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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Iron age hillfort, Horse Pool Copse, Howley
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Hillfort 475m south of Howley Farm [No:32158]
Civil Parish: Whitestaunton
Grid Ref: ST 265 090 (ST 20 NE)
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Image: Image of HER 53259 - Photo by Somerset County Council (13 February 1984)
  HER 53259 - Photo by Somerset County Council (13 February 1984)

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]


The HER is currently being transferred to a new system. Please ask about this changed entry. {0}

Comprises a single bank with a ditch on the NE side. On the W the hillside has simply been scarped. The entrance is on the E side towards the N end. In places the bank is as much as 12ft above the ditch. {1}

Interior sloping fairly steeply down to the W. The defences are mostly tree covered and enclose on oval area c250m N-S by 120m E-W. Consist of a single bank with a wide flat-bottomed ditch in front. Bank up to 3m high on the E side and has a steep sharp profile which suggests the presence of narrow drystone walling on its summit. There is a simple entrance on the NE, but at the S apex a second entrance is formed by the rampart turning outwards and running S for c30m on each side of the entrance passage. Towards the S of the entrance there is a break in the banks on either side, probably of recent origin. On the W side of the enclosure the banks is just discernible from the interior though masked by hillwash. {2}

In plan the field to the N suggests an annexe, but there is no possibility of this. Neck of the entrance is now used as a silage clamp causing some superficial damage. {3}

Entrance on the E side considered to be recent. {4}

Locally called Harbury, and marked Hamberry on the tithe map. Several dense pieces of slag in 5-10kg lumps were found at ST26430900. It is dark grey and has blow holes and run marks. The local farmer, Mr Edwards, also found slag further down the slope (PRN 57014). {5}

Oval univallate hillfort 300m long and 150m wide. Interior slopes gently down to the W. Counterscarp bank on the W side. On the E side there is a Dutch barn by the trackway and here straw bales etc are encroaching across the ditch which is well preserved at this point. Along the E side the ditch is virtually free of vegetation, being very stony and much trodden by cattle. On the bank here there are only a few trees and poaching is evident. The main entrance on the S is blocked by a large stone heap c2m high which shows signs of being dug into on the S side. W from the entrance and N along the bank and ditch are particularly overgrown with bracken, bramble and saplings of sallow and hazel. Old oak trees crest the bank now almost down to the barn. All along there is much exposed stone and some movement down the steep slope to the W. {6}

As before, some poaching by cattle. There are unconfirmed reports that one of the entrance ways was 'improved' by machine early in 1992 and the damage hidden with cattle slurry. {7}

Scheduling revised with new national number on 16/4/1999 (was Somerset 423). {8}

The monument is in generally good condition with only one area of cattle poaching now apparent at the southern end of the eastern bank. {9}

Management agreement between English Heritage and the owner from 18/2/2004 until 18/2/2007 for part of the monument. {10}


0 Compiler comment - Webster, CJ (Chris). Somerset Historic Environment Record (12/02/2016). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained.
1 Description - Page, W. Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 2 (1911), 503 + plan.
2 Description - Burrow, I. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD.  (1981), 233-234. British Archaeological Reports 91.
3 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 20 NE 2 (1979) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 1554.
4 Mention - Wilkin, WH. The Yarty. Transactions of the Devonshire Association.  62 (1930), 353
5 Mention - Carter, R, Parminter, M and Wood, P. Howley, Whitestaunton. In Aston, M and Murless, B. Somerset Archaeology 1977. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History122 (1978), 117-152 at 123
6 Detailed records - Algar, D [David]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden. (1984) Report location: HER files
7 Detailed records - Blackdown Hills AONB survey record card. Record ID: 029 (4/9/1992) Location: HER files
8 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council. (26/5/1999) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 13853.
9 Site visit report - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden. (17/1/2000) Report location: HER files
10 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council. (23/7/2004) Location: HER files

Record created in August 1984

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