MSO6251 - Robin How Cairn on Dunkery Hill (Monument)


A large Bronze Age burial cairn on Dunkery Hill comprises a circular mound measuring 21.5 metres in diameter and 2 metres high.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

[SS 9077 4272] Robin How [NR]. [1] Cairn of beacon known as "Robin How" on the Luccombe-Wootton Courtney parish boundary. On it there are two conical erections one to the north and one to the south, each about 3 feet high. Between them the mound has a flat top composed of smaller stones than elsewhere. The diameter of exposed stones is about 62 feet and the height above the moor (excluding the surmounting stone heaps) is 6 foot. [2] Scheduled under Burial Mounds. [3,4] This is a disturbed cairn 1.6 metres high and listed by Grinsell as Luccombe No. 3 [5]. As Grinsell suggests, a quarry pit 0.7 metres deep against the east side of the cairn probably provided its material. See G.P.s AO/65/126/3 and 4.) Resurveyed at 1:2500. [6] [SS 9076 4272] Luccombe 3. Robin How, cairn 24 paces diameter, 10ft. high. The material may have come from quarry pits to the east, northeast and southeast. Visited by Grinsell Whitsun 1958. Robin How and Joaney How (MSO7397) were shown as Luckham Barrows on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1809 [7], and as Luccombe Barrows on the map by W. C. Cox 1829 [?] and in Savage [8]. The earliest appearance of Robin and Joaney How on the maps appears to be on the Ordnance Survey six inch map of 1889 [9]. Together with Joaney How barrow they may enshrine a tradition of Little John and Robin Hood. [5] The large cairn known as Robin How lies on Dunkery Hill at SS 90761 42724. It comprises a large, circular mound of stone, enclosed by a heather and turf covered bank. The cairn measures 21.5 metres in diameter and stands 2 metres high. The eastern side is flanked by a large pit, 19 metresnorth to south, 8 metres East to West and 0.8 metres deep, probably the source of material for the cairn. The stone mound is flat topped, and has probably been re-worked recently, as there is no sign of the two conical erections mentioned by [3]. The evidence for this being the site of a beacon comes from the Ordnance Survey 25 inch 1st Edition map [13] there is no other evidence that this was the case. The cairn was surveyed using differential GPS as part of the RCHME East Exmoor Project. [10] The site was photographed by RCHME in 1999. [11-12] Surveyed at 1:500 scale with EDM, 24 February 2000. [13-15] The cairn known as Robin How has been transcribed as earthworks from aerial photographs as part of the Exmoor National Mapping Programme survey. The cairn appears to be circa 25 metres in diameter and centred on circa SS 9076 4272. It is one of eight cairns recorded as part of the survey in this area, although more are present but not visible on the aerial photographs available. [16-18] Although marked as "Beacon" on the 25 inch Ordnance Survey map, no evidence of it being used as such. [19,20] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 3. [21] The site was surveyed in April 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 3. [22] The site is depicted and labelled "Robin How Cairn" on the 2020 MasterMap data. [23] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [25]

Sources/Archives (25)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Article in serial: Gray, H.St.G.. 1932. Rude stone monuments of Exmoor (Somerset Portion): Part IV. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 78. Part II, pp 121-125. P. 125.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Various. Scheduled Monument Notification . EH Scheduling amendment, 23 April 2003.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Various. Scheduled Monument Notification . DOE (IAM) AMs Eng 2 1978 117.
  • <5> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1969. Somerset Barrows, Part 1: West and South. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. 113. 14, 15, 17, 35.
  • <6> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 15 June 1965.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1809. 1" 1st edition, sheet 20.
  • <8> Monograph: Savage, J.. 1830. A History of the Hundred of Carhampton.
  • <9> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1846-1899. County Series; 1st Edition 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1889.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Riley, H.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 6 March 1997.
  • <11> Photograph: Hesketh-Roberts, M.. 1999. Job: Robin And Joaney How Bronze Age Barrows. Unknown. Colour. Negative.
  • <12> Photograph: Hesketh-Roberts, M.. 1999. Job: Robin And Joaney Howe Bronze Age Barrows. Unknown. Colour. Negative.
  • <13> Photograph: Hesketh-Roberts, M.. 2000. Job: Robin And Joaney Howe, R Wilson North And H Riley Surveying. Unknown. Colour. Negative.
  • <14> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Riley, H.. 2000. Robin How/pencil survey. Unknown. Permatrace. Pencil.
  • <15> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 24 February 2000.
  • <16> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3177-8 (11 April 1947).
  • <17> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 9042/10-12 (23827/02-04) (19 February 2005).
  • <18> Archive: Hegarty, C.. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SW. MD002186.
  • <19> Map: Ordnance Survey. County Series; 2nd Edition (1st Revision) 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904, Somerset 34(14).
  • <20> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. Somerset 34(14).
  • <21> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <22> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <23>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #38301 ]
  • <24> Aerial photograph: 1971. HSL.UK.71-177 Run 91, September. 8688.
  • <25> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36960, Updated 23 May 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 9076 4272 (30m by 31m) Estimated from sources
Map sheet SS94SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (12)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO229
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11312
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO7396
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SW2
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record
  • NBR Index Number: 2K/00006
  • NBR Index Number: 2K/00831
  • NBR Index Number: 99/01249
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36960
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): 51
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33667
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35591

Record last edited

May 24 2022 2:46PM


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