Medieval village site
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1004744
Date first listed: 04-Jun-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 08812 57904
Part of a deserted medieval village 540m north-east of Marden House Farm.
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 part of a deserted medieval village 540m north east of Marden House Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, the function of buildings, their inter relationships and chronological sequence, agricultural practices, trade, the economic and political significance of the village, its abandonment and decline, domestic arrangements 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 part of a deserted medieval village situated to the north east of the present settlement of Marden on the southern banks of the River Avon. The deserted medieval village survives as a complex series of earthworks which include hollow ways, tracks, enclosures and building platforms standing up to 1m high and also a series of buried features visible as crop and soil marks on aerial photographs. A village is documented here as ‘Mercdene’ in a Saxon charter from as early as 941 AD and it is mentioned again when an estate in the village passed from Wenesi to Hugh son of Baldric in 1086. Sherds of 12th to 13th century pottery were recovered during a watching brief in 1999 and these all indicate a prolonged period of occupation.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity some are scheduled separately but others are not included in the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: WI 565
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Wiltshire HER SU05NE402
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