MSO8571 - Possible deserted farmstead northwest of Great Ash Farm (Monument)


The alleged earthworks of a deserted farmstead, noted on historic aerial photographs, could not be found during field investigation in 1997. The features described may have been non-archaeological in origin.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Site first identified from aerial photographs. Fairly large bank forming an irregular enclosure with small internal division and a small rectangular building on northern end. [1,2] The site consists of a series of vaguely defined earthwork enclosures running down a gentle north facing slope to the east of a small re-entrant with a spring. The earthworks have been ploughed and are now difficult to assess, but the general character suggests a deserted farm site. [3] Not mentioned in Aston's list of deserted settlements. [4] At SS 8715 3565 on north facing slopes in an improved pasture field is a spring. The area around the spring has become trampled and puddled by animal access to the water. It is this activity perhaps combined with a fence or enclosure around the spring that has lead to the suggestion that there are earthworks here indicative of a deserted farmstead. However, no trace of settlement could be found. [5] A possible rectilinear earthwork defined enclosure is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s, centred on circa SS 8719 3557. The banks appear to be up to 6 metres in width, and define a rectilinear enclosure over 50 metres in length and circa 25 metres across. The eastern side is less clearly visible and may contain an entrance. The internal features and structure described by the above authorities could not be seen. The possible enclosure cannot be seen on later aerial photographs and it may therefore have been levelled by agricultural improvements. However, such improvements are not evident on the photographs available to the survey during the timescale in which this feature became unclear, and it is possible that the feature was non-archaeological in origin. [2,6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. LHL/CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 4352-3 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. 8735.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records. PRN34245.
  • <4> Article in serial: Aston, M.. 1983. Deserted Farmsteads on Exmoor and the Lay Subsidy of 1327 in West Somerset. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 127. 100-101.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 16 September 1997.
  • <6> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192.
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 974582, Extant 14 September 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO393
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11686
  • Local List Status (Require info)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE44
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 974582
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34245



Grid reference Centred SS 8719 3558 (49m by 82m) Aerial survey
Map sheet SS83NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Sep 14 2021 3:38PM


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