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HER Number:MDV37439
Name:Complex of rectilinear enclosures south of Alphington


Several rectilinear and curvilinear cropmarks are visible on aerial photographs taken between 1963 and 1995. The two most prominent resemble Iron Age or Roman ditched enclosures with possible entrances and internal features. A possible large conjoined enclosure to the north-west is also visible, and aditional cropmarks suggest internal subdivisions.


Grid Reference:SX 915 891
Map Sheet:SX98NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishExminster
Ecclesiastical ParishEXMINSTER

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Prehistoric settlement and cemetery complex and former mill remains, north west of Waybrook Cottages

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1046355
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX98NW/125
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Early Iron Age to Roman - 700 BC to 409 AD)

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1963, RAF/543/2332, RAF/543/2332 2F21 0103-0104 26-Jul-1963 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354847.

A complex of curvilinear and rectilinear cropmarks is visible.

Griffith, F. M., 1986, DAP/GD, 11 (Aerial Photograph). SDV336141.

Parts of several intercutting rectilinear enclosures with the corner of another to the north recorded as a cropmark in 1986. Site lies to the east of the A30 road between Warkham Lane to the north and Waybrook Lane to the south.

Griffith, F. M., 1987, DAP/JC, 9-10 (Aerial Photograph). SDV340967.

Robinson, R., 1987 - 2000, Devon Post-Reconnaissance Fieldwork Project (Un-published). SDV342165.

Site visited on 10th February 1989. Main enclosure lies in slight terrace in a gentle south-east slope. Ridge on south-west side may be feature of new road construction. Other details: Photograph J33.

Griffith, F. M., 1989, DAP/LV, 4,7 (Aerial Photograph). SDV286382.

Devon County Council, 1992, DAP 14404, DAP 14404/16-19 26-JUN-1992 (VE) (Aerial Photograph). SDV358593.

Dark rectilinear cropmarks are visible.

Horner, B., 1992, DAP/VE, 16-19 (Aerial Photograph). SDV122367.

Griffith, F. M., 1995, DAP/XU, 11-12,15 (Aerial Photograph). SDV319230.

Tyler, K., 2009, Archaeological Excavation at Matford Barton, Exminster, 1 (Report - Excavation). SDV343380.

Prehistoric rectilinear enclosure to the west of Matford Barton.

Hughes, S. + Valentin, J., 2010, Land Southwest of Exeter Development Masterplan Area. Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Assessment, Fieldwalking and Geophysical Survey, Table 2, Appendix 4 (Report - Assessment). SDV347868.

Targeted geophysical survey undertaken as part of an archaeological and cultural heritage assessment of land to the south-west of Exeter recorded a series of small rectangular enclosures along the western boundary of Plot 12. Two feature groups, M and N, may be of interest as they appear to depict a round enclosure within a rectilineal structure. This is reminiscent of known Romano British temple sites.

Bampton, J. + Walls, S., 2013, Land Adjacent to Waybrook Cottages, Alphington, Devon: Results of an Archaeological Evaluation (Report - Evaluation). SDV352660.

Despite the potential for prehistoric features and deposits on the site based on the findspot and earthworks to the north and north-east of the site no archaeological features or finds of that date were identified. Ditch terminus [605] is the only feature that cannot be dismissed by characterisation or finds as a modern feature or land drain. However it is running towards the southern end of the site, which was heavily disturbed and made up from the 1970’s during the construction of the A30, and is parallel to part of a removed field boundary shown on historic maps.
The evaluation was located just to the south of Waybrook Lane, and south of the rectilinear enclosures identified from cropmarks.

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2014-2015, East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV356883.

Several conjoined rectilinear and curvilinear cropmarks, ranging in width from less than a metre to 3.5 metres, are visible on aerial photographs taken between 1963 and 1995. The two most prominent are widest and similar in size at 55-60 metres by 40-54 metres in maximum visible extent, with a possible gap in the north-east side. These are located next to the A30, which appears to have impacted the south-west side of both. In form they resemble ditched enclosures of Iron Age or Roman date with possible entrances on the north-west side, and the southernmost may encompass an internal curvilinear ditched feature circa 35 metres across, visible as a narrow cropmark. North-west of these features a narrow rectilinear cropmark may indicate the enclosure of a larger area circa 75 by 105 metres in size with possible double ditch on the south-east side. Additional linear cropmarks within this complex seem to subdivide the land into rectilinear compartments.
Many of the aerial photographs consulted during the survey are copies of DAPs held by the Historic England Archive. These have been recorded here as additional separate sources because there is a possibility that the prints may have been processed differently. This would potentially result in images on which archaeological features show slightly differently.

Sheldon, C.D., 2018, Drone Images of Linear Cropmarks South of Alphington, Exeter (Aerial Photograph). SDV364647.

Drone images taken in 2018 reveal linear crop marks some of which make up parts of two square enclosures, visible to the south. A double ditched large square enclosure with internal divisions is also visible.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV122367Aerial Photograph: Horner, B.. 1992. DAP/VE. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 16-19.
SDV286382Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1989. DAP/LV. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4,7.
SDV319230Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1995. DAP/XU. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 11-12,15.
SDV336141Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1986. DAP/GD. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 11.
SDV340967Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1987. DAP/JC. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 9-10.
SDV342165Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1987 - 2000. Devon Post-Reconnaissance Fieldwork Project. Devon Post-Reconnaissance Fieldwork Project. A4 Unbound.
SDV343380Report - Excavation: Tyler, K.. 2009. Archaeological Excavation at Matford Barton, Exminster. Exeter Archaeology Report. 09.37. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1.
SDV347868Report - Assessment: Hughes, S. + Valentin, J.. 2010. Land Southwest of Exeter Development Masterplan Area. Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Assessment, Fieldwalking and Geophysical Survey. AC Archaeology Report. ACD114/2/0. Digital + A4. Table 2, Appendix 4.
SDV352660Report - Evaluation: Bampton, J. + Walls, S.. 2013. Land Adjacent to Waybrook Cottages, Alphington, Devon: Results of an Archaeological Evaluation. Southwest Archaeology Report. 130912. A4 Spiral Bound + Digital.
SDV354847Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1963. RAF/543/2332. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/543/2332 2F21 0103-0104 26-Jul-1963. [Mapped feature: #89507 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV358593Aerial Photograph: Devon County Council. 1992. DAP 14404. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). DAP 14404/16-19 26-JUN-1992 (VE).

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4558 - Excavation at Matford Barton, Exminster
  • EDV6530 - The East and Mid-Devon Rivers Catchment NMP project (Ref: ACD613)
  • EDV5326 - Assessment, Fieldwalking and Geophysical Survey of Land to the south-west of Exeter

Date Last Edited:Apr 1 2022 12:04PM