MDE1256 - Prehistoric stone setting above Hoccombe Combe (Monument)


A prehistoric stone setting, originally consisting of four rows of five or six stones, is located on a south facing slope above Hoccombe Combe. Field investigation in 1988 identified nine standing and two fallen stones.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

At SS 786 444 are what appear to be one or more stone circles in Hoccombe Combe. One is clearly definable and there is evidence of another close by. (Webster's co-ordinates are taken from the Ordnance Survey 1 inch map). [1] There are no stone circles in the area but at SS 7866 4441 is a stone setting, deep in bracken. Eleven stones, from 0.1 metres to 0.6 metres high now survive. Originally the setting probably comprised four rows of five or six stones, it is situated on almost level ground. Surveyed at 1:2500. [2] SS 7866 4441 A setting of nine upright and two fallen stones is situated at 332 metres Ordnance Datum on a south facing slope just below the crest of a gently rounded hill. The setting affords good views to the east and north-east, other aspects being obscured by high ground. The site lies in an area of long coarse grass and bracken which has recently been mown. The Hangman Grits form the underlying geology and the monument is composed of smooth fine-ground sandstones. The setting described by authority 2 in 1974 then consisted of eleven stones forming four probable rows. Since then the site has been damaged by mowing. The surviving upright stones and the two hollows, M.N. which may have contained further uprights appear to form three irregularly spaced rows oriental west-north-west to east-south-east with a maximum length of 28 metres. The outlying stone H, to the south, is the sole rennant of the fourth row. The fallen stones F and L have probably been displaced from the south-west or north-west margins of the site where stones depicted by the Ordnance Survey are no longer extant. A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [3,4] SS 7866 4441 Stones (NR). [5] Dray gives the monument record ID as MDE1245, however she is referring to this site. Only 9 stones could be located, stones (B) and (D) may be obscured but are more likely to be missing. Stone (A) is located within a stablised erosion hollow. Stone (K) is in an active erosion hollow measuring 1.9 metres in diatmeter and 0.2 metres deep. Stone (H) had fallen since it was last surveyed but was re-erected in June 2003. Stones (E), (G) and (J) have only stumps remaining. Their height was not recorded in 1992 so it not possible to access whether this damage is recent. Stone (L) is stable with slight forst damage. Sheep tracks can be seen in close proximity to stones (A), (J) and (K). [7] The site was surveyed in 2012 and it was noted that all but one stone were present (stone C appeared to have been removed since the 2003 survey). Slater advises that some stones were loose but mostly appear not to have changed since 2003. [8] The site is a large stone setting similar to the example at Pig Hill (MDE9885), with stones of varying sizes arranged in a uneven row with lateral shorter irregular rows of stones along its length. It sits on a slight plateau of the hill to the north of Hoccombe Combe, and runs roughly east to west. In total there are 11 stones (A-L) still visible and 2 clear hollows (N-M) where stones may have stood. The largest two stones start (Stone A) and end (Stone K) the row. The site is in a "good" condition, and the lack of deterioration since the last survey in 2015 is also positive. Livestock continue to rub on the stones but have not caused further damage, although there is now an erosion hollow noted at Stone A but the presence of lichen suggests it is not regularly rubbed. Stones C and H have detsablised slightly, but they are not at a significant risk yet. An area of animal digging or poaching to the south of Stone J is also visible. The anthill over Stone J is still present, but does not appear to cause any significant threat. As vegetation is low at the site in winter and spring, the stones were easily located, however, the presence of dead bracken across the site suggests that there is a high level in summer. [9] The site was surveyed as part of an academic research project by Dr Sandy Gerrard in 2018. Surveys were conducted using a prismatic compass and electronic distance device with the plan being generated in the field. [10] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [11]

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Webster, D.. 17/04/1963. Letter.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 6 October 1974.
  • <3> Technical drawing: Probert, S.. 1988. Hoccombe Combe/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. SAJ Probert, 13 December 1988.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1981. 1:10,000, 1981.
  • <6> Report: Quinnell, N.V. and 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.. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.
  • <7> Report: Dray, K.. 2003. A Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Badgworthy Land Company Owned Land, Exmoor. P. 20-21.
  • <8> Report: Slater, E.. 2012. A condition survey of standing stones on Badgworthy Land Company owned land, Exmoor National Park. p11-13.
  • <9>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MDE1256. [Mapped features: #45276 Stone A., MDE1256; #45277 Stone B., MDE1256; #45278 Stone C., MDE1256; #45279 Stone D., MDE1256; #45280 Stone E., MDE1256; #45281 Stone F., MDE1256; #45282 Stone G., MDE1256; #45283 Stone H., MDE1256; #45284 Stone J., MDE1256; #45285 Stone K., MDE1256; #45287 Stone M., MDE1256; #45288 Stone N., MDE1256]
  • <10> Website: Gerrard, S.. 2020. The Stone Rows of Great Britain.
  • <11> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35217, Extant 11 May 2021.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74SE/22
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12284
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20356
  • Local List Status (Candidate)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE6
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35217



Grid reference Centred SS 7866 4442 (58m by 31m) (13 map features)
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Sep 29 2021 1:24PM


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