Remains of medieval buildings ('Abbey buildings')
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002720
Date first listed: 24-Jun-1938
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: East Dorset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 99079 06341
Part of a medieval manor house known as Abbey Buildings.
Reasons for Designation
The manor was an area ruled by a lord who could exercise certain rights and privileges in medieval England and often lived in a Manor house set apart from the villages where the peasants dwelt. During the medieval period Feudalism was based on the exchange of land, called a fief, for military service. Following the Norman Conquest, William I used this concept to reward his Norman supporters for their help, thus taking the land from the native population and giving it to Norman Knights and Nobles. These parcels of land were known as manors. Under Feudalism everyone owed allegiance to the monarch and their own immediate superior and payment was provided through work days completing required chores or by taking up arms. Not all manors belonged to lords required to provide military service, a substantial proportion was retained by the Crown and the rest were held by bishoprics and religious houses, and those of the latter group tended to be larger. The manors typically varied in size but were most often of between 1200 – 1800 acres. Every noble had one manor and great nobles often had several. The lords who occupied manors invariably built a Manor House, for their immediate family and these were primarily residential and not defensive properties such as castles. The houses varied greatly in size and layout depending on the wealth of the lord but generally included a Great Hall, Solar, kitchen, storerooms and servants quarters.
The part of a medieval manor house known as Abbey Buildings survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, function, social, political and strategic significance, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, abandonment, adaptive re-use and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 December 2015. The 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.
The monument includes part of a medieval manor house situated on the western bank of the River Allen in the settlement of Witchampton. Part of the manor house survives as the upstanding remains of two connected wings forming an L-shaped plan building of two storeys standing up to 4.5m high with a chamber or possible hall in the upper floor of one section and the solar in the upper floor of the other, both above undercrofts with other structures, layers and deposits associated with the upstanding building preserved as entirely buried features. The building is of 13th century origin and contains several architectural features including archways, windows, loops, and buttresses, part of a staircase and polygonal stair turret and some 15th century fireplaces. The building was used for agricultural purposes in the 18th century and became ruinous in the 19th century. It is also known locally as ‘Witchampton Manor’. Hutchins described its use as a very large barn called ‘Abbey Barn’ but concluded it did not ever seem to have been linked with any religious house or church lands but was rather the manor house of the Maltravers. The Abbey Buildings are Listed Grade II.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DO 136
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-514427
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