MSO9316 - Mounsey Castle, Dulverton (Monument)
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Type and Period (2)
(SS 8856 2955) Mounsey Castle (NAT) Camp (NR)  Mounsey Castle stands on a high promontory just south of the confluence of the Barle and Danes Brook. It is an irregular triangular earthwork with the curved base running almost due east to west and the apex pointing northeast. There are entrances are at the west end of the northeast bank and at the southwest corner. The enclosure is about 170 yards across the base of the triangle and 200 yards from this base to the apex.  Mounsey Castle is a univallate hillfort of under 3 acres.  Mounsey Castle is a promontory fort at the southern end of a steep sided ridge. The defence evidently consisted of a coursed stone wall supplemented by scarping the natural slope. Along the south side intermittent sections of walling survive up to 0.5 metres high and 4.0 metres thick. Elsewhere there is a low bank, or merely the scarp, on which tumbled stone occurs throughout. A quarry ditch is visible within most of the perimeter. The entrance on the west is certainly original and may have been approached from the southeast by a banked way. The other gap, in the north east, may have been caused by a modern terraced track from the valley below. A small rectangular structure with evidence of chimney, at SS 8860 2949, is probably a charcoal burners hut. Surveyed at 1/2500.  SS 886 295. Mounsey Castle. Scheduled. (Listed under 'Camps and Settlements').  Mounsey Castle, in a semi-promontory position with a steep drop to the river on the west, is a roughly triangular shaped fort. The defences are univallate on the southeast and east sides with a ditch and counterscarp on the south. On the west the rampart runs along the top of a very steep slope down to the Barle. On the south the inner rampart can be seen to consist of a drystone wall about 3 metres thick still surviving several courses high. Behind the west rampart about 40 metres north of the south-west entrance is a large recumbent slab, possibly a fallen standing stone. Visited 1 April 1973.  Legend has it that a stone at Mounsey Castle fell from the Devil's apron as he was on his way to build Tarr Steps.  In private ownership.  Listed in gazetteer as a univallate hillfort covering 1.75 hectares.  Some features are difficult to see because of undergrowth.  Scheduling revised (to include outwork MSO12715) with new national number (was Somerset 373) on 3 September 2004.  Banks of earth and boulders disturbed by trees, up to 1.75 metres high.  The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 6.  The interior of the enclosure is densely covered in bracken. Although vegetation damage poses a threat to the any subsurface archaeological features the vegetation provides valuable wildlfe habitation. The site is also within a SSSI and as such the Somerset Wildlife Trust (leaseholders of the site) are reluctant to allow clearance. However, work was undertaken to clear the remainder of the site of beech saplings, which if allowed to grow could damage the archaeology.  The site was surveyed in June 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 9.  In 1883, it was noted that just near the brow of the hill, hidden by thick underwood, was a massive earth and stone wall or rampart, which "went quite round the hill" and apparently loosely constucted but with some more careful construction. A ditch from six to twelve feet wide ran along the inside. 
- <1> SEM7220 Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
- <2> SMO5358 Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1911. The Victoria History of the County of Somerset. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 2. Volume 2, 492-493 (CH Bothamley).
- <3> SMO5622 Monograph: Ordnance Survey. 1962. Ordnance Survey Map of Southern Britain in the Iron Age. Ordnance Survey.
- <4> SMO7316 Unpublished document: PALMER, JP. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 25 August 1965.
- <5> SEM7732 Index: Department of the Environment (IAM). 1978. List of Ancient Monuments of England and Wales 1978. P. 120.
- <6> SSO825 Article in serial: Burrow, I.. 1981. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD. British Archaeological Reports. 91. 240-241.
- <7> SEM7733 Article in serial: Monday, A. J.. 1883. Two Somerset Wills. Somerset Archaeological & Natural History Society. 29. P. 61-68.
- <8> SSO820 Monograph: Burrow, E.J.. 1924. Ancient Earthworks and Camps of Somerset. P. 88.
- <9> SSO1778 Monograph: Page, J.L.W.. 1890. An Exploration of Exmoor and the Hill Country of West Somerset: With Notes on its Archaeology. P. 85-86.
- <10> SSO1046 Monograph: Dobson, D.P.. 1931. The Archaeology of Somerset. P. 247.
- <11> SSO1 Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records.
- <12> SMO4712 Article in monograph: Hogg, A.H.A.. 1979. British Hillforts: An Index. Occasional Papers of the Hill-Fort Study Group; No.1. British Archaeological Reports.
- <13> SEM6895 Report: Riley, H.. 1999. Mounsey Castle and Brewer's Castle: Two Iron Age Enclosures in the Barle Valley, Somerset.
- <14> SSO1139 Unpublished document: English Heritage. 21/9/2004. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
- <15> SEM7523 Monograph: Dulverton and District Civic Society. 2002. The Book of Dulverton, Brushford, Bury and Exebridge. Halsgrove. P.9.
- <16> SSO1247 Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Field Monument Warden Report.
- <17> SMO1177 Photograph: PLAN OF MOUNSEY CASTLE AT DULVERTON. OS63/F374/7. B/W.
- <18> SMO165 Photograph: PROMONTORY FORT. BB73/04846. B/W.
- <19> SMO6075 Collection: Victoria History of the Counties of England: Illustrations and Proofs.
- <20> SEM7402 Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
- <21> SEM7897 Report: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2009. Monument Management Scheme: 2008-9 Report. P. 10.
- <22> SEM8278 Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015.
- <24> SEM8749 Article in serial: Unknown. 1883. Thursday's Excursion. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. 29. Part 1, 58-80. pp 60, 62.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 8855 2956 (196m by 201m)|
|Civil Parish||DULVERTON, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET|
Related Monuments/Buildings (3)
Related Events/Activities (1)
Related Articles (1)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=35638 (Pastscape entry: 35638)
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11207
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 82 NE2
- National Park: Exmoor National Park
- Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35638
- Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33538
- Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33539
Record last edited
Nov 6 2019 10:26AM
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