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Historic England Research Records

Sherdon Barrows

Hob Uid: 34995
Location :
Somerset
West Somerset
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS7932035510
Summary : Two Bronze Age bowl barrows are visible as earthworks on Sherdon. One is a turf and reed covered stony mound 16.5m in diameter and 0.4m high; the other is slightly oval in shape and measures 7.3m by 9.5m and 0.3m high. There are two further mounds nearby measuring 6.2m by 7.3m and 0.4m high and 6.3m by 0.5m high. They have not been definitely identified as two further barrows and their enclosing ditches suggest a post medieval date. It has been suggested that they are associated with the peat drying process.
More information : Four bowl barrows not published by OS:- Exmoor No.20, SS 79193550, is 19 paces diameter and 2 ft high, and has a hollow in the centre. Exmoor Nos. 21a and b, adjoining mounds at SS 79243549. 21a, the NE mound, is 7 paces diameter by 1.5ft. high and is ditched. 21b, the SW mound, is 7 paces diameter by 2.5 ft.high and is also ditched. Exmoor No 22, SS 79413548, is mutilated and was first discovered from A.Ps. It is 11 paces in diameter and 2ft high. (1)

Grinsell's No. 20, at SS 79213554 is a truncated bowl barrow 0.6m high. 22, at SS 79433548, has been almost completely destroyed. A small oval mound 0.6 m high is all that remains though the original extent of the barrow can be traced as a crop mark. Surveyed at 1/2500.

21a and b, at SS 79253552 are both small square mounds enclosed by a slight ditch. They do not seem to be of any great age and may be drying platforms associated with peat digging (2)

Exmoor 20 and 22. Bowl barrows listed, details as Authy 1. Visited by Grinsell 27th Sept 1961 and 23rd April 1962. Known as Sherdon Barrows(together with SS 73 NE 4), and so called in Chase records of 1794 and1819(a).

Exmoor 21a and 21b. Listed as 'doubtful or rejected'. (3)

(SS 79213554) Tumulus (NR)
(SS 79433548) Tumulus (NR) (4)

Grinsell No 20, centred at SS 7921 3554 on open moorland, consists of a truncated, turf & reed-covered stony mound 16.5m in diameter (summit diameter of 13m) and 0.4m high.

A narrow slot has been driven through the south edge and opens out into a rectangular pit, measuring 3.5m by 6.5m and 0.4m deep, to the south of the centre of the mound. This, and the truncated form of the mound are the result of stone robbing activity.

Grinsell No 22, centred at SS 7943 3548 in improved pasture, consists of a turf-covered oval mound measuring 7.3m north-south by 9.5m and 0.3m high. Around the mound is a swathe of disturbed ground which probably corresponds with the "cropmark" mentioned by source 2. This presumably represents the former extent of the barrow, and would have given a diameter of 13.2m.

The possible peat drying platforms, mentioned by source 2, are centred at SS 7925 3552. They consist of a pair of adjacent turf covered mounds enclosed within a shallow ditch. The eastern, flat-topped mound is rectangular, measuring 6.2m by 7.3m and 0.4m high. The western mound is sub-circular and measured 6.3m in diameter and is 0.5m high. The two mounds are separated by a shallow ditch. Both lie within a rectangular area measuring 15.5m by 8.5m and defined by a sharp-sided ditch 1m wide and 0.3m deep. The purpose of the mounds is unclear. The sharpness of the enclosing ditch suggests a Post-Medieval date.

Source 2's classification as peat drying mounds is unfounded. Local information (source 7) states that peat was never dried on mounds or platforms within memory. Source 8 suggests that on Bodmin Moor where similar features have been identified and so classified, the mounds represent peat charcoal production sites. However, there is no known documentary evidence for peat charcoal production on Exmoor. (6-8)

The mounds described above are clearly visible on aerial photographs, although only one small sub-rectangular square (identified as a peat stand) can be seen. It is clearly very different in size and form to the larger barrows at SS 7921 3554 and SS 7943 3548. The mounds lie in an area of extensive peat cutting, and it is possible that the sub-rectangular mound is related to this activity (9).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Somerset barrows, part 1 : west and south
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Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JP 02-SEP-65
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Chase of the Wild Red Deer 1902 (Ed L J Bathurst)221,249 (C P Collyns)
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Source Number : 4
Source : Somerset archaeology and natural history : the proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 17,33
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Vol(s) : 113 (1969)
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 1:10000 1980
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Wilson-North W R 12-OCT-1994 RCHME Field Investigation.
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Information: Stan Curtis, Stable flat, Simonsbath, Somerset. Former Fortescue Estate worker and peat cutter.
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Source Number : 8
Source : Cornish archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : Mar-46
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Vol(s) : 23 (1984)
Source Number : 9
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 543/2821 (F61) 167-68 27-APR-1964
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -700
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Bowl Barrow
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Peat Stand
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33012
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33013
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 34638
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO6799
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 73 NE 5
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1029500
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1487641
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 73 NE 5
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-09-02
End Date : 1965-09-02
Associated Activities : RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01