MSO6883 - Madacombe stone row (Monument)


A stone row overlooking Madacombe, comprising 12 stones and extending for a distance of 286 metres. Further stones may have been destroyed by the trackbed of the projected Exmoor and Porlock Railway.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 831 425. Exmoor 11, Madacombe. A row of ten stones, orientated approximately northwest to southeast and extending over approximately 200 metres. To the north, the row is crossed by the aborted Porlock to Exmoor railway (MSO7906). N.B. This record appears to have been confused with MSO6885, a record originating with Somerset HER for a stone which may or may not be associated with this row. [1] In 1991 extensive searching located six stones along a line 152 metres long. [2] A line of twelve stones extending over 286 metres, bisected by the trackbed of the projected Exmoor to Porlock railway. The site was first published in 1988 when ten stones were recorded. They mostly comprise slabs, and range from 0.1 to 0.5 metres high, 0.1 to 0.6 metres wide and from 0.05 to 0.2 metres thick. Individual stones tend to be aligned westnorthwest to eastsoutheast along the main axis of the row. In an area of moorland generally devoid of surface stone, it seems too coincidental for this alignment to be other than a prehistoric stone row. There was no apparent threat noted. [3] SS 8301 4260 to SS 8330 4255. The remains of a stone row 286 metres long, now consisting of twelve stones but probably originally containing more. It is situated at about 425 metres Ordnance Datum and orientated westnorthwest-eastsoutheast across a gentle north facing slope of heather and rough grassland overlooking Madacombe to the north. Between stones D and E, the row is cut obliquely by the trackbed of the projected Exmoor and Porlock Railway. This has almost certainly destroyed some of the stones. The stones, mainly sandstone blocks invariably aligned approximately along the row, range from 0.1 to 0.5 metres in height, 0.1 metres to 0.6 metres in width and are 0.05 metres to 0.2 metres thick. Although the stones do not form a perfect line there is no more than 2.6 metres difference in alignment between them. This alignment runs parallel to and some 20 metres due north of a line between two cairns at the west end (MSO10915 and MSO10916) and a single cairn at the east end (MSO6884). Though in its present form the row appears to be unconnected with them, it is hard to believe there was no deliberate association. A table with further information on the stones is held in the archive. [4,5] A stone row orientated SEE-NWW consisting of 12 recorded stones, split into two halves by the east-west course of the Porlock to Simonsbath Railway. The stones vary considerably in size and shape, and previous surveys have had difficulty locating all the stones. The current survey located only 6 stones (C, D, F, H, K, and L), due to the height of vegetation. Another potential stone may have been discovered but it cannot be confirmed, furthermore stones F, H, K, and L, may not have been correctly assigned their letter due to the absence of so many stones inbetween. The 6 stones located exhibited little damage and change since the last survey, and all are concealed by vegetation. Only Stone D appears to have deteriorated significantly, having become completely overgrown and buried by molinia. Livestock rubbing only appears to be occurring at Stone C, however, the stone remains well-set and stable. [7] The site was visited as part of an academic research project by Dr Sandy Gerrard in 2018 and 2019. [8]

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Article in serial: Fowler, M.J.F.. 1988/1989. The Standing Stones of Exmoor: A Provisional Catalogue of 62 West Somerset Sites. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 132. 7.
  • <2> Unassigned: Setterington, R.A.. 1991. MS in SCED.
  • <3> 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.
  • <4> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I.. 1989. Madacombe Stone Row/ink survey . Unclear + 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 7 December 1989.
  • <6> Collection: RCHME: Exmoor Lithics.
  • <7>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MSO6883. [Mapped features: #45787 Stone C., MSO6883; #45788 Stone D., MSO6883; #45789 Stone F., MSO6883; #45790 Stone G?, MSO6883; #45791 Stone H?, MSO6883; #45792 Stone L., MSO6883; #45793 Buried Stone., MSO6883]
  • <8> Website: Gerrard, S.. 2020. The Stone Rows of Great Britain.
  • <9> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 859370, Extant 10 July 2021.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11967
  • Local List Status (Candidate)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW125
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 859370
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34581



Grid reference Centred SS 8315 4258 (304m by 89m) (13 map features)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Jul 10 2021 10:42PM


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