Deserted village of Bardolfeston
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002435
Date first listed: 21-Sep-1972
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Dorset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SY 76648 94770
Deserted medieval village of Bardolfeston.
Reasons for Designation
The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets, paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant component of the rural landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages provided some services to the local community and acted as the main focal point of ecclesiastical, and often of manorial, administration within each parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were abandoned throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. As a result over 2000 deserted medieval villages are recorded nationally. The reasons for desertion were varied but often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land use such as enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their abandonment these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Because they are a common and long-lived monument type in most parts of England, they provide important information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy between the regions and through time. The deserted medieval village of Bardolfeston is thought to be one of the best preserved in Dorset with a unique plan of rectangular crofts overlain by an oblique street plan. The village will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, social organisation, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, economic activity, trade, decline and 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 a deserted medieval village situated on a gentle south facing slope just above the floodplain of the River Piddle or Trent and close to its confluence with the Devil’s Brook. The village survives as a complex series of rectangular crofts extending over an area of nearly 7ha bounded by low banks or scarps measuring up to 0.5m high which contain internal divisions and some building platforms. These are in turn overlain by a distinctive hollow way lined with up to 27 buildings including the site of the church. The village was known to be in decline from the 14th century according to early documents and was finally deserted by the 17th century. It originally extended further south but the archaeology in this section was altered by the creation of a water meadow. At least 15 buildings have been identified in a discrete group to the west which are not immediately associated with the main hollow way.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DO 717
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
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