Porlock Hill stone setting, 150m north west of the cattle grid on the A39 at the top of Porlock Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Porlock Hill stone setting, 150m north west of the cattle grid on the A39 at the top of Porlock Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Somerset (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SS 86450 46135

Reasons for Designation

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 importance.

The Porlock Hill stone setting survives well and will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its use and development. The identification of the site as the `fif stones' mentioned in the perambulations of the Royal Forest in the 13th and 14th centuries show the continuing importance of the site as a feature in the landscape.


The monument includes three standing stones, a partly buried stone and the archaeologically sensitive area between and around the stones. It is located at the top of Porlock Hill 150m north west of the cattle grid on the A39 trunk road. The stones are set out in an apparently random manner and extend for 0.02ha. The central and largest stone is 1m high by 1.5m long and has three sets of inscriptions on its south east face. These are probably sets of initials and are MS, JHW and JTM. The style of the lettering appears to be 18th or 19th century and is therefore not contemporary with the period of construction and use of the monument. The Porlock Hill stone setting is believed to be the `fif stones' mentioned in the perambulations of the Royal Forest in the 13th and 14th century.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Quinnell, N V, Dunn, C J, Lithic Monuments within the Exmoor National Park: A New Survey, (1992), 64
Burrow, I, Minnitt, S, Murless, B, 'Proc Som Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Somerset Archaeology, 1981, , Vol. 126, (1982), 69


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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