Earthworks in Ditchey Coppice
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002448
Date first listed: 18-Jul-1961
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This copy shows the entry on 10-Dec-2018 at 15:27:54.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: North Dorset (District Authority)
Parish: Iwerne Courtney or Shroton
National Grid Reference: ST 88678 13321
Medieval farmstead 1260m south west of Furzey Down House.
Reasons for Designation
Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number, density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century and to the present day. Farmsteads, normally occupied by only one or two families and comprising small groups of buildings with attached yards, gardens and enclosures, were a characteristic feature of the medieval rural landscape. They occur throughout the country, the intensity of their distribution determined by local topography and the nature of the agricultural system prevalent within the region. In some areas of dispersed settlement they were the predominant settlement form; elsewhere they existed alongside, or were components of, more nucleated settlement patterns. The sites of many farmsteads have been occupied down to the present day but others were abandoned as a result of, for example, declining economic viability, enclosure or emparkment, or epidemics like the Black Death. In the northern border areas, recurring cross-border raids and military activities also disrupted agricultural life and led to abandonments. Farmsteads are a common and long-lived monument type; the archaeological deposits on those which were abandoned are often well-preserved and provide important information on regional and national settlement patterns and farming economies, and on changes in these through time. Despite tree and scrub growth the medieval farmstead 1260m south west of Furzey Down House survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction, development, function, longevity, domestic arrangements, agricultural practices and abandonment of the enclosure and its overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 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 medieval farmstead situated on the upper south west facing slopes of a prominent ridge overlooking two dry valleys. The farmstead survives as a rectangular enclosure defined by outer banks of up to 4m wide and 0.5m high, with a partially visible outer ditch of up to 2.5m wide and 0.5m deep which is divided into two unequal parts by an internal bank and has an extending length of 0.3m high scarp to the north west. In the south western corner of the enclosure is a rectangular depression which measures 20m long by 4m wide and 0.3m deep which has been interpreted as a building. The enclosure appears to have an entrance on the eastern side. It has been variously interpreted as a farmstead, animal pound or building and although its exact function is not known it does appear to be of medieval origin.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DO 645
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