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Historic England Research Records

Lanacombe 1

Hob Uid: 867254
Location :
Somerset
West Somerset
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS7800042500
Summary : A stone setting of 13 stones forming either a double row, or quadrilateral arrangements. It has been suggested that there may be two cairns at the north-western end of the setting.
More information : SX 78114276 Standing stone.

Group of 10 stones marked by H.St.G Gray at SS 7822 4272. (1)

Mentioned. (2)

Lanacoombe I

A setting of thirteen stones, eleven upright and two fallen or displaced. This is a complex monument which is difficult to understand as a geometric arrangement through surface evidence alone. It could be a double row: D-H-K / F+E - I-L and an elongated diamond: A-C-D-B. G and J could form another quadrilateral with F+E and I. This, however, is pure speculation and it begs a number of questions; is the pattern intentional or are the surviving remains incomplete? It is possible also that this is a multi-phase monument, with stones added at different times.

The longest axis is A-L measuring 42m and aligned NW to SE, while G-H is the greatest transverse axis, measuring 18m.

Lanacoombe IV sits on a very slight, SE - facing slope on a tongue of land under lush grass and rush a little elevated above the surrounding area of coarse grass. It is well below the crest of Lanacoombe and overlooks the steeper fall into the valley between it and Trout Hill. There are fine views up and down the valley from N to SW but it is blind to the W and NW.

The area occupied by the setting is covered by small, scattered surface stone. This is possibly because of thin soil cover.

All the stones appear to be of local, sedimentary sandstones of the Hangman Grits series.

The E face of stone H and the NE face of stone L are both inscribed with the letters "TD" in C18th-C19th lettering. Stone L has developed a pronounced lean since the inscription was cut. The significance of the letters is not known for certain but it may be connected with a prominent Exmoor family called Darch. Once Thomas Darch held a moeity of the former Royal Forset in the mid-C18th and the family itself received all the freehold tithes of the forest until about 1790 (2). It may be that the two inscribed stones facing to the E. mark the onset of Darch territory.

5m ENE of stone H is a subcircular cairn of small stones, (SS 74 SE 93). Stone L is also partly surounded by what appears to be a disturbed stone cairn, (SS 74 SE 94), but whether the disturbance is modern or caused by the insertion of the stone is not clear; indeed the stone and the cairn may once have formed an entity. The large size of stone L is unususal both within this setting and in others: taken together with the inscription on it this might imply a totally late date for the stone itself.

Lanacoombe I is one of four stone settings along the same valley side, 330 m ENE is Lanancoombe III (SS 74 SE 51) and 660m NE is Lanacoombe IV (SS 74 SE 88). All are orientated WNW to ESE (or NW-SE, a fact which might have major implications for their date, functions and inter-relationships. Only Lanacoombe IV is not visible from the present site.

A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. (3)

A linear setting occupying a slight knoll protruding on the south-facing flank of Lanacombe. The ground surface is characterised by spreads of surface stone and amorphous hollows which may be the result of stone robbing, perhaps associated with the construction of the enclosure to the south (SS 74 SE 73).

The setting was surveyed by RCHME in 1988 at 1:100 scale. Since then suggested amendments have been received (4a), namely two cairns at the north-western end of the setting. These were found to be natural, and no more than further instances of natural clitter. The suggestion (4a) that the setting represents a former settlement of Neolithic date is completely unfounded and is not borne out in the slightest by the archaeological evidence.

Surveyed at 1:2500 scale. (4, 4a)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Somerset CC SMR, H St Gray, pers OS 6" sheet annotated from fieldwork showing 10 stones (33 SW 1905).
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Source Number : 2
Source : The history of the Forest of Exmoor
Source details :
Page(s) : 402
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : RCHME Field Investigation, 07-DEC-1988, P Pattison.
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Wilson-North W R 06-JUL-1994 RCHME Field Investigation.
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Source Number : 4a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Martin Walker, suggested amendments received at RCHME Exeter.
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Source : Lanacombe, SS 74 SE 49-51, 73, 88, 92-94, 105-106, 108, 122/ink survey
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Source : Lithic monuments within the Exmoor National Park: a new survey for management purposes
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Later Prehistoric
Display Date : Later Prehistoric
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -4000
Monument Type : Stone Setting, Stone Alignment, Cairn
Evidence : Structure, Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33112
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 35315
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 25201
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 SE 49
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 74 SE 49
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1988-12-07
End Date : 1988-12-07
Associated Activities : RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : LANACOMBE I & IV
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31