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Historic England Research Records

Sweetworthy

Hob Uid: 35980
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Luccombe
Grid Ref : SS8905042530
Summary : The well preserved earthwork remains of an Iron Age hillslope enclosure known as Sweetworth comprised of a bank and external ditch in an irregular circle. It encloses approximately 0.3 hectares and is broken by a possibly original entrance on the north-west side. Part of the ditch has been modified by a 19th century leat and there are also some probable stone revetments. It is not truly defensive and although there is a lack of occupation evidence this should not be taken to indicate that there was no settlement here. The hillfort had previously been interpreted as a Medieval moated manor site. Two stoney mounds nearby are probably three throws.
More information : (SS 89064254) Camp (NR) (1)

Earthwork at Sweetworthy listed by VCH as a homestead moat. Scheduledby MOW as a Miscellaneous Earthwork. (2) & (3)

The earthwork at Sweetworthy is situated on a large natural terrace ont he north side of Dunkery Hill. It consists for the most part of an
irregularly circular bank and ditch. In the S. a 30 metre break was
probably made when a nearby boundary wall was constructed. A gap in
the NW. seems original and a modern causeway crosses the ditch on the
W. The interior has been levelled to form a platform but whether this is original is not certain.
The earthwork is not truly defensive and is without doubt an Iron Age
hill-slope enclosure of the same type as Trendle Ring (ST 13 NW 3).
Surveyed at 1/2500. (4)

Now scheduled under `Settlements and Moated Sites'. (5)

SS 890425. Iron Age hill-slope enclosure at Sweetworthy. Description as Authy 4 although Burrow adds that the ditch to the south has been re-cut for drainage purposes (6).

Grinsell mentions that Rainbird Clarke (in the late 1930's) noted a ring of stones about 15ft diameter east of the centre of the earthwork, but he says this seems a bit small to have been a hut site (7).

Two further earthworks are visible on an air photograph to the south
(SS 84 SE 49) (8, 9).

(SS 89064254) Settlement (NR) (10)

Additional Bibliography. (11)

This univallate earthwork formed by a bank with outer ditch enclosing a sub-circular area about 62 metres east to west by 50 metres transversely, some 0.3 hectares (0.75 acres) is situated about 335 metres O.D. on gentle north facing slopes of improved pastureland between Aller/Combe, 200 metres to the east and Sweetworthy Combe about 600 metres to the west. Deciduous trees and scrub formerly covered the site quite densely but only four trees and slight scrub now remain. The stumps at hollows of cleared trees can be seen in several places but they appear to have done little overall damage.
The predominantly earthen bank varies in dimensions but where best preserved in the north, it is about 9 metres in maximum width with inner scarp 0.5 metres high and outer scarp 3 metres high. Some 30 metres of the bank and ditch have been destroyed by a post medieval boundary wall (a), topped with beech trees, which cuts across the south east arc of the enclosure. There is also a small mutilation (b) probably made for drainage, in the north north east. The ditch, apart from the mutilation in the south east, is generally
well preserved averaging about 7 metres in width and 1.2 metres in depth on the west and south sides, though a modern track (c) has utilised and slightly deepened the bottom of the ditch on the east side. Around the downhill northern side the ditch is practically non-existent, suggesting that the bank was the important feature. The ditch has been blocked at a later period by an earthen dam (d) being built across it in the south west. It has apparently been stone revetted on the east side and measures some 12 metres in length and is about 9.5 metres maximum width, and still stands to a maximum height
of 1.7 metres. Its stone built sluice (e), 2.3 metres long 0.4 metres wide and 1 metres high internally, is still in situ set into the inner south east face of the dam. The reservoir (f) thus formed, about 45 metres long, 9 metres wide and 1.6 metres deep, was fed by a leat (g) from the south east and drained to the north west below the dam where there are still slight traces of the leat (h) continuing. This leat is destroyed in the south east by the post medieval wall so the dam complex must pre-date it. From the dam a low stoney bank (i), 3
metres wide and 0.6 metres maximum height, ran along the top of the main rampart to the east for some 35 metres to 45 metres before terminating. This along with probable deepening of the ditch to the south would have helped retain a greater capacity of water. What at first glance appears to be an outer stoney bank (j) along the outer lip of the ditch in the east is almost certainly the remains of a wall (probably contemporary with that which has destroyed the south east enclosure) and the original boundary of Allercombe Wood. As it curves around to the north it peters out, possible destroyed when this section of the wood was replanted and is now replaced by a modern fence. Its junction to the south has been obliterated by the tracks.
The entrance to the enclosure is undoubtedly in the north-west where there is a break (k) in the rampart some 5 metres wide with opposing causeway across the ditch, though this is now much reduced and the north side of it has virtually disappeared. The gently sloping interior of the enclosure shows slight suggestions of possible levelling. For example, a quite prominent scarp (l) 4.5 metres wide 1.2 metres high curving around the north east, but there
is no clear evidence for any occupation. On the slope in the south west there is an oval mound (m), 8 metres north west-south east by 4 metres transversely and 1.3 metres maximum height, of unconsolidated surface stones. It does not appear to be a clearance heap, quarry debris or a hut stance. Some 13 metres to its north east, nearer the centre is another roughly oval slightly stony mound (n) 4.2 metres by 3.5 metres and 0.3 metres maximum height with a near central hollow. This is probably what Clarke (7) noticed. It is not a hut site but almost certainly an old tree hole.
As stated by Authority 4 the site is not truly defensive but is undoubtedly Iron Age in character and a lack of definite evidence of occupation should not prevent it being classifed as a Settlement. (For similar earthworks nearby see SS 84 SE 30 and 49.) (N.B. Lower case letters 1 - m in the above text refer to the 1:1000 plan of 15.07.87.) (12)

