MSO6873 - Swap Hill Stone Setting (Monument)


A stone setting on the western spur of Swap Hill, comprising six possible stones forming an irregular kite plan.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 8054 4261. A setting of at least four standing stones was recorded on the western spur of Swap hill in 1981. There is no discernible form to the plan of these stones, two of which are nearly 0.9 metres high, and the site is confused by many naturally occuring rock outcrops. [1] SS 805 426. Stone setting of 3 upright stones in a wide spaced row running down an east to west slope found by A Phillips (see type site MSO7903). [2,3] A setting, at SS 8055 4260, consisting of two large stones 16 metres apart which with two small stones produce a kite shaped figure 16 metres long. The head of this is an equilateral triangle with sides of 3.5 metres, 3.5 metres and 5.3 metres. Geologically this is an area of Hangman Grits, the stones have a bluish patina. The setting lies in a grass and rushy area on a tongue shelf below the crest of a narrow spur looking west towards the confluence of the two streams. Another setting (MSO6862) lies 250 metres to the south-south-east and a small cairn (MSO6874) is 40 metres to the northeast of the stones. In the immediate vicinity there are a number of outcropping rocks which could allow a degree of selection, eg stone `C' may be fortuitous. Stones A, B and D are evidently those seen by Phillips [2,3], and are on McDonnells plan in Somerset SMR. His fourth stone some 90 metres to the north is out of sight and so far distant that association is improbable. [5,6] English Heritage list and schedule six stones. [7] Identification as a setting is uncertain. Two large stones 0.9 metres high and two small stones 0.3 metres high forming a kite shape. Another stone included in the setting is 90 metres to the west and seems more likely to be a natural outcrop. [8] Four stones set in rocky outcrops forming distorted U shape. The stones are between 0.9 and 0.4 metres high. [9] There are at least 5 standing stones around two large (probably natural) prostrate stones. There are very many other stones in the vicinity, some apparently in straight lines. Between the stones and the stream to the west are earthen banks. [11] The east and west stones have broken-off tops but are still nearly a metre high; two recumbents to the north are 2 metresand 2.4 metres long. If these once stood upright and the east and west stones were of similar height this site may have been quite remarkable. [12] The stone sought by the RCHME to the west actually lies to the north and therefore was not found by the RCHME survey. It has been scheduled and is now MSO12310. [13] Scheduled on 28 March 1996. [14] Stones A and D were found to be in active erosion hollows. [15] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 0. [16] This site was subject to geophysical survey in 2014; however, previous use of the area as an artillery range in World War Two resulted in the data being unclear. Some anomalies were noted, but of an uncertain nature. [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] An irregular kite shaped setting of four recorded stones, situated north of a stream on a slight slope up Swap Hill, the line of A and D can be orientated on a large rocky outcrop on Pinford to the west. Stones A and D are nearly 1m tall, however, B and C are much smaller. The area is littered with stones, and other surveys have mentioned six stones, however, without an updated plan, identifying stones E and F was difficult to do with confidence. While many of the surrounding stones are natural, some may have once been standing stones. The erosion hollows have continued to be used at Stones A and D. Stone D has also suffered from some minor frost-damage. However, both stones still appear to be firm in their settings and in a good condition. [19-20] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [21]

Sources/Archives (21)

  • <1> Article in serial: Burrow, I., Minnitt, S. and Murless, B.. 1982. Somerset Archaeology 1981. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 126. 69-91. P. 63.
  • <2> Article in serial: Eardley-Wilmot, H. 1979. Looking for Exmoor's Past. Exmoor Review. 20. P. 67.
  • <3> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H. 1983. Thirty Exmoor stone-settings.
  • <4> 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 4).
  • <5> Technical drawing: Quinnell, N.V.. 1989. Swap Hill/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 11 January 1989.
  • <7> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 1995. English Heritage Record Form. 23 November 1995.
  • <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. SS84SW39. P. 46.
  • <9> Survey: McDonnell, R. Survey sheet.
  • <10> 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. 54 (site 53).
  • <11> Unassigned: Setterington, R.A.. 1991. MS in SCED.
  • <12> Unassigned: Walker M. 1993. PRN 33038.
  • <13> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. CJ Webster, Somerset County Council, 30 April 1996.
  • <14> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 24/4/1996. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <15> Survey: Blackmore O A. 2002. Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Exmoor National Park Authority Owned Land.
  • <16> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <17> Report: Mitcham, Doug. 2014. Geophysical surveys at East Pinford, Swap Hill and Parracombe Common in Exmoor National Park. 7-10.
  • <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. MSO6873. [Mapped features: #45814 Stone A., MSO6873; #45815 Stone B., MSO6873; #45816 Stone C., MSO6873; #45817 Stone D., MSO6873]
  • <20> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018 - Scheduled Standing Stones. MSO6873.
  • <21> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36298, Extant 11 July 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8055 4261 (22m by 10m) (4 map features)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10981
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW39
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36298
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33120

Record last edited

Jul 11 2021 10:03PM


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