Ancient Monuments

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Site revealed by air photography, Stoke Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Pennsylvania, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7477 / 50°44'51"N

Longitude: -3.5273 / 3°31'38"W

OS Eastings: 292344.71985

OS Northings: 95345.824271

OS Grid: SX923953

Mapcode National: GBR P1.76X6

Mapcode Global: FRA 37H3.HND

Entry Name: Site revealed by air photography, Stoke Hill

Scheduled Date:

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002500

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 349

County: Devon

Electoral Ward/Division: Pennsylvania

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Exeter St James

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


An enclosure interpreted as a Roman signal station.

Source: Historic England


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the monument includes the slight earthwork and buried remains of an enclosure which has been interpreted as a Roman signal station. It is situated in an elevated position on a prominent ridge which overlooks the valley of the River Exe and has commanding views in all directions.

DESCRIPTION: aerial photographs indicate a roughly circular or sub-octagonal outer enclosure about 105m in diameter within which is an inner enclosure, more or less centrally placed on the crest of the hill. There is little surface evidence of the signal station, largely due to the site having previously been under cultivation, but excavations carried out in the 1950s and in 1970 have confirmed its character and form.

The outer enclosure is delineated by a flattened, V-shaped profile, measuring up to 5m wide and 1.5m deep and an internal rampart. The ditch has become infilled over the years, but is visible as a slight depression on the west side where it is crossed by the driveway to Roman Hill and to the east a headline and path mark its position. The rampart has been spread by ploughing, but was described in 1971 as about 0.15m high and 6m wide. It is visible as a slight scarp to the west and north on lidar images but is less evident on the ground. Evidence uncovered during the mid-C20 excavations indicated that the outer edge of the rampart was defined by roughly-laid stone blocks and that these may be part of a revetment. The inner enclosure is roughly square on plan and measures approximately 37m across. It has straight sides and rounded corners and is defined by a V-shaped ditch, up to 3m wide and 1.5m-1.8m deep and an inner rampart of clay. The ditch is no longer visible at ground level, but it will survive as a buried feature. The 4.5m wide rampart was found to be revetted externally with turf. Evidence was also found for an entrance causeway across the east section of the ditch and for a counterscarp bank of clay and shale. Few finds were recovered from the site, but included several sherds of late C3-C4 pottery and a coin of Carausius (AD287-91).

EXCLUSIONS: the outbuildings at Roman Hill, the surfaces of paths, driveways and the ménage, floodlights and all fencing and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling. The ground beneath these features is, however, included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Roman signal station, 575m west of Rolleston Farm, Stoke Hill, Exeter is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: despite having previously subject to ploughing, investigations have shown that archaeological features survive as buried deposits and as low earthworks;
* Potential: deposits in the infilled ditches, the buried land surface and any sub-surface features will preserve important archaeological information relating to its construction and use, as well as the impact of the Roman occupation on the wider landscape;
* Group value: a study of the monument and its relationship to other Roman sites in the area will make a valuable contribution to the understanding of civil and military control during the Roman occupation of Devon;
* Documentation: the site is well documented as a result of partial excavation, and the study of aerial photographs and lidar imagery.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Roman Period, Exeter, Stoke Hill' in Transactions of the Devonshire Association, , Vol. 90, (1958), 226-228
Fox, A, Ravenhill, W, 'Stoke Hill Roman Signal Station' in Transactions of the Devonshire Association, , Vol. 91, (1959), 71-82
Quinnell (nee Miles), H, 'Appendix 1: Excavations at the Stoke Hill Roman signal Station, 1971' in Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society, , Vol. 42, (1984), 28-30

Source: Historic England

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