing] are the remains of another possible structure although very litle of it survives. It lies within an enclosure covering the southern half of the site. Much of the enclosure is built using orthostatic construction as it runs up the slope. There is also a platform on the Barle flood plain outside of the field bank at SS 8354 3367 which measures about 20 metres by 12 metres , although it has no real coherent shape to suggest that it represents a structure, and could instead be associated with the destruction of the hedge bank near it. [9-10] The roughly square bank-defined farmstead enclosure can be seen as an earthwork centred on circa SS 85393366 on aerial photographs of the 1950s onwards. Surface vegetation unfortunately obscures any further detail from view. [11-12] The 2021 MasterMap data shows a group of earthworks centred at SS 8537 3367, extending beyond the area transcribed by the NMP project [12]. They are labelled "Farmstead (site of)". [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. [14,15]

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3360.
  • <2> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 8533.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1978. 1:10,000 SS83SE.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1892-1906. County Series, 2nd Edition 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1905, 56NE.
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. E Dennison, Somerset County Council, 5 December 1988.
  • <6> Map: 1841. Hawkridge Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1809. 1", sheet 20.
  • <8> 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. 25,102.
  • <9> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Chapman, H.. 1995. Pit Wood/ink survey . 1:2500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Chapman, H.P.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 22 March 1995.
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR 540/860 (F20) 4100-1 (2 September 1952).
  • <12> Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SE. MD002198.
  • <13>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #34102 ]
  • <14> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 866659, Extant 1 February 2022.
  • <15> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 932924, Extant 1 February 2022.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO357
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO8697
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO8704
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SE36
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SE44
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 866659
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 932924
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34328



Grid reference Centred SS 8535 3367 (98m by 78m) Amalgamated from multiple Monument records
Map sheet SS83SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Feb 1 2022 1:29PM


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