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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 36170

Hob Uid: 36170
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Cutcombe, Exford
Grid Ref : SS8656040610
Summary : A somewhat fragmentary group of small irregular fields or enclosures, prominent lynchets and numerous field clearance cairns, of possible prehistoric date have been recorded on Hoar and Codsend Moors and are partially visible on aerial photographs. The field boundaries are in places overlain by substantial post-medieval field boundaries, and it is possible some of the clearance cairns are related to this phase of enclosure.
More information : Fragmentary group of small, irregular fields, prominent lynchets and numerous field clearance cairns situated on a south facing slope on Codsend and Hoar Moors. Centred SS 8654 4060 and previously recorded under SS 84 SE 37.
This group of features is of very different character to those situated 300 metres further east (SS 84 SE 37) and obviously relate to a different period of activity. They are contained in parts of three Post-Medieval enclosed fields all of which have massive, tree-topped hedge banks which, together with field drains, cut across the earlier archaeological features. Most of the remains lie in an east field under rough grass and bracken, with several lynchets continuing into a west field under heather. A south west field contains, in good managed grassland, the low, smooth scarps of more stripped-out field boundaries.
There are three main types of feature extant:
(i) Fragmentary field boundaries. Some are low, stoney banks 1 to 2.6 metres wide and 0.15 to 0.40 metres high but these are the better preserved elements among generally slighter, stoney scarps and intermittent stoney lines, the robbed remains of former boundaries.
All but one occupies the south part of the site, providing a glimpse of a small collection of sub-rectangular and irregular fields. At (X) is a slight linear depression, possibly a trackway, 4 metres wide and 0.3metres deep. It appears to be later than the adjacent field.
(ii) Prominent lynchets, four or possibly five, which run along the contours. These are bold features, south-facing, 2 to 8 metres long and up to 2.5 metres high. All are approximately parallel and have smooth profiles indicative of over-ploughing. They do not form recognizable smooth terraces or fields and could be quite distinct from (i).
(iii) Field clearance cairns. In addition to an overall scattering of stones are some thirty-eight constructed clearance mounds. The majority are concentrated centrally around three of the contour lynchets, though there are several to the south and east. Most are near circular or oval in plan, ranging in size from c. 2 metres to 14 metres in diameter and of low relief, i.e. 0.10 to 0.70 metres high. An average is c. 5 metres diameter and 0.3 metres high. Nearly all have only slight outer scarps giving way to flat or slightly domed tops; pitting is frequent and indeed two appear as stoney rings, attesting robbing of their constituent material. Stone size is from small to medium (0.10 to 0.20 metres diameter) with occasional larger blocks. There are five instances of clearance cairns positioned on lynchet slopes, strongly suggesting placement long after lynchet formation. Taken with the recorded poor state of the field boundaries in the feature group this hints that many of the clearance cairns may relate to removal of stone from the boundaries rather than picking for and during arable farming. Consequently, many could be Post-Medieval in date.
Other features recorded are:
Two small upright stones (Y) of triangular outline, 0.40 and 0.50 metres high above ground, set 2.5 metres apart at SS 8664 4065. They are possibly small orthostats from a vanished field boundary, or perhaps a field entrance. Three low, turf mounds, all c. 2 metres diameter and up to 0.35 metres high. Possibly turf-covered field clearance cairns or mounds from tree extraction. All are indicated on field drawings by (t).
Dating of the fields is difficult given the lack of data and poor state of preservation. However, the small, irregular fields occupying the south part of the site would fit best into a prehistoric context.
Their precise relationship to the contour lynchets is not clear.
Nothing of relevance is depicted on the Exford Tithe Map of 1840. (1)

A number of the field boundaries and lynchets described by the above authority are visible as fragmentary earthwork banks on aerial photographs of the 1970s onwards. The features were transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme survey.
The clearance cairns could not be identified during the aerial survey, but a possible additional boundary bank was recorded at circa SS 86564053, possibly delineating a north to south trackway up to 12 metres wide. The aerial survey evidence may also support a reinterpretation some of the fragmentary field earthworks described above, centred on circa SS 86484047, as a possible small hillslope enclosure approximately 45 metres by 30 metres in size, or circa 0.1 hectares in area. This is comparable to the circular enclosure some 450 metres to the north-east, or the smaller Sweetworthy enclosures. (3-4)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 PP 29-SEP-87
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Source Number : 2
Source : Codsend Moor Part 1/ink survey
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Source Number : 3
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/73109 967-8 29-APR-1973
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Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : ENPA 2245-6 ??-???-1982
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Prehistoric, Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Field System, Lynchet, Subrectangular Enclosure
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Clearance Cairn
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33533
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 84 SE 84
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 36065
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 974507
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 974503
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 36181
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 36178
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 36193
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 84 SE 82
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1987-09-29
End Date : 1987-09-29
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01