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Historic England Research Records

Wester Shircombe

Hob Uid: 1051976
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Withypool and Hawkridge
Grid Ref : SS8429031000
Summary : The possible deserted farmstead of Wester Shircombe is not mentioned in the Lay Subsidy of 1325 but on a later lease of 1775. Field investigation and air photographs of this field revealed it to be covered in a number of rectangular field boundaries. Underlying these is a system of curving ridges. They may represent a system of strip cultivation and their curving shape may indicate a medieval rather than later date.
More information : Centred at SS 8430 3100, between Cloggs Farm and Shircombe Farm, on the northern side of Danes Brook is a rectangular field called Wester Shircombe, which extends to 16.5 hectares.
The site is not mentioned in the Lay Subsidy of 1325, but a lease of 1775 refers to a messuage called West Shercomb. By 1840 the field is shown as it is now and is listed separately from the other farms. The field has been improved since the 1960s but air photography show it to be covered in a number of rectangular field boundaries. Underlying these is a system of curving ridges running on a north-south alignment up and down the valley sides. These features are barely traceable on the ground but where they are visible appear to be some 20m apart and curve distinctly at the downslope end. They may represent a system of strip cultivation and their curving ends would imply a medieval rather than later date. The fact that these ridges cover most of the field makes the whereabouts of Wester Shircombe farmstead problematic. (1,2)

Earthwork remains of relict field boundaries which appear to overlie the remains of strip fields, the banks of which are visible as low earthworks aligned NNE-SSW running down the slope. Within these strip fields traces of ridge and furrow is visible on two vertical photos - CPE.UK.2082.3040-3041. The site slopes southwards, the gradient gradually increasing down slope, then suddenly drops at a long linear banked boundary which runs across the slope for the length of the field. To the south west is a short length of hollow way or track leading into the strip fields from a bridge over the brook. To the south east of the survey area there are several linear banks, probably lynchets with fragments of perpendicular banks.

A 1:2500 scale level 3 photogrammetric survey was carried out on the field known as Wester Shircombe situated on the southern edge of Exmoor.

Copies of the plan, digital files and accompanying report are held by RCHME (Collection 1031546). (3-7)

The earthwork remains of relict field boundaries of probable post-medieval date are visible on aerial photographs, dividing the field known as Wester Shircombe into 5 or 6 smaller sub-rectangular fields along a north-west to south-east axis. The banks overlie, and appear to be based upon, a system of almost completely levelled curvilinear strip field boundary banks, orientated roughly NNE-SSW. The strip field banks are spaced at intervals of between 20 and 25 metres. As described by the above authority, traces of ridge and furrow can be seen within a number of the strip fields, most clearly at circa SS 84153097, SS 84243094 and SS 84223110.
Subtle earthwork remains extending northwards from Wester Shircombe may indicate that the strip fields were previously much more extensive in this area.
The earthworks appear to have been levelled by 1972, although they can still in evidence as cropmarks. (8-11)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Wilson-North WR 20-JUL-1995
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Source Number : 2
Source : Lyshwell and Shircombe: Deserted Farmsteads and Field Systems
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Source Number : 11
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR MAL 76068 044-5 04-AUG-1976
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Fiona Small/14-NOV-1995/ RCHME: Wester Shircombe Project
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Source Number : 4
Source : North Lyshwell/ink survey
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Source Number : 5
Source : Wester Shircombe/ink AP transcription
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Source Number : 6
Source : Wester Shircombe/pencil AP transcription
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Source Number : 7
Source : Wester Shircombe
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Source Number : 8
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 106G/UK/1420 (F20) 3458-9 15-APR-1946
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Source Number : 9
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR CPE/UK/2082 (F20) 3040-1 19-MAY-1947
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Source Number : 10
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/72314 377-8 16-AUG-1972
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Field System, Strip Field, Ridge And Furrow
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Field System, Farmstead
Evidence : Earthwork, Documentary Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 34306
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO8744
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 83 SW 36
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
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: WESTER SHIRCOMBE PROJECT
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1995-11-03
End Date : 1995-11-14
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01