Settlement site north of Spring Hill Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1005352

Date first listed: 17-Jun-1975

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Oct-2018

Statutory Address: Spring Hill Farm, Fladbury, Worcestershire

Map

Ordnance survey map of Settlement site north of Spring Hill Farm
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Location

Statutory Address: Spring Hill Farm, Fladbury, Worcestershire

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Worcestershire

District: Wychavon (District Authority)

Parish: Fladbury

National Grid Reference: SO9847346705

Summary

The remains of a Roman polyfocal farmstead settlement with prehistoric origins bisected east to west by a railway line. No earthworks are evident and surviving below ground features include ring ditches and rectangular and curvilinear enclosures.

Reasons for Designation

The settlement site north of Spring Hill Farm, Fladbury is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: this is an important Roman polyfocal farming settlement with earlier origins, which survives in the form of substantial archaeological remains beneath the present ground surface; * Potential: the enclosures, linear features and ring ditches will have potential for remaining layers and deposits that will contain important archaeological information relating to the phasing of the settlement, the methods of construction and the lifestyles of its inhabitants. The discovery of pre-Roman remains offers the opportunity to study the continuity of settlement in this location over a long time span and enhances the significance of the monument; * Diversity: the site retains a diverse range of features such as ditches, enclosures, pit features and buried deposits relating to farming settlement activity. * Documentation: geophysical survey and targeted excavation have secured a high level of archaeological documentation to a limited area (the north east) of the monument; * Group value: the monument is part of a wider archaeological landscape of prehistoric and Roman settlements on both sides of the River Avon. The substantial nature and distinct layout of the settlement make it dissimilar to the other archaeological remains in the vicinity.

History

Romano-British farmsteads were the most numerous type of settlement in the first four centuries AD. Their form and function shows a high degree of continuity with the Iron Age. Large groups of five or more farmsteads within a single enclosure or in close proximity (0.5km) to each other are termed ‘polyfocal farmsteads’ (formerly ‘aggregate villages’). Polyfocal farmsteads are nucleated settlements either individually or collectively, or with no formal boundary. Most enclosures, where they occur, are formed by curvilinear walls or banks, sometimes surrounded by ditches, and the dwellings are usually associated with pits, stock enclosures, cultivation plots and field systems, indicating a mixed farming economy. These small farming communities existed prior to and throughout the Roman period and often occupied sites of earlier agricultural settlements. Their remains are rare and there are recorded examples in northern England and on the chalk down lands of Dorset and Sussex. They can frequently only be located through aerial photography.

The fields to the north of Spring Hill Farm (east of Salters Lane), extending north beyond the railways track, retain the buried remains of a polyfocal farmstead settlement which has prehistoric origins and evidence of Iron Age occupation. The site was identified on aerial photography in 1961 and has been subject to later photography and some archaeological investigation. The settlement was identified as ring ditches, sub-rectangular enclosures, rectangular enclosures and a long, narrow double ditched curvilinear enclosure with linear features. Prior to this, in the 1950s, a water main pipeline was inserted below ground on a north-south orientation close to the field edge abutting Salters Lane. Subsequently, the gardens of residential properties on Salters Lane were extended into the scheduled area.

The monument has been ploughed and the archaeological remains survive exclusively as buried features or remains and Iron Age/ Romano-British artefacts such as coins have been found on the site.

In 1985 the Esso Midline Pipeline watching brief identified five pit features and two possible post holes in the area at the north-east corner of the monument. Iron Age pottery finds were recorded. The pipeline was subsequently laid across the site. In the C21, prior to the construction of a modern greenhouse and lagoon, archaeological investigation in the area showed evidence of Bronze Age to Romano-British agricultural activity and occupation.

Details

PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS This monument, which falls into two areas, includes the remains of Roman settlement with prehistoric origins located on a moderate south-facing slope overlooking the River Avon, an area of mixed geology. No earthworks are evident. The monument is bisected east to west by a railway line and the principal area of settlement centred on SO9843746722 to the east of Salters Lane, with further enclosures archaeological features elsewhere including to the north of the railway line, including around SO9865546868.

The settlement is part of a wider archaeological landscape of prehistoric and Roman settlements on both sides of the River Avon. Salters Lane, a route of unknown origin, passes on a north/south orientation to the immediate west of the monument.

DETAILS The location of the settlement is known from cropmarks visible on aerial photographs and survives as seven ring ditches, five sub-rectangular enclosures, two rectangular enclosures and a long, narrow double ditched curvilinear enclosure with linear features. All the features on the site are located to the west and north of the narrow double ditched enclosure. The ring ditches are situated at the southern end of the site and the largest is approximately 30m in diameter. The five sub rectangular enclosures are up to 85m long and 30m wide, one of which has internal sub divisions. Two rectangular enclosures are located to the south and east. The largest is approximately 150m by 60m and has a ring ditch at its northern boundary. The double ditched curvilinear enclosure is orientated north to south and is approximately 300m long and 4m wide. The enclosure terminates at a ring ditch at its southern end. Several linear features are located within the site. Iron Age and Romano-British artefacts have been found on the site. A rectangular enclosure on a north-west/ south-east orientation has been identified as a cropmark (loosely interpreted as a cursus monument in some records) towards the south end of the monument. The west end of this enclosure has been truncated by the installation of three water main pipelines in the mid-C20 in the rear of residential gardens.

Further enclosures and irregular pit features are to the north of the railway track. These include the pits uncovered in the pipeline excavation of 1985 at the north-east corner of the monument showed that two of the pits were square cut with vertical sides, 1.75m by 1m and 1.2m by 1m deep, only the larger of which had animal bone and possible Iron Age pottery in its grey loamy-sand fill. A v-shaped pit 1.1m wide by 45cm deep with no pottery and a U-shaped pit 60cm wide by 52cm deep with very badly decayed bone and pot were also recorded. A second U-shaped pit 56cm by 56cm had a large quantity of badly decayed Iron Age pottery, one third of which had disintegrated. Both post holes (50cm deep by 42-50cm wide) contained a sandy fill with occasional flecks of charcoal, but no finds. Excavation and evaluation (2007) in this area has confirmed earlier cropmark and excavation evidence as the site of settlement activity of probable Bronze Age and Iron Age date, along with evidence for Romano-British, medieval and post-medieval land use.

Further enclosures and archaeological features survive to the north, east and south east of the monument, but have not been formally assessed. The character and extent of survival has not been established.

EXCLUSIONS All fencing and gates, boundary walls, concrete kerbs and the surfaces of all paths are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these features is, however, included.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: WT 201

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

Sources

Other
An Archaeological Evaluation on Land off Evesham Road, Fladbury, Worcestershire, Worcestershire County Council Historic Environemnt and Archaeology Service, 2007
Archaeological Investigations at Spring Hill Farm, Evesham Rd, Lower Moor, Fladbury, Worcestershire, Worcestershire County Council Historic Environemnt and Archaeology Service, 2011
Worcestershire Historic Environment Record: Monument Records: WSM01392, WSM24024, WSM30492, WSM01392, WSM34972.

End of official listing