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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 36851

Hob Uid: 36851
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Dunster
Grid Ref : SS9829043650
Summary : The remains of a univallate hillfort, thought to be of Iron Age date, on Grabbist Hill. The hillfort is ovate in plan and is believed to be unfinished. It is defined on the north side by an earthen bank which decreases in height towards the eastern end. The western side is defined by a ditch with a counterscarp bank. The southern side of the hill is almost precipitous and there are no defensive works visible in this area. A gap in the earthworks at the western end of the hillfort is believed to be an original entrance. A later field boundary extends around much of the inner edge of the hillfort, and may be associated with an area of medieval or post medieval cultivation represented by traces of ridge and furrow within the enclosure.
More information : [SS 9835 4371] Earthwork [NR] (1)

No further information.(2)

Although situated at the end of a steep sided, narrow ridge, this feature is not a defensive earthwork and it does not appear to be prehistoric. In spite of a slight bank and shallow outer ditch at its western end it looks like a lynchet. Traces of narrow rig and furrow on the ridge above it suggest that it may be the lyncheted boundary to an area of cultivation, and may be of late Medieval origin. (3)

The site appears to be an unfinished defensive enclosure. On the North and West sides are a double bank and ditch, the bank being 3.0m above the ditch base, at its highest. These peter-out to the east, but a small bank, 0.5m high remains completing the circuit on the North side. The Southern side of the hill is almost precipitous and there are no defensive works there. The area enclosed is ovate, c.200m x 100m. Possible earthworks seen on APs to the North have been ploughed out. (4)

The enclosure on Grabbist Hill is centred at SS 9830 4367. It lies on the southeastern edge of the hill at 170m OD, commanding views over Dunster to the enclosures on Gallox Hill. The site was surveyed at a scale of 1:1000 using GPS and EDM as part of the RCHME Exmoor Project. The enclosure is ovoid in plan and measures 270 x 67 m. No defences are present on the southern edge, where the land falls away steeply to the base of the "Giant's Chair", a natural feature formed by land slippage. The earthworks are strongest at the northeastern corner, where a ditch and counterscarp bank run for some 70m. A possible inner rampart has been disturbed by a later field boundary which runs around the inner edge of most of the enclosure. The ditch here is 2.2m deep and the overall width of the defences is 10m. The break where the modern track enters the enclosure may be an original entrance.

Most of the northern edge of the enclosure is defined by a single scarp 1.3-1.9m high. A quarry scarp is also discernible behind this scarp. The field bank mentioned above links the northern edge with a scarp which cuts off the eastern edge of the spur. Narrow ridging covers the southeastern part of the interior and a length of field bank runs north-south for 30m to the west of this. The site lies in fairly open deciduous woodland.

The nature and scale of the earthworks, combined with their location both topographically and in their proximity to the enclosures on Gallox Hill, suggest that the site is an Iron Age defended enclosure. Cultivation has taken place on the site; this probably occurred in the medieval or post medieval period, although no map evidence for this was found (5).

SS 98304367. Earthwork remains of an unfinished univallate hillfort on Grabbist Hill. Scheduled. (5-8)

The earthwork of the univallate Hillfort on Grabbist Hill as described above is clearly visible on aerial photographs examined as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme project in 2008 (9-10).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962
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Source Number : 2
Source : Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Object Name Book reference
Source details : Rev ONB 1902 29
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 GHP 16-JUN-65
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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 : (Dennison E)
Page(s) : 45-6
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Vol(s) : 130, 1986
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Riley H 1998 RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 6
Source : Grabbist Hill/ink survey
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Source Number : 7
Source : Grabbist Hill/pencil survey
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Source Number : 8
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 11-Aug-03
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Source Number : 9
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/79013 244-45 17-APR-1979
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Source Number : 10
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 9843/5 (NMR 23825/03) 19-FEB-2005
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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 : Univallate Hillfort
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Ridge And Furrow, Field Boundary, Field System
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Ridge And Furrow, Field Boundary, Field System
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33567
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 35598
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO9408
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 1184168
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 1184265
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 94 SE 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 94 SE 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-06-16
End Date : 1965-06-16
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01