MSO8534 - Caratacus Stone, Winsford Hill (Monument)

Summary

An early medieval memorial stone now known as the Caratacus Stone, with an inscription of 6th Century character. It stands 1.2 metres high with a slight lean. An excavation in 1937 found no evidence of a burial.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

A ‘Stone’ is marked on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map. [1] An inscribed stone on Winsford Hill is 3 foot, 11.5 inches in height, and bears three lines of writing running vertically downwards. The first line has been chipped away, apparently with intention. The inscription reads: ......... S ........ CARAACI NEPVS. The stroke over the second A is not in contact with the letter, and the character should not be taken as being a T ligatured. The name is CARANACI, not CARATACI. [2] An inscribed stone marking the burial place, certainly of an early Christian and on which the lettering of the 6th Century, reads CARATICI NEPUS (the Grandson of Caraticus). [3] A roof has been erected over the stone. The inscription CARAACI NEPVS is quite clear, but there is no indication of the first line of lettering postulated by Macalister. [5] Condition is very poor. The stone is covered in lichen and is very nearly illegible. [6] The stone is leaning but firm. A repair has been made at some time, near the curving top. The letters remain clear, as are other marks, said to be R and G. These are all on the east face. The height of the stone is c1.2 metres and 0.3 metres wide. [7] An interpretation panel has been erected at the site. [8] The stone is mentioned as ‘Langeston’ in the Perambulation of Exmoor Forest, in 1219 and 1279. [9] An inscribed stone, now known as the Caratacus Stone. It lies on the southeastern edge of Winsford Hill, on the edge of a series of trackways associated with medieval and post medieval routes across Winsford Hill. The inscription faces away from the trackways. The inscription, in debased Latin writing of 6th century date, is on the eastern face of the stone. The letters are about 9 cetimetres high. It reads "CARAACI NEPVS", the N is reversed. This means either the grandson, nephew or descendent of Caratacus. Macalister suggests that a further line of writing existed, above CARAACI, but there is no evidence for this, in fact this area has been subject to weathering. Two other letters, ‘R’ ‘G’, are carved faintly beneath "NEPVS", on a different alignment. These letters are more recent graffiti. The western face of the stone is badly weathered, and part of the top has been recently repaired. The construction of the shelter, built of local materials in 1906, was authorized by Sir Thomas Acland who leased Winsford Hill to the National Trust for 500 years in 1918. [19] A memorial stone, now known as the Caratacus Stone, has a 6th Century type inscription. It is called Langeston in the 13th Century Forest Perambulations. The stone is 1.2 metres high and 0.3 metres wide, with a slight lean to the south-south-west. The inscription was discovered in 1890 and a shelter was erected around it in 1906. The stone was removed in 1937, when a small excavation showed there to be no grave. It was subsequently cemented back into position. [22] Charles Thomas reads the inscription as CARATACI NEPVS with a ligatured AT. This would commemorate the grandson (or other immediate descendent) of Caratacus or Carantacus. He would date it to the later part of the sixth century or early seventh and suggests that it shows contacts with Glamorgan rather than with the rest of Dumnonnia. [23] The letters are 5 to 10 centimetres in height and appear to have been rather inaccurately cut in modern times. CARATACI appears the more likely reading although CARAMACI, CARANACI or even CARANTACI are possible. Macalister believed that there was a previous line, of which he said the S was clear. There is no sign of this today and no one else has recorded it. Without it the inscription appears incomplete and the name of the deceased would be expected. [24] Scheduling of the monument has been affirmed with a new national number on 12 November 2003 (the number was Somerset 37). The 20th Century protective building is also included in the scheduling. [33] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 4. [35] The site was surveyed in March 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 8. [36] A rough rectangular post that has been reset in cement, with a small stone shelter erected over the top. The stone measures 1.2 x 0.3 x 0.2m and has a slight lean. It is notable due to its Post-Roman inscription of “CARATACI” or “CARAACI NEPUS” suggesting it may have once been a burial marker. There is little damage to the stone and the shelter itself, however, the immediate environs and buried archaeological potential continues to be disturbed. The track to the west of the stone has not necessarily worsened since 2015, but continued use prevents its recovery, especially in the recent wet weather. The site is “improving” due to the recent management of the gorse, which once covered the field. [37]

