MSO7750 - Prehistoric stone setting on Tom's Hill (Monument)


A stone setting or alignment consists of six or seven stones forming a rectangle, or possibly originally three rows of three stones. It appears to be aligned on a rock outcrop.

Please read the .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 8017 4328) Stone Rows (NR) [1] This comprises two rows of 3 stones each arranged in a parallelogram.The breadth of each member points along its row and the largest stone forms the centre of the eastern side and is 26.5 inches high. [2] The stones are as described (See GP AO/65/174/8 [12]). Surveyed at 1:2500. They fall into the same category as other stone settings in the area, see MSO7903 for type site. [3] SS 802 433. Stone setting on Tom's Hill. E. Mold noted in 1983 that the southwest corner stone had fallen but the 2 triggers still stand. [4-5] Listed. [6] SS 802 433. Standing stones on Manor Allotments. Scheduled. [7] SS 8017 4328 Toms Hill: a setting of six, possibly seven stones. Five are upright, a sixth is fallen and a stump represents a possible seventh stone. The sixth certain stones [A to F] form slightly imperfect rectangle with a main axis north-north-west to south-south-east that is 17.5 metres long. The north short side is 7.5 metres, the south side 6 metres. However, if the stump G is part of the setting an altogether different arrangement is suggested; possibly of nine stones originally forming three rows of three in a more square plan. Two hollows, H and J, are quite close to putative positions of the eighth and ninth stones but it is not clear whether they are shell holes. All the stones are aligned with the north-north-west to south-south-east axis. The site is below the hill crest on gently sloping ground close to a field wall, with extensive views in a wide arc from the northwest round to the south. It is under coarse grass and heather with rushy patches. All stones appear to be of local sedimentary rocks of the Hangman Grits series. The setting is close to the northeast fringe of an extensive prehistoric settlement and field system (MSO6870); a field bank comes within 20 metres of the south and west sides. A barrow (MSO6863) lies 360 metres to the southeast. Past military activity has affected this site, with up to four shell holes within. One stone has fallen in recent years. Erosion holes surround three more stones and a moorland track passes close to the south side of the setting. Although scheduled the site may gradually deteriorate through sheep using the stones for rubbing posts. [8,11] Six stones forming an imperfect rectangle 17.5 metres by 6 to 7.5 metres, orientated north-north-west to south-south-east. There are three upright stone slabs 0.37 to 0.47 metres high and two tapering posts 0.41 and 0.55 metres high. Three of the standing stones are in erosion hollows. There is a fallen slab 0.55 metres long which remains in situ. A further broken stump and two possible hollows may indicate a former squarish arrangement of three rows of three. Vulnerable to sheep rubbing and trackway. [10] The setting consists of six stone slabs approximately 2 feet high, extending 52 feet by 21 feet opposite each other at equal distances. The stones are too numerous to be rubbing posts. [13] Six standing stones 50 yards north of the parish boundary, 1 to 2 feet high on moorland. The south pair are 7 yards apart. The central pair are 10 yards north of the southern pair and 8 yards apart, and the north pair are 9 yards north of the central pair and 8 yards apart. [14] The western stone of the southern pair is loose and leaning, perhaps after a dry summer. [15] Topographic (GPS) , resistivity and magnetometer surveys were undertaken over the area. This identified large numbers of impact craters from the use of the area as a range during the Second World War which could be distinguished from erosion hollows by a distinctive signature in the resistivity survey. These results suggest that the hollows identified by the RCHME survey as J and K are impact craters while L and H may mark the position of former stones. Other hollows were more difficult to assign to an origin. A curving linear anomaly of unknown origin was also recorded by the resistivity survey. The stone setting appears to be aligned on a rock outcrop that was visible in the survey. The magnetic survey was dominated by ferrous shell splinters. [18] In private ownership. [19] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 9. [20] Survey in 2003 noted that, while in 1992 (RCHME survey) Stone F was recorded as a fallen stone, it is now broken. Stone G only has a stump remaining, the condition of this stone in 1992 is unknown. Stones E and D are both in active erosion hollows but are stable. Stone C is stable. [21] The site was visited in April 2011. The setting seemed stable but stone G was not located, though it was suggested it could simply be hidden by a clump of grass due to its size. The decision was taken to carry out a more fine-grained search for stone G when the moor grass offers less of an obstacle. If indeed it has been removed then an excavation similar to that carried out at Furzehill Common I would be recommended. [22] The site was surveyed again in 2012. All seven stones were again seen. Only F was recumbent and was also recorded as loose and almost completely buried by heather; however, the surveyors advised that the stone wasn't in fact broken but instead, the second stone close by is likely to be a trigger stone. There was some confusion as to incorrect labelling from the 2003 survey but it seemed that stone D had lost a section of stone. Causes for concern included animal rubbing and reed growth. [23] The site was surveyed in May 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 0. [24] A stone setting comprising 3 regular rows, which once had three stones each. Only the central and eastern row retains them, the western row has lost 2 stones and Stone G is buried. Five stones are still clearly standing and Stone F has been knocked recumbent. Craters K and L, are not in sequence with the setting and were possibly WW2 shell damage. The setting has not greatly changed since it was last surveyed. Animal rubbing is present on all the uprights, but it is not common as the turf around them is very stable, this has been aided by the rushes obscuring Stones B and E. Stone F is vulnerable to displacement as it is loose on the soil above. A vehicle track is present towards the south of the site. [25-26] The site was surveyed as part of an academic research project by Dr Sandy Gerrard in 2019. Surveys were conducted using a prismatic compass and electronic distance device with the plan being generated in the field. [27] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [28]

