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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 36181

Hob Uid: 36181
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Cutcombe
Grid Ref : SS8860040500
Summary : Earthworks of a Field system, enclosures, a hut circle and field clearance cairns indicate a settlement of several phases of probable Prehistoric or Roman date. Post medieval field boundaries also present.
More information : Field system(s), a hut circle, a possible hillslope enclosure, a smaller subcircular enclosure and field clearance cairns positioned on gently sloping ground in enclosed moorland on the south facing slope of Codsend Moor. All features are previously unrecorded. Centred at SS 8875 4034.
Archaeological features are visible in three fields, separated by substantial, east-west field boundaries of Post Medieval date. At the time of survey bracken cover was quite thick and coupled with the fragmentary nature of some of the features this made interpretation difficult. This should be noted when reading the following account.
(A) SS 8876 4039. A probable hillslope enclosure divided into two unequal parts by a modern boundary. Its circuit is intermittent, being lost on the south-west side and part of the east side but the remainder is defined by a stoney bank or scarp generally 3 to 5 metres wide (but up to 8 metres wide on the north west) and 0.15 to 0.6 metres high. No trace of original constructional technique remains visible, the perimeter is composed largely of medium and large size local sandstone lumps (c. 0.2 metres diameter and larger) forming a
low, shallow profile. There are no internal features visible and a recent drainage gulley runs north-south through part of the interior, damaging the inner face of the north arc. No entrance can be detected. Reconstruction of the whole circuit would produce a flattened, circular enclosure with an internal area of c. 0.1 hectares(or 45 metres diameter), a figure closely comparable to hillslope enclosures in the immediate area; (Codsend SS 85 SE 25 and Sweetworthy SS 84 SE 49). Topography makes it impossible to gain a overview of the feature, a fact which renders it difficult to be entirely sure
that it is a monument of the proposed class.
(B) SS 8872 4038. Immediately south west of the enclosure a semi-
circular platform has been created in a natural declivity by the
construction of two stoney banks over it: a north one on the crest of
the natural slope and a south, arcing one across the downhill axis of
the declivity. The area "inside" has been artificially levelled, perhaps as a solid stance for a building or as an enclosed, agricultural plot. Around the enclosure in all directions is a complex group of fields covering c. 8.3 hectares. Extensive stripping out on the south west side of the site has made interpretation difficult. There do, however, appear to be three clear elements. Fragments are visible on A.P.s (1).
Group 1. An irregular group to the south of the enclosure forming an approximately triangular shape with the enclosure at the apex. At (C) these fields are well preserved and bordered by stoney banks or scarps 2 to 3.3 metres wide and 0.3 to 0.9 metres high. The spaces within are cleared of surface stone, with field areas of between 0.03 and 0.09 hectares. Around (D) stripping out has resulted in a fragmented pattern, much more difficult to determine. Traces of irregular fields with stoney banks and scarps of lower relief on their boundaries can, however, still be picked out.
Group 2. Predominantly on the margins of the irregular group are two sets of long, strip-like fields defined by narrow rickles of small and medium stone, up to 1 metres wide and 0.3 metres high, with an occasional more substantial stoney bank. The sets are similarly aligned at a bearing of 40 degrees, diagonally across the contours heading north east-south west, situated immediately north east of the enclosure and stretched along the south east margin of the site. A possible third set was noted north west of the enclosure. This particular layout is reminiscent of the field system two kilometres to the west on Codsend Moor (SS 84 SE 37). It is not clear whether these two field types are chronologically distinct. The only hint of a relationship is at (G) where a strip-field bank appears to overlie the hillslope enclosure but the
area is disturbed and the observation tentative. There is certainly some integration of plan, with a strip-field boundary, enclosure bank,and irregular field group boundary following a common alignment from (G). It is likely that the visible remains are in fact a palimpsest of many periods, with purely functional differences echoed in field shape. All field remains are of prehistoric types.
(E) and (F) are two large concentrations of local stone, ranging in size from medium to very large boulders. They are unlikely to be of entirely natural origin and are probably enhanced by field clearance of stone not incorporated in boundaries or other structures. (E) confirms the south limit of the irregular fields and in fact impinges in part on them, suggesting an incomplete and perhaps piecemeal field growth. (F) is a denser concentration of stone deliberately heaped into an irregular "cairn" partly overgrown with rush and sedge and c.0.85 metres high at its south end.
At least 36 field clearance heaps were recorded, the majority lying along the south east margins of the site in a distinctly linear concentration. Most are small, stoney spreads as opposed to true mounds, less than 3 metres diameter and usually no higher than 0.3 metres. They clearly relate to robbing of field banks at an unknown date (but probably for Post-Medieval bank construction) and are often arranged in lines continuing the path of a vanished field boundary.
