MSO6965 - Lanacombe IV: Triangular stone setting at Lanacombe (Monument)


A prehistoric stone setting on the east slope of Lanacombe overlooks the junction of Hoccombe and Badgworthy valleys.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

LANACOMBE IV, SS 7864 4316. The stone setting was found by C.J. Dunn during RCHME Fieldwork. [1] A poorly preserved setting comprises two upright stones set 3.6 metres apart, C and D, and a recumbent slab A, possibly close to its original position. The present ground plan, though probably not complete, prescribes a triangle orientated west-north-west to east-south-east. Further stones, B and E, are probably natural features. The setting occupies a lush, green area with rushy patches set amidst the vast area of coarse grass on Lanacombe. It is located on very gently sloping ground falling to the east, set back from the valley edge but well below the crest of Lanacombe. The site has extensive views in all directions bar the southwest and it overlooks the valley junction of Hoccombe and Badgworthy. All the stones appear to be of local, sedimentary sandstones of the Hangman Grits series. This is one of four stone settings along the same valley side: 660 metres southwest is Lanacombe I (MSO6948); 360 metres southwest is Lanacombe II (MSO6947) and 150 metres south is Lanacombe III (MSO6949). The lie of the hillside renders all three just not visible from the present site. Another setting (MDE9886) is within sight on the south slope of Hoccombe Hill, 620 metres northwest. A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [2-5] The setting comprises two upright stones, 0.2 and 0.7 metres high, and a fallen slab 0.75 metres long. Other stones may be natural. [5] A further stone, 0.8 metres high, is located to the northwest, and a cairn is located 50 paces to the southeast. A stone row is suggested. [6] The larger stone is prominent, c.0.7 metres high, on the tip of Lanacombe hill, overlooking the convergence of two combes. [7] During a site visit in March 1995, the condition was the same as recorded in 1993. [8] The setting was scheduled on 28 March 1996. [9] A condition survey records five stones, one of which is in an active erosion hollow.[10] Despite its size (0.7 metres) Stone D could be rocked by hand at the time of the current survey, showing it to be very loose in its stonehole. The stonehole is ovoid in shape and appears to be an overlarge but discreet, deliberate cut. The stonehole has a stepped profile which also may have been deliberate. The stonehole has a lack of substantial stone padding and instead the upright stone is packed in place with silt. [11] The resistance survey has show areas of relatively high resistance across the site. The setting is on an area of outcropping bedrock, a feature also seen at other Lanacombe settings. The survey also shows evidence of military use in the form of impact craters around the setting. Two possible areas of platforming were identified 26 metres north-north west of the stones. Whether these are prehistoric or linked to the military use is unclear without excavation. A diffuse circular anomaly was recorded 16 metres to the north of the setting. It is 11 metres in diameter and has a clear break to the west. [12] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 10. It stated the location of the setting was actually at SS 7877 4327 . [13] One of the stones which makes up this setting was so loose it could be lifted from its socket. Consolidation works were carried out on the stone under the 2009/10 monument management scheme. A site visit in June 2010 confirmed that the consolidation work had been successful. [14] 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 was again stated to be present at SS 7877 4327 . [15] The mapping of this monument has been edited to reflect the information provided in the 2009 and 2015 Scheduled Monument Condition Surveys. [13,15,16] A stone setting in a vaguely linear form originally recorded as consisting of 5 stones (A-E). The site is on the top of the final spur of Lanacombe facing towards the east, overlooking Trout Hill. Only one stone on this site (Stone D) is of a significant size, standing 0.68m high. All other stones are either tiny stubs, or buried by the peat. Stone A, has not been noted since 2010. The only clear threat to the site currently is livestock rubbing against Stone D. Vegetation here is not actively damaging the site, but because the stones are so low, it has a high potential to completely conceal Stones A, B, C, and E. [17-18] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [19]

Sources/Archives (19)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. C J Dunn, 6 December 1988.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Pattison, P. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 7 December 1988.
  • <3> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R.. 1994. Lanacombe, SS 74 SE 49-51, 73, 88, 92-94, 105-106, 108, 122/ink survey. 1:2500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <4> Collection: RCHME Exeter. 1993-1999. Exmoor Project.
  • <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. SS74SE88. P.45.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Walker, M.. 1993. Details Received at RCHME Exeter.
  • <7> Report: Preece, A.. 1993-1994. English Heritage Monument Protection Programme. 1993.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Walker, M.. 14/03/1995. Letter to Somerset County Council.
  • <9> Index: Scheduled Monument Notification . 1996.
  • <10> Report: Blackmore, O.. 2002. A Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Exmoor National Park Authority Owned Land.
  • <11> Report: Gillings, M., and Taylor, J.. 2010. Excavations at the stone settings of Lanacombe I and IV, Exmoor, SW England. University of Leicester Archaeological Services. P. 8-9.
  • <12> Report: Gillings, M. + Taylor, J.. 2009. Report for English Heritage on Geophysical Survey carried out at the site of Lanacombe IV, Exmoor. P. 3-4.
  • <13> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <14> Report: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2010. Monument Management Scheme: 2009-10 Report.
  • <15> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015.
  • <16> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. C Dove, 23 December 2015.
  • <17>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MSO6965. [Mapped features: #45725 Stone B., MSO6965; #45726 Stone C., MSO6965; #45727 Stone D., MSO6965]
  • <18> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018 - Scheduled Standing Stones. MSO6965.
  • <19> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 890173, Extant 26 May 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7876 4327 (11m by 9m) (4 map features)
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12222
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE88
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 890173
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35287

Record last edited

May 26 2021 1:45PM


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