Wick Down Farm earthwork
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1003250
Date first listed: 21-Feb-1957
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 13532 73316
Medieval farmstead 275m south-west of Wick Down Farm.
Reasons for Designation
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. The medieval farmstead 275m south west of Wick Down Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 September 2015. 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 north east facing slopes of the prominent Rough Hill overlooking two dry valleys. The farmstead survives as a roughly rectangular enclosure measuring approximately 160m long by 96m wide defined by a bank of 0.9m high with a 0.6m deep outer ditch, beyond which are a series of further additional enclosures and banks. In the main enclosure interior slighter banks form at least four subdivided ‘paddocks’ the largest of which measures approximately 20m x 15m and includes an L-shaped building platform set above a rectangular yard. To the east is a further building platform with a yard. The third paddock, to the south, includes a building platform and a yard. The fourth lies to the north of the group and has a small building platform in the west contained within a walled enclosure. To the east of these paddocks and outside the main enclosure is a further rectangular enclosure that measures 25m by 15m and is defined on the south by a bank and shallow scarps on the other sides. There is another embanked enclosure with an entrance on the northern side. Internally this contains two slight L-shaped scarps, each with a small building platform. The south-western quarter contains a series of slight linear scarps, some of which may represent small stock enclosures. A circular depression may be the site of a former well. Extending in a northerly direction from the entrance gap in the main enclosure is a double-lynchet track way which measures 2m wide and terminates at the field boundary. On the eastern side of the main enclosure is a broad slightly curving bank overlying two lynchets. It measures 140m in length and up to 0.3m high with Sarsen stones set periodically along the northern side. Medieval or post medieval pottery was discovered beneath some of the banks in 1913 when it was excavated by Goddard. In the past it was interpreted as a possible Iron Age enclosed farmstead, although alternatively it has been associated with the preceptory of the Knights Templar the chapel of which was interpreted as the northern building platforms but this is now disputed. Langdon Wick suggested it was a grange for a Cistercian monastery at Stanley until its suppression in the mid 16th century when it became a farmstead rather than a monastic grange.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity some are scheduled separately but others are not included because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: WI 542
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Wiltshire HER SU17SW459
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