Sources/Archives (37)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <2> Unassigned: Macalister, R.A.S.. 1945. Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum. 1. P.476-8 illustrations, P.476-478.
  • <3> Article in serial: Ralegh-Radford, C.A.. 1952. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. P.230.
  • <4> Report: Ministry of Works. 1961. Ancient Monuments in England and Wales. P.83.
  • <5> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 19 August 1965.
  • <6> Report: The National Trust. Ancient Monuments Record.
  • <7> Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Field Monument Warden Report.
  • <8> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. E Dennison, Somerset County Council, 5 May 1984.
  • <9> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. P.103-105.
  • <10> Article in serial: Rhys, J.. 1891. Notice of a Newly Discovered Inscribed Stone on Winsford Hill, Exmoor. Archaeologia Cambrensis. 46. P.29-32.
  • <11> Monograph: Dobson, D.P.. 1931. The Archaeology of Somerset. P.257.
  • <12> Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Somerset. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 1. P.369.
  • <13> Monograph: Fox, A.. 1973. South-West England, 3500BC-AD600 . David and Charles Limited. Revised Edition. P.159, 162, 244.
  • <14> Serial: Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 1851-. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Volume 69 (i).
  • <15> Article in serial: Chanter, J.F.. 1910. Christianity in Devon before AD 909. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 42. P.482.
  • <16> Article in serial: Fowler, M.J.F.. 1988/1989. The Standing Stones of Exmoor: A Provisional Catalogue of 62 West Somerset Sites. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 132. P.11 (Winsford 1).
  • <17> Article in serial: Gray, H.G.. 1937. Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 83. V. P.166-168.
  • <18> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <19> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 6 December 1989.
  • <20> Monograph: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 1983. Ancient Exmoor: A Study of the Archaeology and Prehistory of Exmoor. The Exmoor Press. Microstudy C2. P.49.
  • <21> Monograph: MacDermot, E.T.. 1973. The History of the Forest of Exmoor. David and Charles Limited. Revised Edition.
  • <22> Monograph: Quinnell, N.V. + 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. P.67.
  • <23> Monograph: Thomas, C.. 1994. And Shall These Mute Stones Speak? Post-Roman Inscriptions in Western Britain. University of Wales Press. P.288-289.
  • <24> Monograph: Pearce, S.M.. 1981. The Archaeology of South West Britain. Collins. P.172, 270.
  • <25> Article in serial: Macalister, R.A.S.. 1929. The Ancient Inscriptions of the South of England. Archaeologia Cambrensis. 84. P.193-5.
  • <26> Article in serial: Warden-Page, J.. 1890. Inscribed Stone on Winsford Hill. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 36. P.82-7.
  • <27> Article in serial: Haverfield, F.J.. 1918. Roman Christian Inscriptions on Exmoor. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 64. P.xxiii-xlii.
  • <28> Monograph: Whybrow, C.. 1977. Antiquary's Exmoor. The Exmoor Press. P.42.
  • <29> Article in serial: 1947. Unknown. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 93. P.18-19.
  • <30> Article in serial: 1984. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 128. P.32-33.
  • <31> Monograph: Okasha, E.. 1993. Corpus of Early Christian Inscribed Stones of South-West Britain. P.328-331.
  • <32> Unpublished document: Riley, H.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 24 July 1997.
  • <33> Index: Scheduled Monument Notification . English Heritage scheduling amendment, 12 November 2003 (document dated 24 November 2003).
  • <34> Article in serial: Chanter, J.F. + Worth, R.H.. 1905. The Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor and its Borders. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. I. P.386.
  • <35> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <36> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015.
  • <37> Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MSO8534.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8896 3355 (3m by 2m) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet SS83SE
Civil Parish WINSFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SE6
  • National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35777
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): 37
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34225

Record last edited

Dec 17 2018 2:00PM

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