MSO7923 - Possible prehistoric stone setting south of Coley Water (Monument)


A possible prehistoric stone setting comprises four stones. Two further stones are thought to be natural in origin and a further stone could not be identified during investigation.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 8409 4435. Stones (NAT) - Three shown. [1] Plan shows two large stones (35 by 26 by 13 inches and 30 by 16 by 8 inches) and a smaller fallen stone. [2] Two stones marked on 1962 Ordnance Survey 6 inch map at SS 8405 4440 and SS 8409 4434. [3] Richard McDonnell reports a stony area with three stones upright in a row. [4] Nothing shown on 1978 Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 map. [5] The remains of a possible setting are situated on the top of a flattish northwest to southeast oriented ridge at about 405 metres Ordnance Datum, in rough pasture and recently swaled heather, the views from the northeast around to the southwest are extensive. The setting of 4 stones composed of medium grain sandstone is now in a dilapidated condition, the ground is churned by cattle and cut by tractor tracks to the south. Only stone A though loose is still earthfast and typical of a setting stone. Stone B is recumbent (as shown on Ways sketch [2]) and it is possibly not in situ. Stone C located in an erosion hollow may have been upright until recently (Ways sketch shows it as a black dot) presumably an upright stone. Stone D (not shown on Ways sketch) is earthfast but appears to be natural. A stone is shown by [1] some 5 metres northeast of A but it was not identified during investigation. Some 40 metres north-north-west of stone D at SS 8405 4439 is another larger upright stone E (shown on Ways sketch). Trapezoidal in section, it is 0.85 metres high, 0.65 metres east to west by 0.3 metres maximum north to south. If this is a prehistoric standing stone it was possibly associated with the setting. About 81 metres north-north-west of Stone E, but not visible from it, is another similar stone SS 8399 4445 which is probably a natural slab. As McDonnell states [4] the ridge is somewhat stonier than the surrounding area. A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [6,7] A linear stone setting on Porlock Allotment, situated to the north of the track on the spur to the south of Coley Water. The stone row has been damaged significantly historically and most stones are recumbent. The 1989 survey recorded 4 stones (A-D). Due to adders being present in the heather and on the stones, the survey was limited and only Stones A and C were located. However, this survey did identify an upright stone not recorded on the HER, Stone E, as well as two cairns (SS 84066 44394; SS 84028 44424) in alignment to the row. One between Stone E and C, and the second beyond Stone E to the northwest. A buried stone, possibly Stone B, was discovered at SS 84104 44366, but this could not be confirmed. The previous survey also had difficulties locating Stone D, which may suggest it is no longer present. Stone B was only located through probing, and also could not be confirmed as present, and so it is suggested that the site is deteriorating. There is some light animal rubbing against Stone E but the impact is very low. The most severe threat to the site are off-road vehicles deviating from the track just south of Stone. [12] 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. [13] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [14]

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. c.1905.
  • <2> Technical drawing: Way, P.J.D. 12.06.38. Sketch Plan.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <4> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. M Aston, Somerset County Council, 7 December 1976.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1978. 1:10,000 Map, 1978. 1:10,000. SS84SW.
  • <6> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I.. 1989. Porlock Allotment 2/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 3 January 1989.
  • <8> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. P. 191.
  • <9> 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).
  • <10> Article in serial: Gray, H.St.G. 1928. The Porlock stone circle, Exmoor. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 74. 72.
  • <11> 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. SS84SW81. P. 60.
  • <12>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MSO7923. [Mapped features: #45630 Stone A., MSO7923; #45631 Stone C., MSO7923; #45632 Stone E., MSO7923]
  • <13> Website: Gerrard, S.. 2020. The Stone Rows of Great Britain.
  • <14> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 859241, Extant 21 June 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8407 4438 (81m by 48m) (3 map features)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11539
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW81
  • National Park
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 859241
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33934

Record last edited

Jun 21 2021 8:21PM


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