Medieval farmstead 380m west of Keeper’s Cottage.
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 abandonment. 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 partial excavation the medieval farmstead 380m west of Keeper’s Cottage will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, agricultural practices, social significance, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 26 August 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 a gentle south east facing slope to the lee of a ridge, to the east of Butleigh Wood and to the west of the current settlement of Butleigh. The farmstead survives as largely buried structures, deposits and layers with slight earthwork remains for at least two buildings. Defined by a roughly rectangular buried outer ditch at least two buildings have been identified within the enclosed area including a rectangular dwelling measuring approximately 7.6m long by 4.2m wide and a circular dovecote measuring approximately 7.6m in diameter. The farmstead is thought to have been surrounded by a moat.
The dovecote was the subject of a partial excavation and the earthworks were surveyed by Bristol University Extra Mural Department in 1975. The settlement is thought to have been the capital messuage of St Clare’s Manor which was recorded as having a hall with a northern chamber, a garden to the east and woodland to the south in 1336. The manor was broken up during the 16th and 17th centuries and the house was last recorded as standing in 1674.