Group 3. At the south west extremity of the area surveyed, centred SS8860 4014, is the third group of cultivation remains. The modern field in which they lie has been subject to more improvement than the rest of the surveyed area and consequently the features are smoother and contain less visible stone. A series of short, almost parallel lynchets up to 4 metres wide and 0.8 metres high define a series of terraces descending the hillslope. They are clearly mere fragments offormerly more extensive fields and cannot be linked in any meaningful way with groups 1 and 2. A ruined field wall, now a stoney lynchet or low bank 1.6 metres wide and 0.5 metres high, overlies these lynchets and delimits a small, rectangular area in the north east corner of the present field. It is probably a small, Post-Medieval field (pecked line on plan).
Situated on the fringes of field groups 1 and 2 are three further features.
(H) SS 8868 4023. Hut circle of 12.8 metres external and 6.1 to 6.9 metres internal diameter. Its walls now appear as partly grass-grown, rubbley banks or scarps 2.5 to 3.5 metres wide overall, obviously considerably spread. There is no clear entrance gap. The interior is terraced by cutting in upslope to c. 0.35 metres and embankment downslope to c. 0.6 metres. Walls on the east and west sides are c. 0.30 metres high. The hut is not connected to any other feature.
Visible on A.P.s (1, 2).
(J) SS 8871 4047. Small enclosure or hut "circle". In shape this feature is oval, or more properly described as rectangular with rounded corners. It has very loose, rubble walls of small and medium size local sandstone (0.10 to 0.20 metres diameter) c. 2 metres wide and up to 0.6 metres high. There is a clear entrance gap 2 metres wide at the south corner. The interior is cut into the slope to form a more level area and there is a considerable amount of scattered stone within. Overall dimensions are c. 16 metres by 13 metres. It
is difficult to imagine this feature supporting a structure; it seems more akin to a small, walled pound. It is visible on A.P.s (1,2).
(K) SS 8862 4038. An oval mound 9.5 metres north to south by 8.5 metres east to west and 0.3 to 0.8 metres high. It seems to be turf-covered earth and stone, built onto a steep natural slope. The mound is flat topped. Function is uncertain. 200 metres north-west of the main group of features is another
prehistoric boundary, running for 283 metres diagonally across the contours from SS 8857 4064 to SS 8877 4082. It is composed of small and medium sized stones, partly turf-covered, and in several places reduced to a south east facing scarp only. It survives to a height of0.3 to 0.6 metres and width of 2.5 to 3 metres. Marsh to south west and north east now hides its course.
This bank, aligned at an angle of 48 degrees, is probably part of the main group of features, with boundaries of similar alignment. The area of the modern field as a whole has signs of deliberate clearance with occasional patches of cleared stone and some small mounds. It is not apparent when this clearance took place. The following are worthy of note: SX 8867 4062. Rectangular area of concentrated clearance c. 14 metres by 10 metres.
SX 8879 4074. Clearance mound, approximately circular, measuring c. 4 metres in diameter and 0.4 metres high. It is composed of medium and
large size stones with a central depression. This central hole creates the illusion that the feature could be a small hut circle, but it is not considered to be so. The mound is positoned beneath a steep natural slope. SX 8865 4097. Clearance mound 2.7 to 3.3 metres in diameter and 0.25 to 0.5 metres high, composed of medium and large size stones with a central depression. It is situated on a steep natural slope and, like the previous features, has probably been robbed. (3)

Elements of the fragementary field boundaries, enclosures, and hut circle of probable of later prehistoric or Romano-British date can be seen as earthworks on aerial photographs of the 1940s on wards. The earthworks transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme project are concentrated in three areas; SS 88604014, equating to area E above; SS 88704034, part of the triangular enclosure in `Group 1¿ ,area B above; and the hut circle (H above) at circa SS 88714047. The slight difference from the grid references of the above authority probably arise from the greater locational accuracy of the NMP survey.
Enclosure `A¿, at circa SS 88764039, along with much of the further field system described above and the associated cairnfield were not confidently discernible on the aerial photographs available to the survey. (4-8)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : NMR OS/73109 963-4 29-APR-1973
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Source Number : 2
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : NMR MAL 76048 068 14125-JUN-1976
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 PP/ISS 22-OCT-87
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Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/1980 F20 4271-2 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : ENPA 2247-8 ??-???-?1982
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Source Number : 6
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 8840/3 (15856/15) 20-JAN-1998
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Source Number : 7
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 8840/4 (18242/20) 10-FEB-1999
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Source Number : 8
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Pattison, P. & Sainsbury, I.S. 1989 Prehistoric Earthworks on Codsend and Hoar Moors, Somerset. In M. Bowden, D. Mackay & P. Topping Eds. From Cornwall to Caithness, Some Aspects of British Field Archaeology. BAR British Series 209
Page(s) : 79-91
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Source : Codsend Moor Part 3/ink survey
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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 : Hut Circle
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Prehistoric, Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Enclosed Settlement, Enclosure, Field System
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Clearance Cairn, Field Boundary
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 19351
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 19355
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 84 SE 87
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 : 36178
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 36170
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 84 SE 85
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1987-10-22
End Date : 1987-10-22
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01