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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1050181

Hob Uid: 1050181
Location :
Devon
North Devon
North Molton, Brayford
Grid Ref : SS7194536630
Summary : The remains of a bloomery site dating from the Iron Age to the Roman period at Sherracombe Ford. The site has evidence of slag heaps, furnaces and buildings. Of the three slag heaps the largest measures 50m long by 20m and is about 4m high. As the site has been classified as an early tap slag bloomery it is considered to be rare in this area.
More information : SS 7200 3665 The remains of an iron smelting site, or bloomery, evidenced by slag heaps, working platforms and building stances all situated along the northern bank of the stream at Sherracombe Ford.

There are three slag heaps, all turf covered but showing clear evidence of slag. The main heap, about 50m long NE/SW by 20m and about 4m high, is to the immediate north of the track at about SS 7197 3663. To the south of the track at SS 7193 3662 is a probable extension of the main heap about the same size and further east some 150m up the stream at SS 7208 3667 is another slightly smaller one. The access to the site from Sherracombe Lane, ie the old Sherracombe Ford, has been built over by an embankment and the stream culverted.

Centred about SS 7199 3668 and running up the northern slope is a long narrow wet gulley which is densely overgrown. A stream issues from its lower end. On first appearances it is reminiscent of a costean trench, a linear openwork or collapsed adit but there is no associated spoil heap at the lower end to support this assumption so it is probably a natural spring.

There are about five small levelled areas, each about 15m square, three centred about SS 7193 3664 and two about SS 7205 3669, which could be openworkings but are more probably stances for buildings. A smaller platform area up the slope about SS 7191 3668 appears to be formed by small trial pit with its spoil on the lower side.

Claughton(a) suggests the site is an early tap slag bloomery and reports that dowsing on the site, which highlighted sites of buildings, suggested 15th century date. Claughton says the site could date from any period from early to late medieval but is probably 15/16th century. There are not enough workings on this site to support the amount of slag and it has been suggested that the ore may come from the "Roman" workings at Burcombe some 3.5km to the NE as there is no trace of slag there, but as yet there is no definite proof to support this.

Note: This site is extremely important due to the sparsity of other bloomery sites on Exmoor. The NGRs given are provisional only and are based on a 1:10000 sketch transferred to the 1889 Ordnance Survey 1:2500 enhanced with superimposed grid for clarification. (1)

Surveyed at 1:1000 scale, March 1996. (2)

A sample taken from one of the slag heaps close to the track has provided a Radiocarbon date of 160BC - 90AD. (3)
Dating from the Iron Age to the Roman period at Sherracombe Ford. The site has evidence of slag heaps, furnaces and buildings. Of the three slag heaps the largest measures 50m long by 20m and is about 4m high. As the site has been classified as an early tap slag bloomery it is considered to be rare in this area. (4)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Sainsbury IS 12-OCT-1995 RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 1a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Claughton P (Pers Com) 19-OCT-1995 Engineer and Industrial Historian Pembrokeshire Dyfed
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : I SAINSBURY & R WILSON-NORTH MARCH 1996 RCHME FIELD INVESTIGATION
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : G Juleff 1997 Earlier Iron-working on Exmoor (Exmoor Nat Park and NT)
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Source Number : 4
Source : English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Industrial Monuments Assessment, Step 3 Reports
Source details : MPP Iron and Steel Industries: STEP 3, Site Assessments
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Source : Sherracombe/ink survey
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Source : Sherracombe/pencil survey
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age and Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Bloomery, Slag Heap, Furnace, Building Platform
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 34184
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : NMR/18335/12
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MDE13172
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 73 NW 41
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31