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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 36281

Hob Uid: 36281
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Porlock
Grid Ref : SS8336043780
Summary : A prehistoric stone setting; comprising two rows of three stones. Some appear to have been used as rubbing posts. They range in height from 0.1m to 0.5m.
More information : The OS 6" 1962 shows a group of stones at SS 83364378 which have been
surveyed at 1:2500. The group consists of six stones, from 0.1m to
0.5m high, set upright in peaty soil and similar to the settings
recorded by Chanter and Worth in 1906 and believed by them to be
Neolithic or EBA.

Since 1906 further settings have been discovered and it is certain
that others remain to be found. They are now virtually confined to
the northern half of Exmoor Forest where there has been little
enclosure or cultivation. The majority are above the 1000 ft contour
and on a slight slope or shelf regardless of aspect. Local stone is
always used whether sandstone, slate or shale with slabs or posts
embedded on end. They seldom exceed 0.6m in height and are often
merely protrusions. Occasionally where there is some depth of peat
the stones can be lifted out and replaced with ease; where there is
little topsoil packing stones are used.

Definite patterns are created through some are now partly destroyed;
single rows of three or four stones and short double rows each of
three or four stones, eg SS 74 SW 3, 74 SE 7, 84 SW 1; L-shaped
settings of eight stones, eg SS 84 SW 27. There are rhomboids
and quadrilaterals with a centre stone, eg SS 74 SE 1 and 5 and
remains of three rows of five, SS 74 SW 35 and four or five rows of
four, 74 SE 15. Exceptions are a stone circle, SS 84 SW 10, some
single stones such as SS 84 SW 5, and a curious grouping of fourteen
stones, SS 84 SW 4.

Unique to SW England and with an average density of about one
setting per square kilometre, they bear no resemblance to Dartmoor
rows and have no obvious association with any cist or cairn.
Suggestions have been made that the stones marked meeting places for
penning and sorting flocks, but while sheep rearing has been almost
continuous on Exmoor since early medieval times there is no tradition
of their use and they are too short for use as uprights for hurdle
pens. In Grinsell's book an oblique reference by Speed to "Anticke
worke ... stones pitched in order, some triangle-wise" on Exmoor
indicates that their purpose was unknown in the 17th century.

Analagous prehistoric setting occur in Scotland and uphold the Worth
and Chanter classification with that of Grinsell who states they "may
be regarded generally as of Bronze Age date but caution must be
exercised as they are often indistinguishable from medieval or later
boundaries". (1 - 3)

(SS 83364378) Stones (NR) (4)

Stone setting comprising three rows of three stones. Eight of the
stones are visible, standing or fallen, with a ninth lying under peat. (5)

Stone setting, Porlock Allotment, SS 83354375 (6).

SS 83364378. A Setting of eight recumbant or near recumbant stones and one buried stone is situated at 419m O.D. on a slightly sloping N facing hillside near the source of the Hoscombe stream. The site posesses good views to the W and NW and is set in an area of course moorland grass with patches of heather. The geology is the Hangman Grit series with the monument comprised of sandstone slabs and posts.
The setting is arranged in three SW/NE rows, each off three stones, and forms a quadrilateral 8m SW-NE by 6.5m NW-SE. From examination of the three near recumbant stones, B, C and F, it is not possible to determine a specific orientation of the stones within the setting.
The site appears to have been vandalised in the recent past. Though earlier authorities give no indication of how many of the stones were upright, the presence of erosion hollows around stones C,F and J would point to at least three others being erect and used by livestock as rubbing posts. Stone G lies on the ground surface and appears to have been recently disturbed, perhaps in conjunction with the toppling of C, F and J. (7).
Further information on the stones is held in the archive.

Stone Setting centred at SS 83357 43778, surveyed with GPS, 19 August 1996. (8)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details :
Page(s) : 549
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 38
Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Reclamation of Exmoor Forest 1929 (C S Orwin)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : The archaeology of Exmoor : Bideford Bay to Bridgwater
Source details :
Page(s) : 46-47
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 37
Source Number : 4
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:10000 1978
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Thirty Exmoor Stone-Settings (Typescript) 30.09.83 3 (E Eardley-Wilmot)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 6
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Somerset County SMR 33967
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : RCHME Field Investigation, 06-JAN-1989, SAJ Probert.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : R Wilson-North 19-AUG-1996 RCHME Field Investigation
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number :
Source : Porlock Allotment 1/ink survey
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Source Number :
Source : Lithic monuments within the Exmoor National Park: a new survey for management purposes
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Prehistoric
Display Date : Prehistoric
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -500000
Monument Type : Stone Setting, Stone Alignment
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 33967
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 25227
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 84 SW 27
External Cross Reference Notes :

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