After visiting ‘Snowdrop Valley’ and enjoying an excellent cream tea in the rather posh tea rooms in Wheddon Cross it was time for a bit of ‘old stoning’ before it got dark.
First up was a site I had wanted to visit for a number of years – the Caratacus Stone.
It was easy enough to find; being near the road and sign posted.
I was just about able to make out the Latin inscription but if I wasn’t specifically looking for it I wouldn’t have known it was there. The stone is about 1 metre tall.
The area around the stone has an obvious gorse problem and I am pleased to report that a large amount of ‘de-gorsing’ is taking place. There were whole swathes of recently cut down gorse piled up, making access a lot easier. If left to nature I guess it wouldn’t take too many years before it would be impossible to see the stone!
Viewed from the road this looks like a little bus shelter. We had to laugh when we got up close the dear little stone looked so cosy in his little house. The stone has a latin inscription on one side so it looks likely that this stone has been reveared since at least the 5th or 6th centuries. Other sources say it could have been a re-used standing stone from the Bronze age. It stands at the head of a stream. The sign board inside states that the little hut was erected in 1906 for protection.
A winding, up-hill lane conducts us in about two miles to the first genuine piece of moorland - Winsford Hill. Between the finger-post marking the cross-roads and the hedge on the right, and at the side of an old track -- I believe the former highway -- is a rude standing stone of hard slaty rock, known as the Longstone. It leans considerably out of the perpendicular, and has met with rough usage, a portion of the top having been broken off. The height is 3 feet 7 inches, the breadth 14 inches, and the thickness 7 inches. It is inscribed lengthwise with characters, but of what age or date I am unable to decide. That they have been there for many centuries, there can, I think, be no doubt, their worn appearance testifying to many an onslaught of the elements. The aforesaid fracture, the work of a mischievous youth but a few months back, has probably obliterated a part of the second line, and although I was able to find the splintered fragment, and fit it into its place, it availed me not, as the surface had flaked off. I read the inscription thus: CVRAACI FPVS. The first word apprently stands for '(son) of Curatacus,' evidently the Latinized form of some British name. This is the only interpretation I can offer. The local legend says that it marks a deposit of treasure; but it is somewhat strange that there are no traces about the stone indicating that a search has been made.
From 'An exploration of Exmoor and the hill country of West Somerset' by John Lloyd Warden Page (1890).