MSO7345 - Bagley Hillslope Enclosure (Monument)


A hillslope enclosure of probable later prehistoric date, located close to the deserted farmstead of Bagley. It survives as a slight subcircular earthwork, 62 metres in diameter, and has been denuded by ploughing.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 8825 4256) Probable prehistoric ringwork visible on the aerial photograph [1] near the deserted medieval farmstead of Bagley (MSO7338). [2] SS 883426. Bagley deserted farm and hillslope enclosure scheduled. [3] A subcircular enclosure at SS 8825 4256, situated in a pasture field on a moderate north slope of 1 in 30. The work has been severely denuded by ploughing in the distant past and is now reduced to a 50 metre arc of bank on the south side and an 80 metre arc on the lower north side, where it is accompanied by an outer ditch. There is no evidence of any stone in the structure. The internal diameter of the work is approximately 62 metres. The southern bank is, on average, 10 metres wide and at maximum 0.8 metes high on the outer face and 0.6 metres high on the inner face. On the lower northern part the bank is generally 14 metres wide, 0.2 metres high on both faces, and the ditch 10 metres wide and at best 0.2 metres deep. There seems to have been no attempt to level the interior but a poorly defined semi-circular scoop at SS 8825 4256, towards the centre of the enclosure, may represent a house site. This scoop is cut into the slope to a depth of 0.6 metres, with an overall diameter of 19 metres and a level interior of 14 metres across. No entrance to the earthwork can be identified but it was probably on the west, facing the shallow Bagley Combe and stream, an area occupied by the former Bagley Farmstead (MSO7338) whose field boundaries intruded upon the west part of the enclosure but whose hedgebanks have since been demolished. In the western gap are two parallel and somewhat amorphous elongated mounds, 0.2 metres high, set in a northeast to southwest direction. Respectively 10 and 20 metres long they are as likely to be the residue of hedge clearance as part of the original structure. Assuming a simple entrance the earthwork is comparable to another three at Sweetworthy, 800 metres to the east (MSO7333 & MSO7356) and evidently forms part of an unusually close grouping of Iron Age and/or Romano-British homestead settlements. [4-6] The enclosure at Bagley has been considered in its archaeological landscape as part of the RCHME Exmoor project. Full details in the RCHME survey report. [7-9] The possible hillslope enclosure is clearly visible as a low earthwork on oblique specialist aerial photographs, less than thirty metres to the east of the deserted post-medieval settlement at Bagley. The enclosure earthworks have been transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Mapping Programme. Little evidence of the enclosure is visible on any vertical prints available to the survey. The enclosure is situated on the north facing slope of Bagley Combe, its central point at circa SS 8824 4257, straddling the 330 metre contour. The enclosure survives only as two lengths of very slight earthworks much denuded by ploughing. The longest, at almost 100 metres long and 11 metres wide, is centred on approximately SS 8825 4260. The shorter length is circa 50 metres long and 6 wide, centred on circa SS 8823 4253, just over 65 to the southeast. [10-12] A probable hillslope enclosure lying on a north facing spur, on improved pasture. There are no internal features. The enclosing single bank and dtch are much degraded by ploughing expect on the southwest side where the bank stands at 0.4 metres high. The remainder of the circuit bank is visible as a slight scarp. There are no indications of an entrance. [13] A hunting fence is sited in the centre of the enclosure. [16] Extending east from the deserted farmstead (MSO7338) into two adjoining fields of improved pasture, is a subcircular enclosure showing as a degraded earthwork. This enclosure would be morphologically acceptable as a hillslope enclosure. The enclosure and the medieval farmstead are physically linked Such associations are unusual and suggestive of continuously evolving settlement on the same focus. Deposits reflecting the full chronological span of settlement activity still survive. [17] Scheduling revised with new national number on 10/8/1994 (was Somerset 484). [19] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 0. [21] The site was surveyed in June 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 0. [22] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [23]

Sources/Archives (23)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: West Air Photography. 1981-1983. Oblique aerial photographs across Exmoor National Park. 27534.
  • <2> 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. 82-3, 94.
  • <3> Unpublished document: HBMC (English Heritage). 10/7/1986. HBMC (English Heritage) to Somerset County Council (10/7/1986) - revised scheduling.
  • <4> Technical drawing: Quinnell, N.V.. 1987. Bagley/ink survey . 1:1000. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 12 August 1987.
  • <6> Collection: Pattison, P., Quinnell, N.V., Fletcher, M. and Sainsbury, I.. 1987-1988. RCHME: Exmoor Pilot Survey, SS 84 SE, Somerset.
  • <7> Technical drawing: Riley, H.. 1996. Bagley/pencil survey. Unknown. Permatrace. Pencil.
  • <8> Technical drawing: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 1996. Bagley/ink survey . 1:1000. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <9> Report: Riley, H.. 1996. The prehistoric enclosures and medieval and post medieval settlements at Bagley and Sweetworthy, Luccombe, Somerset. RCHME.
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8842/25 (15856/08) (20 January 1998).
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8842/30 (15856/13) (20 January 1998).
  • <12> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185.
  • <12> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 8842.
  • <13> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. I Burrow, Somerset County Council, 11 July 1979.
  • <13> Unassigned: SMR file 33715 1:2500 (12/10/1984) [Not in HER files file 21/6/2000].
  • <16> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. E Dennison, Somerset County Council, 3 March 1986.
  • <17> Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Field Monument Warden Report.
  • <18> Unassigned: 1993. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme fieldwork.
  • <19> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 17/8/1994. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <20> Aerial photograph: 10/1/1989. DAP LD27.
  • <21> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <22> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <23> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36046, Extant 14 March 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 8825 4256 (96m by 104m) Estimated from sources
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO153
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11359
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE30
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36046
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): SOMER 484
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33715

Record last edited

Mar 14 2022 1:23PM


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