MSO7158 - Mousehanger Farmstead, Exton (Monument)


The Lay Subsidy of 1327 suggests a medieval origin for Mousehanger. It became disused in the early 20th Century, now consisting of a farmhouse and outbuildings in various stages of disrepair with an associated possible water meadow.

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Type and Period (4)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Mousehanger, Winsford, SS 910324. The ruined farmhouse and areas of earthworks including a possible mill leat remain on this medieval farmsite. (Building named 'Mousehanger' at SS 9098 3238 on 6 inch map of 1962 [16]). [1] SS 910 324. Deserted medieval farmstead of Mousehanger, indicated in the 1327 Lay Subsidy by the entry of William de Mouleshangre. On the 1839 Tithe Map there were two estates of 75 and 40 acres. There are ruined buildings and a farmhouse on the site today, together with abandoned closes and enclosures (M Aston, fieldwork 23 April 1977). [2-4] Additional Bibliography. [5] The deserted farmstead of Mousehanger lies on the side of a steep sided combe, an unnamed tributary of the Exe, at SS 9098 3239. It is approached from the north by a narrow steep track, rock cut in places, known as Mousehanger Lane. This leads up the side of the combe to the edge of Winsford Hill, land which was unenclosed in the early 19th Century. [6] The remains consist of a farmhouse and several outbuildings, all in various states of disrepair. They are arranged in a linear fashion, taking advantage of a small strip of level ground by the stream. The farmhouse, at SS 9098 3239, stands at the centre of the complex. It stands up to roof level and is built of local stone. The roof is deteriorating with saplings growing through it; it has been patched with corrugated iron sheeting. The western end of the building has been recently rebuilt and repaired, presumably for storage. A few small garden plots lie in front of the house. Thirty metres to the east stands the remains of an open fronted barn. The walls, of coursed local stone, stand to roof height, but there is no roof. It stands on a platform terraced into the hillside and is backed by a small enclosure. A small enclosure and outhouse lies just to the west of the house at SS 9096 3239. Ten metres to the south is a ruinous, small stone building with no roof. It has an internal division and may have been a dog kennel or pig sty. The remains of a long, narrow rectangular building lie at SS 9093 3240. It has been built onto the side of an enclosure wall and now stands up to 1 metre high, with no roof. An entrance on the south side is now blocked. [7] A quarry, disused by 1889 [8], lies 140 metres to the southwest of the farmstead at SS 9085 3228. This may well have provided the stone for the farm buildings. William de Mouleshangre in recorded in a document of 1327 [2]. Mousehanger is depicted on maps of the late 18th and early 19th Centuries [6,9,10]. The Tithe Map of 1839 shows the farmstead buildings laid out much as they survive now, the holding was divided into West and East Mousehanger [3]. Mousehanger remained in use throughout the 19th Century [8]. In 1973 it was mapped as a collection of buildings but with no associated name [11]. The field and documentary evidence suggests a farmstead with medieval origins, which remained in use until the early 20th century, after which it functioned as a barn, probably associated with nearby Leigh Farm. A 1:10,000 scale aerial survey mapping project was carried out in this area. The farm building and adjacent paddocks are visible on vertical aerial photographs but were not plotted as they are clearly marked in the 6 inch Ordnance Survey map of the area. To the east of the main farm complex, at SS 912 324, a number of field banks and leats were plotted and to the west at SS 9075 3242 are fragments of a water meadow system which may relate to Mousehanger Farm. [12-14] The quarry which may have provided stone for the farm buildings and is mentioned by the previous authority, is recorded separately in record MSO8623. [15] The collapsing remains of the first floor beams and joists in the western ground floor room display chamfers and straight stops on the main beams, probably of 17th or 18th Century date. [22] The site was photographed by the RCHME in 1999. [23] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [24]

Sources/Archives (24)

  • <1> Article in serial: Aston, M.. 1978. Research in 1977: (b) Fieldwork - Somerset. Medieval Village Research Group. 25. pp 14-16. 15.
  • <2> Monograph: Dickenson, F.H.. 1889. Kirby's Quest for Somerset. Somerset Record Society. Series 3. 180.
  • <3> Map: 1839. Winsford Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <4> Article in serial: Aston, M. 1983. Deserted Farms on Exmoor and the Lay subsidy of 1327 in West Somerset. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 127.
  • <5> Article in serial: Aston, M and Murles, B.J. 1978. Somerset Archaeology 1977. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 122. 138.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1802. Ordnance Survey drawing 42 part 1 - Minehead 16. 3 inch : 1 Mile (1:21,120). Pen and Ink.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Riley, H.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 1997.
  • <8>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889, Somerset 57 (6,7). [Mapped feature: #39468 Extent of Mousehanger shown on 1st Ed and Tithe Map, ]
  • <9> Map: Day and Masters. 1782. County map of Somerset.
  • <10> Map: Greenwood. 1822. County map of Somerset.
  • <11> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1973. 1:2500. 1:25,000. SS9032.
  • <12> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/2082 3032-3 (19 May 1947).
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1944 3159-60 (23 January 1947).
  • <14> Collection: RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, SS93SW.
  • <15> Verbal communication: RCHME Aerial Photographic Interpreters Comments (in DESCRIPTION above) . CA Dyer, 15 May 1998, RCHME Brendon Hills Mapping Project.
  • <16> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1962. 6" SS93SW.
  • <17> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1979. SS93SW. 5.
  • <18> Unpublished document: Francis, P.. 1984. A Survey and Description of the Catch Meadow Irrigation Systems. 40.
  • <19> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 9032.
  • <20> Aerial photograph: 1971. HSL.UK.71-177 Run 91, September. 8696.
  • <21> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3460.
  • <22> Verbal communication: Various. Various. ENPA archaeologist field visit. Site photographs, Shirley Blaylock, 5 April 2017.
  • <23> Photograph: Hesketh-Roberth, M.. 1999. Job: Mousehanger Deserted Farm. Colour. Negative.
  • <24> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36713, Extant 8 May 2022.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO207
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11679
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 SW7
  • National Park
  • NBR Index Number: 99/01232
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36713
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34238



Grid reference Centred SS 9094 3239 (198m by 133m) Georeferencing of original maps may be slightly off
Map sheet SS93SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

May 8 2022 10:23PM


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