MSO7911 - Prehistoric stone setting on Porlock Allotment (Monument)


A setting of two upright stones and possibly one fallen stone, probably prehistoric. It is difficult to ascertain if they represent a row or a quadrilateral setting.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

Two standing stones, both leaning, 2 paces apart and set in line down ridge of spur. The large block of flat stone from the hut circle or cairn (MSO7902) is on this line. There are other large stones outcropping in the area. Western stone 0.3 metres high, eastern 0.45 metres high. [1,2] SS 8403 4470. A setting of two upright and possibly one fallen stone are located on the crest of a short spur running west from the Porlock to Exford road. Situated in low heather at 375 metres above sea level this site has its views restricted to the northwest by the proximity of higher ground. The underlying strata are of the Hangman Grit Series and the setting comprises sandstone slabs. It is impossible to say whether these slabs (A & B) represent a row or the remains of a quadrilateral setting. The orientation of their long axis differ and apart from a recumbent and partly concealed slab 5.7 metres west-north-west of B, there are no other similar stones in the area. It seems very unlikely that the large east-north-east of the slabs was ever upright, neither socket nor hollow are visible and the presence of several similar stones further down the hill point to it being outcrop. The two upright slabs are not aligned on the nearby cairn (MSO7902) nor any natural features in the immediate area. Further information on the stones is in the archive. [5,6] Surveyed with GPS, 12 August 1996. [7] Scheduled, together with cairn (MSO7902) on 27 March 1996. [8] The western stone is 0.25 metres high and the east 0.5 metres high. The eastern stone sits in an erosion hollow. A third slab 5 metres to the northeast may not be associated. There is a cairn 17 metres to the southwest.There is a large, probably natural, L-shaped stone to the northeast of the cairn. [9] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 3. [10] This was surveyed during a measured field survey undertaken as part of the Dig Porlock project, run by the Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership Scheme. [11] The site was surveyed in May 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 7. [12] Two standing stones and a potential recumbent partner are situated down the west facing slope of Porlock allotment. It is aligned near a cairn, and a large flat inscribed stone. Stones A and B are no more than 3m apart, and the potential partner Stone C is just over 5m away to the north-east. The area is littered with stones and outcroppings up the hill of unknown significance. Stone A is heavily rubbed and leans acutely over a large erosion hollow. Stone B, is also leaning significantly and has been rubbed. Stone C is largely undamaged but recumbent, it’s location under the animal track could lead to damage from wandering livestock. A significant cover of bracken is present across the site. [13] 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. [14] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [15]

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Site visit report, R McDonnell, 9 June 1982.
  • <2> Article in serial: Burrow, I., Minnitt, S. and Murless, B.. 1982. Somerset Archaeology 1981. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 126. 69-91. P. 65.
  • <3> Article in serial: Gray, H.St.G. 1928. The Porlock stone circle, Exmoor. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 74. P. 72.
  • <4> Article in serial: Fowler, MJ. 1988. The Standing Stones of Exmoor. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 132. 1-13 (Porlock 4, 4a, 4b and 5).
  • <5> Technical drawing: Probert, S.. 1989. Porlock Allotment/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. SAJ Probert, 3 January 1988.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 12 August 1996.
  • <8> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 26.4.1996. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <9> 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. SS84SW59. P. 61.
  • <10> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <11> Report: Riley, H.. 2013. Dig Porlock: Earthwork surveys on Porlock Allotment. 3, 14.
  • <12> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015.
  • <13>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MSO7911. [Mapped features: #45637 Stone A., MSO7911; #45638 Stone B., MSO7911; #45639 Stone C., MSO7911]
  • <14> Website: Gerrard, S.. 2020. The Stone Rows of Great Britain.
  • <15> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36318, Extant 21 June 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8404 4470 (40m by 14m) (3 map features)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11567
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW59
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36318
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33964

Record last edited

Jun 21 2021 8:35PM


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