Sources/Archives (28)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Article in serial: Chanter, J.F. and Worth, R.H.. 1906. The Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor and its Borders. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 38. II, pp 538-552. 542-43. Pl. 4.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 6 July 1965.
  • <4> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H. 1983. Thirty Exmoor stone-settings.
  • <5> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 1983. Ancient Exmoor: A Study of the Archaeology and Prehistory of Exmoor. The Exmoor Press. Microstudy C2.
  • <6> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. p35.
  • <7> Index: Department of the Environment (IAM). 1978. List of Ancient Monuments of England and Wales 1978. P. 117.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Pattison, P. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 11 January 1989.
  • <9> Photograph: Walker, M.. Photograph. 23 June 1989.
  • <10> Report: Quinnell, N.V. and Dunn, C.J.. 1992. Lithic monuments within the Exmoor National Park: A new survey for management purposes by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. SS84SW1. P. 57.
  • <11> Technical drawing: Pattison, P.. 1989. Tom Hills/ink survey . 1:100. General: Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Grinsell, L V. field notes.
  • <14> Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Field Monument Warden Report.
  • <15> Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Field Monument Warden Report.
  • <16> Monograph: Page, J.L.W.. 1890. An Exploration of Exmoor and the Hill Country of West Somerset: With Notes on its Archaeology. P. 80-81 and P. 129-130.
  • <17> Article in serial: Fowler, MJ. 1988. The Standing Stones of Exmoor. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 132. P. 1-13 (Oare 1).
  • <18> Report: Gillings, M., Pollard, J. + Taylor, J.. 2005. Topographic and Geophysical Survey at the Stone Settings of Tom's Hill and East Pinford, Exmoor. P. 5-8.
  • <19> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records.
  • <20> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <21> Report: Dray, K.. 2003. A Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Badgworthy Land Company Owned Land, Exmoor. P. 47-8.
  • <22> Report: Gillings, M & Taylor, J. 2011. The Miniliths of Exmoor Project: Fieldwork at Furzehill Common & Porlock Stone Circle, April 2011. 7-9.
  • <23> Report: Slater, E.. 2012. A condition survey of standing stones on Badgworthy Land Company owned land, Exmoor National Park. p62-65.
  • <24> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015.
  • <25>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MSO7750. [Mapped features: #45680 Stone A., MSO7750; #45681 Stone B., MSO7750; #45682 Stone C., MSO7750; #45683 Stone D., MSO7750; #45684 Stone E., MSO7750; #45685 Stone F., MSO7750; #45686 Stone G., MSO7750; #45687 Stone H., MSO7750; #45688 Stone I., MSO7750]
  • <26> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018 - Scheduled Standing Stones. MSO7750.
  • <27> Website: Gerrard, S.. 2020. The Stone Rows of Great Britain.
  • <28> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36205, Extant 22 June 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8017 4328 (21m by 29m) (9 map features)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (6)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11481
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW1
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36205
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33858

Record last edited

Jun 22 2021 4:40PM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.