Historic Environment Record images

MSO6727 - Prehistoric stone setting on Almsworthy Common

ENPHER Number:MSO6727
Name:Prehistoric stone setting on Almsworthy Common
Type of Record:Monument
Grid Reference:SS 8430 4169
Parish:EXFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record caveat document.

Summary

A stone setting on the southeast facing slope of Almsworthy Common, comprising about 14 small stones arranged in rows.

Images

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting. 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting. 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting. 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting. 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting  © Aerial-Cam

Almsworthy Common Stone Setting © Aerial-Cam

Stone A at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone A at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone A at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone A at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone B at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone B at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone B at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone B at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone D at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone D at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone D at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the south, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone D at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the south, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone E at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the south, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone E at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the south, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone E at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone E at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone G at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the south, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone G at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the south, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone G at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone G at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone H at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the north, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone H at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the north, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone H at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone H at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone J at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone J at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone J at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the south, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone J at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the south, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone K at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone K at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone K at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the south, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone K at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the south, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone L at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the north, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone L at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the north, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone L at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone L at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone M at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone M at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone M at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the north, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone M at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the north, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone N at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone N at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the east, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone N at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the north, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone N at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the north, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stones E, J and M at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stones E, J and M at Almsworthy Common Stone Setting from the west, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone setting on Almsworthy Common © Exmoor National Park Authority

Monument Types

  • STONE SETTING (Late Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC (Possible))

Designated Status

  • Scheduled Monument 1015017: Almsworthy Common: a stone alignment 560m south west of Chetsford Bridge

Description

[SS 84304171] Stone Circle (NR). [1]

This stone circle was discovered in 1931. The centre of the monument is circa 600 feet west-north-west of a parish boundary, and the stones are arranged in three concentric ellipses [See Illustrations Card,] totalling 13 stones with an outlier (No 14) to the eastsoutheast. [2]

Scheduled. [3]

This is a group of 14 small stones set upright in the ground, but they do not form an obvious pattern. The largest is 0.7 metres high and the smallest is only just visible above ground. Surveyed at 1.2500.[4]

St. George Gray's contention that they form three concentric ellipses does not seem to be borne out on the ground, and would suggest that this arrangement is more 'contrived' than actual. The "slight mound" shown on St. George Gray's plan cannot be seen on the ground. The stones on Almsworthy Common allegedly consist of three concentric ovals, the outer measuring 34.1 metres by 28.7 metres. But of sixteen or more stones of this theoretical ring only six of the outer, three of the central and four 21]of the inner circle exist, a total of thirteen stones with one other 4.9 metres eastsoutheast of the setting. If the site is truly a triple concentric then it is unique amongst the freestanding stone rings of the British Isles. [5]

In 1939 PJD Way surveyed the site and reassessed it as a rectilinear stone setting, 'perhaps a number of parallel stone rows', rather than a stone circle. As a prehistoric stone circle the site is an anomaly and there seem to be insufficient stones to support Gray's ellipses. [6]

Inconclusive pattern. [7]

A setting of 15 stones located on the gentle south-east facing slope of Almsworthy Common. The site at 434 metres above sea level is situated in low heather and possesses good views to the south and south-west. The underlying strata are of the Hangman Grit series, the posts and slabs of the monument consisting of sandstone with quartzite veins. The monument appears to comprise 4 rows running roughly northnorthwest to southsoutheast, their individual orientations varying by several degrees. The rows vary from between 6 to 9 metres apart with stones probably originating at intervals of 6 to 7.5 metres. There is no specific orientation of the individual stones which are apparently staggered from row to row. There is no indication as to the original length of the rows, the longest remaining, on the east margin of the site, measures 30 metres. The overall width of the site is approximately 24 metres. There are no other features visible in the immediate area. Stone P may have originally been part of this setting. [10]

Fourteen earthfast stones, one loose. Form four rows with slightly differing orientations. Both slab and post stones, 0.1-0.7 metres high, erosion hollows around nine. A vehicle track crosses the southwest of site. [12]

Whole area covered with bracken and stones can only just be seen. [13]

There are 12 stones in an upright position and two barely visible at ground level, also 1 loose stone. The 12 larger stones are up to 0.5 metres high and in general triangular in shape. The stones do not form a circle. A low curving bank was seen to the south-west (MSO6735). [15]

Scheduling revised with national number (was Somerset 208) on 29.4.1996. [17]

Four water filled pits in the vicinty as well as an additional stone recorded. [18]

The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 13. [19]

The site was surveyed in April 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 9. [20]

An earth resistance survey of the site was undertaken by the National Trust in November 2014. The stone setting was noted to have been affected by an extant trackway, which might have displaced and buried some of the stones and the survey aimed to ascertain whether any context for the surviving stones survived below the ground. An attempt was also made to deploy radar on the site but this was not possible due to the vegetation conditions. The survey noted that the soil was extremely thin and wet, meaning very little of obvious archaeological interest was seen. Two linear trends were, however, noted, one of which corresponded to a line of stones. The work also allowed the 1992 survey [12] to be rectified onto Ordnance Survey coordinates and its orientation corrected. [21]


<1> Ordnance Survey, 1962, 6 Inch Map: 1962 (Map). SEM7220.


<2> Gray, H.St.G, 1931, Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor (Somerset Portion), plate 15 (Article in serial). SSO1197.


<3> Ministry of Works, 1956, List of Ancient Monuments in England and Wales 1956, P. 59 (Index). SEM7752.


<4> PITCHER, GHP, Field Investigators Comments, Ordnance Survey visit, 29 June 1965 (Unpublished document). SMO7319.


<5> Burl, A., 1976, The Stone Circles of the British Isles (Monograph). SMO4084.


<6> Grinsell, L.V., 1970, The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater, P. 18, 39-41 (Monograph). SMO4578.


<7> Eardley-Wilmot, H, 1983, Thirty Exmoor stone-settings (Monograph). SSO1104.


<8> Department of the Environment (IAM), 1978, List of Ancient Monuments of England and Wales 1978, P. 117 (Index). SEM7732.


<9> Ordnance Survey, 1978, 1:10,000 Map, 1978 (Map). SSO1446.


<10> Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, Field Investigators Comment, SAJ Probert, 4 January 1989 (Unpublished document). SMO5111.


<11> Almsworthy Common/ink survey (Survey). SMO5496.


<12> 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., P. 37 (Monograph). SMO5658.


<13> Somerset County Council, Various, Somerset HER parish files, PRN 33597 (Unpublished document). SSO1.


<14> Fowler, MJ, 1988, The Standing Stones of Exmoor, P. 1-13 (Exford 1) (Article in serial). SSO1175.


<15> Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, Field Monument Warden Report (Report). SSO1247.


<16> Setterington, 1990, ms in HER files file (Unpublished document). SSO1913.


<17> English Heritage, 7.5.1996, English Heritage to Somerset County Council (Unpublished document). SSO1158.


<18> Walker M, 23/04/1995, Almsworthy Common Amendments (Unassigned). SSO1966.


<19> Bray, L.S., 2010, Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park (Report). SEM7402.


<20> Gent, T. and Manning, P., 2015, Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015 - Draft (Report). SEM8278.


<21> Roseveare, M.J., 2015, Almsworthy Common Stone Setting, Exmoor National Park, Somerset: Geophysical survey report (Report). SEM8328.

Other References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11256
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW3
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA155599
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 36211
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33597
Date Last Edited:Sep 27 2016 8:48AM

Feedback?

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

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd

© 2016 Exmoor National Park Authority