MSO8732 - Medieval and post-medieval field system on Bradley Hams (Monument)


A two-phase field system covers 46.5 hectares. The earliest phase, represented by curving field banks, is of medieval date. The second post-dates the Tithe Map of 1841. In the early 20th Century, part of the site was used as a horse racing track.

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Type and Period (4)

Protected Status

Full Description

This site was originally recorded on Somerset HER as part of PRN 34303 (MSO8676). [1] Centred at SS 8524 3471 on Bradley Hams are the remains of a two-phase field system covering 46.5 hectares. The earliest phase is medieval and is associated with the farmstead at SS 8568 3491 (MSO8676). It is centred around SS 8563 3498 and consists of very slight curving field banks running under the later banks, and cut on the east by Bradley Pond. The second phase consists of effaced field banks associated with the surviving banks prior to the enlargement of the fields. They ran across the whole area of Bradley Hams as one field, therefore suggesting that all of the field banks were constructed later than 1841. The banks have been identified from aerial photographs [3]. Associated with this phase are a series of lynchets to the north centred around SS 8538 3465 measuring around 0.5 metres high and identified from aerial photographs [3]. Downslope of these at SS 8529 3454 are the remains of a building platform measuring 16.6 metres across the slope by 8.7 metres cut into the natural hillside. To the southeast a track runs up the slope from it. During the first half of the century the field containing Bradley Pond and the medieval field system hosted a horse racing track for local farmers, the field being known locally as "the race track" [4]. [2-5] The remains of a two phase field system covering circa 60 hectares can be seen as earthworks on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards. As described by [5], slightly curving field banks are visible near Bradley Pond, but can also be seen to the west of Bradley Hams at circa SS 8532 3479. These are indicative of a probable medieval phase of enclosure and are overlain by more regular boundary banks of post-medieval, and probably 19th Century date. These boundaries extend to the northeast of Bradley Pond, laterally crossing Bradley Hams dividing the hill into a series of regular subrectangular fields. These earthworks have suffered some erosion from agricultural improvements by the 1970s. [6-10] Geophysical survey of a portion of the site in 2014 noted five linear anomalies running east to west, which were thought to be related to former field boundaries not present on mapping available to the survey team. [11] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. Chris Webster, December 1997.
  • <2> Map: 1841. Hawkridge Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <3> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. 8534.
  • <4> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Mr AW Baker, Minehead.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Chapman, H.P.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 26 April 1995.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1655 4386-7 (11 July 1946).
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 3358-9 (11 April 1947).
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 543/2821 (F61) 0261-2 (27 April 1964).
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73086 775-6 (17 April 1973).
  • <10> Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SE. MD002198.
  • <11> Report: Richardson, T.. 2014. Geophysical survey report: Great Bradley, Somerset. 5-6.
  • <12> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1028677, Extant 1 February 2022.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO456
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12353
  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SE52
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1028677
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 35541



Grid reference Centred SS 8570 3481 (1267m by 1272m) Aerial survey
Map sheet SS83SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Oct 11 2022 11:41AM


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