MSO6862 - Beckham Hill Stone Setting (Monument)


A stone setting on the northwest slope of Beckham Hill comprises nine stones in three parallel rows of three.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

The Ordnance Survey 6 inch map shows four stones at SS 8063 4238 [1]. These in fact form part of a setting of at least eight stones, the additional ones being three recumbent stones and a small stump of another. This group clearly falls within the same category as the other stone settings in the area, see MSO7903 for type site. Published 1:2500 survey revised. [2] SS 8065 4238. There are now 7 stones visible, 3 fallen. Probing showed 2 buried fallen stones on the north side, making a setting of 3 symmetrical rows of 3. [3,4] (SS 8063 4238) The 1978 Ordnance Survey Map shows 6 stones. [5] A setting of nine stones at SS 8063 4238 in three parallel rows, 4.5 metres apart, orientated westnorthwest to eastsoutheast. Each row has three almost equally spaced stones about 6 metres apart. One upright slab survives in each row, oriented with the main axis as, with one exception, are the recumbant stones. All the stones are of local sandstone. The setting is within a patch of cropped grass with some rushes. It lies on slightly sloping ground below the crest of the hill, and above a steep sided valley immediately to the north, with good views to the west and north, including another setting 250 metres distant (MSO6873). [6,7] Triple row reduced to three upright and six fallen or buried stones. Upright stones 0.5 to 0.7 metres high. The southeast stone has a letter W scratched on one face. [8] Later sketch plan shows 9 stones comprising 3 triple rows. [9] Then seen as 2 rows of 3 stones with single outlier although probing revealed 2 more making 3 rows of 3. [10] 4 stones standing in 1982 between 0.3 to 0.7 metres high appearing to be similar to a Welsh double row with outlier. [11] In 1991 three rows of three. Five stones have fallen, three are leaning and only one in the southeast is upright. The stones remaining standing are aligned along the east to west rows and the setting is sufficiently complete to show that it originally had row spacings of 4.25 metres and a spacing of the rows of 6.25 metres. [15] Scheduled together with barrow (MSO6876) on 28 March 1996. [16] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 4. [17] The site was surveyed in May 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 0. [18] A stone setting comprising 3 regular rows, which once had three stones each, is situated on a plateau of Beckham Hill overlooking a small stream to the north and directly west of the modern field boundary fence. Only 4 stones remain upright, with the others recumbent. The rows are fairly regular with stones roughly 5-6m apart, although the shape of the stones differ. Animal rubbing is evident on all the uprights, but it is not frequent as the turf around the stones is very stable. A very recent quadbike track was discovered on the south-western edge of the setting, leading close to the stones, however, it diverts before it reaches the stones. [19-20] The site was surveyed as part of an academic research project by Dr Sandy Gerrard in 2019. Surveys were conducted using a prismatic compass and electronic distance device with the plan being generated in the field. [21]

Sources/Archives (21)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 2 August 1965.
  • <3> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H. 1983. Thirty Exmoor stone-settings.
  • <4> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 1983. Ancient Exmoor: A Study of the Archaeology and Prehistory of Exmoor. The Exmoor Press. Microstudy C2. p 35.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1978. 25" SS8042.
  • <6> Technical drawing: Quinnell, N.V.. 1989. Beckham Hill/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 11 January 1989.
  • <8> 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. SS84SW18. P. 46.
  • <9> Technical drawing: Grinsell, L. V.. Unknown. Sketch Plan.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records. PRN 33052, H Eardley-Wilmot, 15 October 1979.
  • <11> Unassigned: SMR file 33052.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Eardley-Wilmot, H. 16.06.80. Eardley-Wilmot, H to Somerset County Council 16.06.80 - information.
  • <13> Article in serial: Fowler, MJ. 1988. The Standing Stones of Exmoor. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 132. P. 1-13 (Exmoor 7).
  • <14> Report: McDonnell, R.. 1985. Recommendations for the Management of Archaeological Sites in the Exmoor National Park at Warren, Pinford, Tom's Hill and Hayes Allotment. P. 55 (site 55).
  • <15> Unassigned: Setterington, R.A.. 1991. MS in SCED.
  • <16> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 24/04/1996. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <17> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <18> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <19>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MSO6862. [Mapped features: #45819 Stone A., MSO6862; #45820 Stone B., MSO6862; #45821 Stone C., MSO6862; #45822 Stone D., MSO6862; #45823 Stone E., MSO6862; #45824 Stone F., MSO6862; #45825 Stone G., MSO6862; #45826 Stone H, MSO6862; #45827 Stone J., MSO6862; #45828 Stone K., MSO6862; #45829 Stone L., MSO6862]
  • <20> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018 - Scheduled Standing Stones. MSO6862.
  • <21> Website: Gerrard, S.. 2020. The Stone Rows of Great Britain.



Grid reference Centred SS 8063 4239 (22m by 17m) (11 map features)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10913
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW 18
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36252
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33052

Record last edited

Oct 13 2021 1:16PM


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