MSO6964 - Prehistoric stone setting on Hoaroak Hill (Monument)


A prehistoric stone setting comprises three stones, the highest being 0.45 metres. A report of an additional five stones in the vicinity probably refers to natural stones protruding through the turf.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Ground photographs of a stone setting at Long Chains Combe, taken on 23 May 1989, supplied to the NAR. [1] A group of three stones at SS 7456 4235 at about 425 metres above sea level on the predominantly rough grass covered southeast spur of Hoaroak Hill overlooking the entrance to Long Chains Combe. The stones are set in a grassy patch between rushes. All are of sandstone and quite small, the highest being 0.45 metres, the widest 0.25 metres and the thickest 0.20 metres. Stone `C' has a quartz vein running through it. The group does not resemble stones which outcrop naturally, although these occur in abundance some 40 metres to the southeast, and should therefore be accepted as a possible setting. [2,3] Three stones forming a right angle, reported in 1989. They are 0.3 to 0.45 metreshigh. In terms of their condition one of the stones leans and one is slightly loose. A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [4] SS 7456 4235. An extra five stones (D-H) have been added to the 1:100 plan surveyed in 1990 [5], however it is doubtful, and it cannot be proved without excavation, if they are part of the original setting. They are more likely to be natural stones protruding through the turf. [6] Three standing stones forming three corners of a rectangle, a fourth might be suggested by this arrangement. Vegetation indicates that the setting marks the head of a small spring overlooking Hoaroak Valley. One of five settings sharing the same pair of axes around the upper Hoaroak Valley. [7] All three stones reported loose during dry weather. [8] Scheduled on 28 March 1996. [9] Stone B was previously recorded as leaning to the southeast. This has now fallen. All of the stones are surrounded by erosion hollows. [10] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 9. It suggests a site survey is urgently required to establish whether each stone is archaeological or geological in origin. [11] This site is mentioned in the 2013 report by Hazel Riley, a field survey and synthesis of previous projects in the Hoaroak Valley, funded by the Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership Scheme. [12] The site was surveyed in April 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 0. It again calls for a site survey. [13] Four stones forming the corner of a square may be part of a stone setting on the north side of the Chains Valley, overlooking the two valleys. Stone A and C are believed to be identifiable, however, Stones B1 and B2 could not be confidently identified as they were both half buried. The site is north of MSO12249 by no more than 20m and has been mistakenly identified by some surveys. Stone B was recorded as collapsed in 2002 and it was likely lost/buried prior to the Scheduled Monument surveys. The hollows around stones B1 and B2 could be similar to the one Blackmore noted, but after 15 years it is difficult to confirm. The unburied stones are undamaged, but they are slowly being covered by vegetation and turf. [14-15] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [16]

Sources/Archives (16)

  • <1> Photograph: Walker, M.. Photograph. 5 Ground photographs, 9 August 1989.
  • <2> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I.. 1990. Long Chains Combe (North)/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 18 January 1990.
  • <4> 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. SS74SW94. P. 42.
  • <5> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I.. 1995. Long Chains Combe (North) stone setting/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 2 May 1995.
  • <7> Unassigned: Preece, A.. 1994. [Possible personal communication with Somerset County Council].
  • <8> Unassigned: Walker M. 1995. PRN 33038. 9 August 1995.
  • <9> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 24/04/1996. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <10> Survey: Blackmore O A. 2002. Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Exmoor National Park Authority Owned Land.
  • <11> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <12> Report: Riley, H.. 2013. Hoaroak Valley: Historic landscape survey and analysis. 29.
  • <13> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <14>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MSO6954. [Mapped features: #45729 Stone A., MSO6964; #45730 Stone B1., MSO6964; #45731 Stone B2., MSO6964; #45732 Stone C., MSO6964]
  • <15> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018 - Scheduled Standing Stones. MSO6964.
  • <16> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 872110, Extant 13 January 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 7456 4237 (23m by 17m) (4 map features)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12221
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW94
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 872110
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35286

Record last edited

Jan 13 2022 11:33AM


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