MSO7577 - Furzebury Brake/ East Myne Camp, Selworthy (Monument)

Summary

An Iron Age oval enclosure or hillfort is defined by a substantial bank and slight external ditch. There is an entrance visible on the western side, but no traces of internal settlement.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

Furzebury Brake is marked on Ordnance Survey mapping at SS 9358 4830. [1] The site is also known as East Myne Camp. [2] Fursebury Brake is an oval ringwork, measuring 205 by 175 feet, with a single rampart and ditch, 35 feet overall and 16 feet on the scarp. It stands on a knoll, on a hill, flanked by the sea on one side and a steep valley on the other. The interior, is not level like Martinhoe Roman signal station, nor is there any tendency to straightness in the side. The ditch cuts through a bit of the knoll, and drops down on the seaward side ot it. There is no sign of an outer enclosure, and the site commands no special view. Thus it is 'reasonably certain that the site was chosen for its defensive advantage by natives, not for lookout by a Roman Commander'. [5] This small earthwork of Iron Age type, has three breaks in the rampart. That to the north appears to be modern, but the two to the east and west my be original entrances. The earthwork is under pasture, but the ditch has been reduced by ploughing. The site is in very bad condition, with erosion by cattle and rabbits, and gorse growth beginning to mature on the banks. The camp is principally pasture and is used for sheltering cattle. [6] No change in condition. [7] The interior measured 80 metres by 55 metres. There is no disturbance apparent. Traces of the outer ditch are in the northeast of the site, which is on a spur of North Hill. There is a stream nearby. [8] Traces of a field system have been noted to the south east of Furzebury Brake (MSO7627). [9] 'Settlement' is printed on the 1974 Ordnance Survey map. [10] East Myne Camp, at SS 937482 is scheduled. [11] East Myne or Furzebury Brake, at SS 936 483, is a badly eroded site on improved pasture. The defences form an oval with the long axis north to south. They consist of a degraded bank, no more than a scarp in many places, and an outer ditch. The interior is level and featureless. There is no indication of an entrance. [12] Furzebury Brake is a small univallate defended enclosure, situated on a slight knoll at the end of a ridge. The ground slopes away to the cliffs above the Bristol Channel to the north, and to the edge of a steep combe on the east and south. The enclosure is oval-shaped, with an internal area of 0.22 hectares. It is enclosed by a bank of up to 0.5 metres high internally and a ditch of up to 0.5 metres deep, which are heightened by the slope to form a defence of up to 1.8 metres high. The bank is missing in places and the ditch only faintly visible except on the east. Of the three breaks in the rampart, that to the north appears most likely to be original, whilst those on the northeast and west are probably later. The interior of the enclosure is naturally higher than the surrounding ground, but slopes down to the north, leaving the highest point of the knoll slightly offcentre in the southeast. This appears to have been levelled, creating a vaguely circular platform of about half the diameter of the enclosure. The site is now fenced off from cattle, but the fence is within the ditch. There is a serious gorse growth problem being partly tackled by hand, but regrowing. There is much rabbit burrowing.[17] The scheduling has been revised with a new national number, which was Somerset 206. [18] Furzebury Brake is centred at SS 93581 48299, on the end of an isolated spur overlooking the Bristol Channel on the north and the steep slopes of Grexy Combe on the south and east. It consists of an oval enclosure, presumably of Iron Age date, defined by a substantial bank with a slight external ditch. The bank is some 0.9 metres high internally, but when viewed from the ditch, stands to 2 metres. The bank is reasonably well defined, but the ditch has been infilled by ploughing especially on the north, northwest, south and southwest. An entrance is visible on the western side and has been utilised as a farm gateway. A second possible entrance is visible on the east. The interior of the enclosure is featureless and no traces of settlement are visible. A lynchet scarp runs away from the northeastern side of the enclosure. This is clearly later in date, but may perpetuate a contemporary field system. The enclosure is on land owned by the National Trust. A management fence has been erected around the site, but in places this impinges on the ditch (or course of the ditch) around the monument. The site was surveyed with GPS as part of RCHME's East Exmoor Project. [20] The Iron Age hillfort is visible on aerial photographs. The oval shaped enclosure is centred at SS 9358 4829 and is defined by a bank measuring about 5 metres across. The enclosure covers an area that measures 60 metres long by 50 metres wide. There are three breaks in the bank, one to the west (SS 9355 4829), northeast (SS 9361 4832) and north (SS 9358 4833). The entrance to the north appears most likely to be the original, whilst those on the northeast and west are probably later resulting from a track which crossed through the enclosure. This later track is possibly a result of Second World Military tank training activity nearby (MSO7665). The bank is still quite prominent to the northeast, but the southern section is badly eroded and only a slight earthwork remains. [21-22] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 7. [23] The site was surveyed in June 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 9. [24] The site is depicted on 2020 MasterMap data and is labelled "Furzebury Brake" and "Fort". [25]

Sources/Archives (25)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1928-1938. 6 Inch Map: 1928-1938, 3rd Edition. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1911. The Victoria History of the County of Somerset. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 2. P.496, Illustration Card.
  • <3> Monograph: Burrow, E.J.. 1924. Ancient Earthworks and Camps of Somerset. P.86-87, Plan, Illustration.
  • <4> Monograph: Dobson, D.P.. 1931. The Archaeology of Somerset. P.239.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Fox, A.. 1961. Letter from Lady Fox.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 5 October 1962. Surveyed at 1:2500 (PRN 33797).
  • <7> Unpublished document: PALMER, JP. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 22 July 1965.
  • <8> Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Field Monument Warden Report.
  • <9> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. P.78, 79, 85, 201.
  • <10> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1974. 1:10,000 scale map: 1974. 1:10000. SS94NW.
  • <11>XY Index: Scheduled Monument Notification . Department of the Environment. Ancient Monuments of England 2 (1978) 120. [Mapped feature: #37797 ]
  • <12> Article in serial: Burrow, I.. 1981. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD. British Archaeological Reports. 91. P.259. Visited by Burrow 5 April 1973.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF/106G/UK/1655 4007-4008 (11 July 1946).
  • <14> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS9348F.
  • <15> Article in serial: Osborn, B.. 1983. Parish surveys in Somerset five: Minehead Without. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 5. P.21.
  • <16> Aerial photograph: Griffith, F.. 1980s-1990s. Oblique aerial photographs of the Devon part of Exmoor National Park. 1990, DAP QL/1-2 (1990) SCED.
  • <17> Report: Preece, A.. 1993-1994. English Heritage Monument Protection Programme.
  • <18>XY Index: Scheduled Monument Notification . English Heritage to Somerset County Council, 15 September 1994. [Mapped feature: #37797 ]
  • <19> Photograph: Somerset County Council Planning Department. Slide. 3.22.23-24 (7 August 1996).
  • <20> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 26 February 1998.
  • <21> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 9348/26 (23825/18) (19 February 2005).
  • <22> Archive: Severn Estuary Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment: SS 94 NW. MD000133.
  • <23> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <24> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015.
  • <25> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 9358 4829 (80m by 88m) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet SS94NW
Civil Parish MINEHEAD WITHOUT, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11423
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 NW14
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA167465
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 36801
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33797

Record last edited

Nov 25 2020 3:03PM

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