MSO8075 - Medieval or post-medieval field system on Bossington Hill (Monument)


An extensive field system on the summit of Bossington Hill. Its date is uncertain, but it may have its origins in the medieval or post-medieval period.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

The remains of an extensive field system lies on the summit of Bossington Hill, centred at SS 905 485. The area was recorded using differential GPS as part of the RCHME Exmoor project. The well preserved earthwork remains cover an area of circa 1 kilometre square. The field system continues to the east where it can be seen as vague earthworks in improved pasture (previously recorded as MSO8050). The fields comprise mainly rectangular plots. Above Church Combe and Lynch Combe the field walls are very stony and many clearance cairns are evident, particularly in the area at the head of Church Combe. In the area on the slopes above East Combe, the remains occur as sustantial lynchets, up to 1 metre high, with clearance cairns mainly evident on the northern edge of the field system. The central portion of the field system is obscured with thick gorse; aerial photographs show that the field banks do continue in this area [1,2]. The field system is disturbed by the World War Two activity in the area. At the head of Church Combe an observation post has been constructed and many bomb craters occur. To the southwest of East Combe, many slit trenches have been cut into the field banks. The two enclosures recorded separately (MSO11597) are part of the field system, and the narrow rigg ploughing referred to appears to be the result of World War Two activity. [3] The date of the field system is difficult to ascertain. The western part may be associated with the villages of Bossington and West Lynch at the foot of Bossington Hill; tracks lead from these settlements up Church Combe and Lynch Combe to the fields. The deserted settlement at Mene (MSO8022) may have been associted with the eastern part of the system. None of the fields are depicted on the early 19th Century mapping of the area. [4] The probable medieval and/or post-medieval field system ) is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs. The field system is located primarily on Bossington Hill, centred at SS 9083 4854 and bounded by the grid references SS 9030 4806, SS 9028 4896, SS 9133 4887, SS 9170 4841, SS 9153 4800 and SS 9097 4823. Many of the fields show evidence of ploughing with slight narrow ridge and furrow visible as earthworks through the thick vegetation. These have been recorded as part of the field system. Associated drainage ditches and possble trackways have also been recorded. The field boundaries to the east of the field system (SS 9138 4855) have been plough levelled and were visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs taken in 1999. [1,5-7] There are numerous banks and ditches seen on aerial photographs which form three field systems. The area is a subrectangular system of fairly square fields on the top and west spur of Bossington Hill. They are defended by small banks or walls and some of the fields appear to have been ploughed. On the northeast side of Hurtstone Combe are short right angled banks and short curving lynchets. There is a system of linear subrectangular fields defined by larger more substantial banks on the northeast side at Bossington Hill, extending into Minehead Without parish and onto North Hill. There also appears to be a circular enclosure in the centre of the system (SS 9070 4880) and a small area of narrow rig ploughing at the head of Lynch Combe (SS 9090 4810). [8,9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. 106G/UK/1655 4013-4014 (11 July 1946).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. SCPD.HSL.UK 71-177 Run 91 8679, 8680 (September 1971).
  • <3> Unpublished document: Riley, H.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 1998.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1802. Ordnance Survey drawing 42 part 1 - Minehead 16. 3 inch : 1 Mile (1:21,120). Pen and Ink.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/70064 045-046 (3 May 1970).
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 9048/18 (18282/03) (10 February 1999).
  • <7>XY Archive: Dickson, A.. 2007. Severn Estuary Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment: SS 94 NW. MD000133. [Mapped feature: #38381 ]
  • <8> Photograph: Somerset County Council Planning Department. Slide. 3.029.0118-0119 (March 1984).
  • <9>XY Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. 9048 and 9148. [Mapped feature: #44737 ]
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1119198, Extant 11 May 2022.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO691
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11596
  • Local Heritage List Status (Require info)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 NW52
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1119198
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34003
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34002
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35002



Grid reference Centred SS 29 14 (2068m by 1026m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS21SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (9)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

Mar 18 2024 2:16PM


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