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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 895579

Hob Uid: 895579
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS7456943134
Summary : A large circular sheepfold, north east of Hoar Oak Hill is visible as a substantial earthwork. The monument takes the form of an enclosure of 18m width within a turf bank of 3m wide and c. 1metre high. The turf originates from a surrounding external ditch. The monument also has a causewayed entrance on the north west side. Robert Little, a shepherd from Dumfries-shire employed by Frederic Knight in the mid-19th century, mentions the construction of circular sheep stells as an inexpensive method of farming sheep in his notebooks, and it seems likely that he introduced this particular technique to Exmoor.
More information : For details see county SMR (1).

SS7457 4313. A sheepfold shown and annotated 'Sheepfold' on the 1890 Ordnance Survey map(a). It is set on a slight shelf, about 360m above OD, on a northeast-facing slope in an area of rough grass and bracken. It is 18m in diameter within a turf bank 3m wide and up to 1.1m high. The turf has come from a surrounding external ditch about 2m wide and 0.5m deep. There is a causewayed entrance about 1m wide in the northwest.
It is reminiscent of sheep stells in the Scottish Borders and probably dates from the late 19th century when it was introduced to the moor by the Scottish shepherds brought in by Frederick Knight.
Published Survey 1:2500 accepted. (2)

The circular sheepfold, as described above, is clearly visible on aerial photographs. According to Burton, Robert Little, a shepherd from Dumfries-shire employed by Frederic Knight in the mid-19th century, mentions the construction of circular sheep stells as an inexpensive method of farming sheep in his notebook in 1879. It seems likely that he introduced this particular technique to Exmoor, perhaps as a direct result of the adverse weather conditions in 1878, in which many sheep were lost on Exmoor (3-4).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Somerset CC SMR 29 SEP 1986
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Sainsbury I S 16-SEP-1994 RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 3
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1501 3221-22 13-MAY-1946
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Source Number : 4
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Burton, R 1989 "The Heritage of Exmoor" Tiverton, Maslands Ltd page(s) 119-120
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Shown on 1890 map
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Sheep Fold
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33107
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO6989
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 SW 79
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01