Field system and settlement on Watcombe Plain


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1002429

Date first listed: 10-Jun-1970


Ordnance survey map of Field system and settlement on Watcombe Plain
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Alton Pancras

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Piddletrenthide

National Grid Reference: ST 71150 03084


Enclosed Iron Age or Romano-British farmstead and part of its associated field system 940m north west of Harvey’s Farm.

Reasons for Designation

Romano-British farmsteads are small agricultural units comprising groups of up to four circular or rectangular houses along with associated structures which may include wells, storage pits, corn-drying ovens and granary stores. These were sometimes constructed within a yard surrounded by a rectangular or curvilinear enclosure, and associated field systems, trackways and cemeteries may be located nearby. Most Romano-British farmsteads in England have been discovered by the analysis of aerial photographs. They usually survive in the form of buried features visible as crop and soil marks and occasionally as low earthworks. Often situated on marginal agricultural land and found throughout the British Isles, they date to the period of Roman occupation (c. AD 43-450). Romano-British farmsteads are generally regarded as low status settlements, with the members of one family or small kinship group pursuing a mixed farming economy. Excavation at these sites has shown a marked continuity with later prehistoric settlements. There is little evidence of personal wealth and a limited uptake of the Romanised way of life. Romano- British farmsteads occur throughout southern England, but cluster on the chalk downland of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. They are the most representative form of rural settlement in the region during the Roman period. The enclosed Iron Age or Romano-British farmstead and part of its associated field system 940m north west of Harvey’s Farm survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, development, longevity, social organisation, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, adaptive re-use, abandonment and overall landscape context.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 February 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes an enclosed Iron Age or Romano British farmstead and part of its associated field system situated on the steep east facing slopes of the prominent ridge called Church Hill. The farmstead survives as a curving enclosure which contains at least two hut circles one measuring 6m in diameter and defined by a stony rim bank and the other up to 11m in diameter and defined by a terraced depression into the slope. The surrounding field system of rectangular fields are defined by lynchets and also contain ridge and furrow indicating they were re-used for cultivation during the medieval period. A track way defined by lynchets also connects some of the fields to the farmstead.


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

Legacy System number: DO 759

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape 201954

End of official listing