Inscribed Stones

Caratacus Stone within its shelter, 2013There are three extant inscribed stones on Exmoor: the Culbone Stone, the Cavudus Stone and the Caratacus Stone. A fourth stone was incorporated into the road bridge in Parracombe, but was washed away in the flood of 1952 and has not been seen since. The stones all date from the centuries following the collapse of Roman rule in Britain. Precise dating is problematic, but they all date from the 6th to 9th centuries. They served different purposes, the Culbone Stone marks the Christianisation of a prehistoric stone row and bears a wheel cross, but the Caratacus Stone, on Winsford Hill (see image, left) and the Cavudus Stone near Lynton are usually thought to mark the positions of graves (though neither are in their original position).

In the southern British Isles, inscribed stones are found in south western England, Wales and Ireland and it is appropriate to see the Exmoor stones as part of this tradition. As such they are probably the most easterly examples in England, and one has to travel westwards into Cornwall or into western Wales to see others.