MSO7360 - Prehistoric stone setting on Wilmersham Common (Monument)


A group of prehistoric standing stones have previously been recorded as a stone row, but are now thought to form part of a setting. A mound at the site may be an associated cairn, or part of a larger prehistoric field system (MSO7337).

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

There is a stone row to the north of the main Wilmersham Common Stone Row (MSO7336). [1] One standing stone possibly belonging to this complex located at break of slope to Ember Combe and Chetsford water. It is 50 centimetres high. [2] Nearby earthworks suggest that the stones may be associated with some aspect of land division rather than being an actual stone row. [3] One standing stone as above, plus smaller nearby. They form part of prehistoric settlement remains covering much of Honeycombe Hill (MSO7337), and lead up to the remains of a hut circle. [5] Two sites are recorded near the junction of Embercombe Water and Chetsford Water. McDonnell notes a stone row north of the major row (MSO7336), without details, and Burrow records a standing stone "possibly belonging to this complex". Burrow's stone is almost certainly that at SS 8554 4211, on the lip of the steep combe of Chetsford Water. Acceptable as a standing stone it is a vertical slab 0.6 metres high, 0.15 metrs thick and 0.6 metres long, with a horizontal top, and oriented north/south. Its situation is such, that if it were part of a row, it would have to be an end stone for a row towards the south, or a blocking stone for one to the east. McDonnell's row could not be found. Eastwards a strip of pasture follows the top of the valley while to the south, there is dense heather, which was searched so far as practicable. [6] SS 8554 4213. A stone row, now visible as two standing stones and a recumbent stone. The row stands on the north west side of Honeycombe Hill and is 26 metres long and orientated north east to south west. The recumbent stone is at the north eastern end and measures 0.82 metres long, 0.32 metres wide and 0.32 metres thick. The standing stone at the south western end is a flat slab, set vertically and measuring 0.6 metres high, 0.6 metres wide and 0.15 metres thick. The middle stone is set upright and measures 0.2 metres high, 0.27 metres wide and 0.14 metres thick. Scheduled on 28 March 1996. [7] The monument includes two standing stones, a recumbent stone and the archaeologically sensitive area between and around those features. The site is located on the northwest side of Honeycombe Hill 120 metres southeast of the confluence of Chetsford and Embercombe waters. The monument is 26 metres long and orientated northeast to southwest. The recumbent stone lies at the northeastern end and is slightly offset from the line towards the north. The standing stone at the southwest end is a flat slab, set firm and vertically in the ground, 600 milimetres high, 600 milimetres wide and 150 milimetres thick. The middle stone of the row lies 16.68 metres to the north east of the first one, is firm and upright in the ground and is 200 milimetres high, 270 milimetres wide and 140 milimetres thick. The recumbent stone lies 9.45 metres to the north east of the middle stone and is 820 milimetres long, 320 milimetres wide and 320 milimetres thick. [8] The Scheduled Monument Condition Survey of 2009 provided the standing stone (recorded in [3]) a survival score of 3. [9] The mapping has been amended from a buffered polygon to a point based on the grid reference provided in source [8] due to concerns about accuracy. The MasterMap data shows two stones at c. SS 8559 4213 which may be the true location of the row. [10] The standing stone was surveyed in April 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 3. [11] A row of 3 stones situated on the northwest side of Honeycombe Hill, 120m southeast of the confluence of Chetsford and Embercombe waters, and north of the Wilmersham Common Stone row. Only two stones were found at this site, one large standing stone (A) and a small stump under the roots of the bracken (B), roughly 15m apart. The third stone is likely lost within the thick vegetation over the site. The level of vegetation on the site has grown significantly since the last survey and includes bracken. This has hidden Stone C and could also hide Stone B. The previously recorded locational information (SS 8554 4213, and SS 8559 4213) appears to be incorrect for this site, and has been amended. [12-14] The site was visited as part of an academic research project by Dr Sandy Gerrard in 2018. [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] The site was investigated and surveyed in January 2020. Three stones were recorded by GPS, together with a stony mound, and a plan was surveyed at a scale of 1:200. Stone A is a recumbent stone slab orientated northeast to southwest. It is 0.9 metres long, 0.4 metres wide, 0.2 metres thick at its base and 0.1 metres thick at the top. The stone was noted to be unevenly weathered and adjacent to a hollow, which appeared to include a trigger stone. The stone had been upright in 2017. Stone B is a small stone slab, set firmly in the ground on a northwest to southeast orientation and with only the southwest face visible. It is 0.23 metres long, 0.12 wide and 0.03 metres thick. Stone C is a recumbent stone slab orientated northwest to southeast, 0.82 metres long, 0.32 metres wide (tapering to 0.10 metres wide) and up to 0.30 metres thick. The stone is on the edge of an irregular stony mound (MEM25024) and may or may not be part of the stone setting. The survey indicates that the Scheduled Monument description has transposed the measurements of the stones between A and B, and B and C. The site may represent the remains of a stone setting incorporating a cairn (rather than a row), or the stony feature may be part of a later phase of prehistoric settlement (MSO7337). [17]

Sources/Archives (17)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. R McDonnell, Western Archaeological Trust, 3 December 1976.
  • <2> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. I Burrow, Somerset County Council, 15 April 1980.
  • <3> Article in serial: Burrow, I., Minnitt, S. + Murless, B.. 1980. Somerset Archaeology 1979. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 124. P. 116.
  • <4> Article in serial: Corney, W.J. 1968. Prehistoric Settlement on Honeycombe Hill. Exmoor Review. P. 42-3.
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. A Preece, 1994.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 17 March 1987.
  • <7> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 25.4.1996. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <8> Index: English Heritage. 1913-. Schedule of Monuments. 28 March 1996.
  • <9> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <10> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap.
  • <11> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015.
  • <12> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MSO7360.
  • <13> Verbal communication: Various. Various. ENPA archaeologist field visit. Jack Fuller, 18 December 2018.
  • <14> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018 - Scheduled Standing Stones. MSO7360.
  • <15> Website: Gerrard, S.. 2020. The Stone Rows of Great Britain.
  • <16> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36108, Extant 21 June 2021.
  • <17>XY Report: Riley, H.. 2020. Metric survey of three prehistoric stone settings, Exmoor National Park. Hazel Riley. p2-6. [Mapped features: #47312 Stone A, p19; #47313 Stone B, p19; #47314 Stone C, p19]



Grid reference Centred SS 8557 4212 (14m by 22m) (3 map features)
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11334
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE53
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36108
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33690

Record last edited

Jun 21 2021 11:47AM


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