Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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The Whit Stones: two standing stones 230m west of Whitstone Post

A Scheduled Monument in Porlock, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.2039 / 51°12'14"N

Longitude: -3.6428 / 3°38'33"W

OS Eastings: 285328.993941

OS Northings: 146250.086451

OS Grid: SS853462

Mapcode National: GBR L9.4GYT

Mapcode Global: VH5JV.TZ2Y

Entry Name: The Whit Stones: two standing stones 230m west of Whitstone Post

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1934

Last Amended: 27 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014269

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25226

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Porlock

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes two standing stones, an earthen mound and the
archaeologically sensitive areas between and around those features. The site
is located on the east facing side of Porlock Common 230m west of Whitstone
Post. The stones are 2.5m apart and are set with their long sides on a
north-south alignment. Both stones are leaning at an angle of 60 degrees
to the east. The northern stone is 850mm high, 900mm wide and 350mm thick. The
southern stone is 900mm high, 1.65m wide and 35mm thick. It has an Ordnance
Survey bench mark and stud on its west face. The mound lies 7m to the east of
the southern stone. It is an irregular shape but is generally 6m in diameter
and c.300mm high. A small hollow cut into the top on the north west side may
mark the site of a previous part excavation although no details are known.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south
western peninsula of England. In contrast to the other two areas, Dartmoor and
Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little
excavation of its monuments. However, survey work has confirmed a comparable
richness of archaeological remains with evidence of human exploitation and
occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. The well-preserved
and often visible relationships between settlement sites, major land
boundaries, trackways and ceremonial and funerary monuments give insight into
successive changes in the pattern of land-use through time.
Stone alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in a single line,
or in two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They
are often sited close to prehistoric burial monuments, such as small cairns
and cists, and to ritual monuments, such as stone circles, and are therefore
considered to have had an important ceremonial function. Stone alignments were
being constructed and used from the Late Neolithic period to the Middle Bronze
Age (c.2500-1000 BC) and provide rare evidence of ceremonial and ritual
practices during these periods. The recorded examples on Exmoor form an
important subgroup of the total population and are considered to be of
national importance.

The `Whit Stones' standing stones survive well and will retain archaeological
and environmental evidence relating to the construction and use of the
monument. Their identification as the `Whitestones' mentioned in the 13th
century perambulations of the Royal Forest demonstrates their continuing
importance as a feature in the landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Quinnell, N V, Dunn, C J, Lithic Monuments within the Exmoor National Park: A New Survey, (1992), 64
Quinnell, N V, Dunn, C J, Lithic Monuments within the Exmoor National Park: A New Survey, (1992), 64

Source: Historic England

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