MSO7000 - Horsehead Stone (Monument)


A stone mentioned in 1815 marking the Devon/Somerset border and the boundary between the forest of Exmoor and North Molton/Whitefield Commons. It may be one of several large stones built into the fabric of a wall on the county boundary.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Recently rediscovered boundary stone, probably marking the forest boundary. [1] In 1911 MacDermot [2] refers to a "Boundary Stone called Horsehead Stone near the end of a Land Mark called White Ladder". It is mentioned in the final perambulation of the Forest on 16 September 1815, and it marks the point where the boundary of the Royal Forest met the North Molton Common/Whitefield Common boundary. The stone is not shown on the 1890 Ordnance Survey plan [3]. In 1977 Whybrow, without stating the circumstances, says it was "recently rediscovered" [1]. In 1983 Eardley-Wilmot [4] mentions "the Horsehead Stone, perhaps identified in 1975, built into a wall where North Molton, High Bray and Exmoor [parishes] meet". [1-4] SS 7297 3751. No definite trace of this boundary stone could be found. There are several large stones built into the fabric of the wall to which the County Boundary is mered at this point. It is possible that one such stone, at the base of the Devon side of the curving corner, may be the one refered to by Whybrow and Eardley-Wilmot but it cannot be positively identified as the original Horsehead Stone. [5] Horsehead stone. Boundary stone of the Forest of Exmoor. Boundary stone marking the western boundary of Exmoor Forest and dividing the two parishes of North Molton and High Bray. [6] Stone at the three parish corner was found in August 1975, lengthwise in a hedgeless piece of bank, stopping a former gateway. [7] In the final Perambulation (1815) preceding the sale of the Royal Forest, reference is made to White Ladder, not as a boundary mark itself but to locate the three way boundary stone, Horsehead Stone, "near the end of a landmark called White Ladder". (The stone row points to this parish junction, across a gap of two or three hundred yards.) The 1819 survey map shows it close to the boundary later defined by the Forest wall. [8] "Horsehead Stone" is marked on the Inclosure Award map at c. SS 7298 3749. [9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Monograph: Whybrow, C.. 1977. Antiquary's Exmoor. The Exmoor Press. 48.
  • <2> Monograph: MacDermot, E.T.. 1973. The History of the Forest of Exmoor. David and Charles Limited. Revised Edition.
  • <3>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890 (surveyed 1888), Devon 11(9). [Mapped feature: #30171 ]
  • <4> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 1983. Ancient Exmoor: A Study of the Archaeology and Prehistory of Exmoor. The Exmoor Press. Microstudy C2. 40.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. SS 73 NW 26, RCHME Field Investigation, 4 August 1995.
  • <6> Article in serial: Rawle, E.J.. 1894. Final Perambulation of Exmoor Forest. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 40. 171-178. 173-4.
  • <7> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Interim Report, Parish File; "White Ladde Interim Report", H. Eardley-Wilmot, March 1977.
  • <8> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Parish File SS77NW/524; "White Ladder, Exmoor: The Name", H. Eardley-Wilmot, 9 February 1980.
  • <9> Map: Kelsey, F.J.. 1818. The Map Referred to in the annexed Award [Exmoor Inclosure Award]. 4 inches : 1 mile. Pen and Ink.
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 909525, Extant 19 October 2021.



Grid reference SS 7298 3749 (point) Centred on
Map sheet SS73NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 20951
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 20952
  • Devon SMR: SS73NW/582
  • Devon SMR: SS73NW/582/1
  • Environmentally Sensitive Area
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE10850
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20904
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20905
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11050
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW26
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 909525
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33189

Record last edited

Oct 19 2021 2:14PM


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