Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Halscombe stone setting 790m SSW of Simonsbath Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Exmoor, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1311 / 51°7'51"N

Longitude: -3.7588 / 3°45'31"W

OS Eastings: 277027.713061

OS Northings: 138334.400187

OS Grid: SS770383

Mapcode National: GBR L4.93KN

Mapcode Global: VH5K5.STQT

Entry Name: Halscombe stone setting 790m SSW of Simonsbath Bridge

Scheduled Date: 28 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014281

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25209

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Exmoor

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes 11 standing stones, five recumbent stones and the
archaeologically sensitive area between and around those features. It is
located 790m SSW of Simonsbath Bridge on the gentle, south east facing
slope of the small combe between Halscombe and Little Halscombe. The stone
setting occupies a trapezoidal area extending for 0.19ha. The site consists of
four randomly intersecting rows of stones with each line containing stones
common to two other rows. The stones are unusually well aligned with regular
intervals of 8m and 12m. Two of the rows contain three stones, one row four
stones and one row five stones. The stones are between 50mm and 600mm high,
300mm to 730mm wide and 200mm to 380mm thick.

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 settings consist of a group of standing stones set out in an irregular
or random pattern. There are a number of such sites on Exmoor where they
appear to be a regional variation of the more common stone alignments. Stone
settings 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
settings 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. Due to their rarity and longevity as a
monument type all surviving examples are considered to be of national

The Halscombe site is a particularly good example of an Exmoor stone setting
and survives well. The intersecting rows of fairly substantial stones are
regularly aligned and spaced, suggesting that the site has had little
disturbance and will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating
to its development and use.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Quinnell, N V, Dunn, C J, Lithic Monuments within the Exmoor National Park: A New Survey, (1992), 40
McDonnell, R R J, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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