MSO6805 - Horsen Stone Setting (Monument)


A stone setting of probable Bronze Age date, which comprises 4 or 5 stones in the form of a parallelogram. One stone may be a natural feature rather than part of the setting. A possible cairn was also noted to the southeast.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 790 373. Stone setting found by H Pilkington on Horsen on the slope facing Cow Castle. It comprises a small indeterminate group with some stones upright and some lying. There are large outcrops nearby. This site was visited February 1980 by Pilkington, Eardley-Wilmot, and Ian Burrow who plotted it for Somerset’s Historic Environment Record (then SMR). [1] A setting of at least 5 stones on a slight terrace on the west bank of the River Barle. There are surface stones scattered about, so exact identification of the stones in the setting is difficult. Also noted in the area are mining earthworks and shafts (presumably this refers to record MSO12563). Stones lie in an area of 5 metres by 8 metres; consisting of an outlier to the west and a triangular setting of 4 uprights with one recumbent stone. There are also 2 possible cairns (MSO12510 and MSO12511) to the east, with a further 2 stones 4.7 metres further to the east. [2] (Horsen) SS 7906 3736. A setting of five upright slabs in the form of a four stone parallelogram, with a fifth off centre stone, lies in a prominent position on a very steep northeast facing slope. Located on a slightly sloping triangular shaped shelf, at 355 metres above Ordnance Datum, the site has impressive views to the northeast across the wide and deep River Barle valley, to rising ground beyond. The hill slope is on Morte Slates and the ground cover is rough pasture, heather and reed. The setting is a maximum 9.6 metres long and 5.5 metres wide and the slabs are of a sedimentary rock. A recumbent earthfast slab which lies within the setting is most probably a natural feature rather than a displaced upright. Numerous earthfast natural rock slabs and some small rock outcrops occur in the vicinity of the setting; to the southwest there are a few small possible stone quarry pits. The two stones previously noted to the east by Ian Burrow were not identified (see second paragraph). Two low, amorphous, probable cairns lie to the northeast of the setting (MSO12510 and MSO12511). Their relationship to the setting is not clear. An additional table of information on the stones is held in the archive.[3,4] Kite shaped setting of five upright stones and one recumbent (perhaps natural) The uprights are from 0.12 metres to 0.57 metres high and range in width from 0.23 metres to 0.35 metres and thickness from 0.1 metres to 0.2 metres. The recumbent stone is 1.45 metres long and 0.25 metres wide. Two amorphous cairns lie 6 metres (MSO12510) and 16m (MSO12511) to the east. [5] Seven stones are noted, with an outlier or outcrop 42 metres away. [6] An amended plan produced in 1995 shows two further stones within the setting and a possible cairn to the southeast (which does not appear to have its own record). [7] Stone B is located in an active erosion hollow. [8] A stone setting of 6 stones which sits on a plateau overlooking Cow Castle on the eastern spur of Horsen, in a naturally stony area. Three of the stones are upright, the other three are recumbent, two of which (D and E) are beneath the turf. The stones are separated by roughly 3-5m distance, and vary in upright height between 0.5m and 0.3m. Several stones in the nearby vicinity could also be convincing standing stones, but natural outcrops are common on this slope. Stone B is suffering from severe animal rubbing and stone D was found to be chipped. [9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H. 1983. Thirty Exmoor stone-settings. 30 September 1983, 2.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records. PRN 33105, site visit notes, I Burrow, 22 February 1980.
  • <3> Technical drawing: Fletcher, M.. 1989. Horsen/ink survey. 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 3 January 1989.
  • <5> Report: Quinnell, N.V. and Dunn, C.J.. 1992. Lithic monuments within the Exmoor National Park: A new survey for management purposes by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 39, SS 73 NE 11.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Setterington, R.A.. 1990. ms in HER files file.
  • <7> Technical drawing: Walker M. 12/04/1995. Amended plan.
  • <8> Report: Blackmore, O.. 2002. A Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Exmoor National Park Authority Owned Land.
  • <9>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MSO6805. [Mapped features: #45534 Stone A., MSO6805; #45535 Stone B., MSO6805; #45536 Stone C., MSO6805; #45537 Stone D., MSO6805; #45538 Stone E., MSO6805; #45539 Stone F., MSO6805; #45540 Horsen Stone Setting., MSO6805]
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35007, Extant 17 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7905 3736 (21m by 18m) (7 map features)
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10966
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE11
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35007
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33105

Record last edited

Nov 17 2021 12:08PM


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