This enclosure was located using GPS and discussed in its archaeological landscape context as part of the RCHME Exmoor project; full details in report (13).

The well preserved earthwork remains of a prehistoric hillslope enclosure, known as Sweetworthy, have been recorded and transcribed as part of the wider landscape of Exmoor from aerial photographs, as part of the Exmoor National Mapping Programme survey.
As described above the enclosure is enclosed by a bank and external ditch, broken by a possibly original entrance on the north-west side. (14-16)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962
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Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history Somerset, volume two
Source details :
Page(s) : 521
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2, 1911
Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Earthworks of England 1908 (A H Allcroft)
Page(s) : 137
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Source Number : 12
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 ISS 15-JUL-87
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Source Number : 13
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Riley H 1997 The prehistoric enclosures and medieval and post medieval settlements at Bagley and Sweetworthy, Luccombe, Somerset (RCHME survey report)
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Source Number : 14
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 8842/32 (18017/01) 19-MAY-1998
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Source Number : 15
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 8942/6 (15431/07) 15-MAY-1996
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Source Number : 16
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 8842/40 (23826/25) 19-FEB-2005
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Source : Sweetworthy/ink survey
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Source : Enclosure at SS 84 SE 12/ink survey
Source details :
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Source : Bagley and Sweetworthy
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : List Anc Mon Eng & Wales 1961 84 (MOW)
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JP 24-JUN-65
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Source Number : 5
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : DOE (IAM) List 12 1971
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Source Number : 6
Source : Hillfort and hill-top settlement in Somerset in the first to eighth centuries A.D.
Source details :
Page(s) : 257
Figs. :
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Vol(s) : 91
Source Number : 7
Source : The archaeology of Exmoor : Bideford Bay to Bridgwater
Source details :
Page(s) : 79,85
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Vol(s) : 79, 1970
Source Number : 8
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : (West AP No 27534)
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Source Number : 9
Source : Somerset archaeology and natural history : the proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society
Source details : (M Aston)
Page(s) : 83,94
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Vol(s) : 127, 1983
Source Number : 10
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:10000 1978
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Ditched Enclosure, Enclosed Settlement, Sub Circular Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : SO 211
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 24028
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO7333
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33679
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 99/01248
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 84 SE 12
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 36099
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1473440
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 36096
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 84 SE 12
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-06-24
End Date : 1965-06-24
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 84 SE 12
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1987-07-15
End Date : 1987-07-15
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01