Two medieval and one post medieval farmsteads, a post medieval cottage, clearance cairn, mining remains and field system 970m WSW of Ebbor Grove 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 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. The two medieval and one post medieval farmsteads, a post medieval cottage, clearance cairn, mining remains and field system 970m WSW of Ebbor Grove Farm survive well and provide a palimpsest of archaeological and environmental evidence relating to agricultural practices and settlement throughout a relatively prolonged period set against their respective landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 27 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 two medieval and one post medieval farmsteads, a post medieval cottage, a clearance cairn, mining remains and field system situated on a steep south west facing slope of a prominent ridge above the settlement of Westbury-sub-Mendip. The farmsteads and field system are defined by a series of stony banks and the low walls of buildings are visible over an area of at least 403m by 397m. The first medieval farmstead includes two adjoining rectangular buildings defined by banks which measure 23m by 16m and 23m by 8m and lie at the western end of an enclosure which measures 60m by 35m. It is known to have been briefly inhabited during the 14th century. The second medieval farmstead lies within a 48m square enclosure, and includes a rectangular building measuring approximately 30m by 16m which has two cells and a possible cross passage. Associated with this farmstead are two smaller buildings measuring 15m by 8m and 12m by 9m respectively. A pond and a track defined by parallel banks leads into the south western corner of the farmyard. To the north east is a roughly square cattle pound defined by banks which contains a standing roofed building which was originally of two storeys but the upper floor was removed and replaced with a pitched roof. The building originally extended further to the west. To the north is a second building platform and on the south side of the enclosure is a stone lined pond. This farmstead was constructed in or around 1788 following Parliamentary enclosure and is known to have been ruined by 1886. To the south west is an isolated two roomed rectangular building with a possible chimney at the western end all within a small square enclosure this structure is thought to date to the late 16th century and may be a shepherd’s cottage. The associated field systems date to both the medieval and post medieval periods and are defined by banks of up to 0.9m high which extend out from the farmsteads in a series of roughly rectangular fields which measure between 109m by 43m and 55m by 34m. A double ditched track way runs between the fields. Within the field system is a small circular stony mound measuring up to 9m in diameter and 1.5m high which has been interpreted as a field clearance cairn or a small lime kiln. A linear trench with spoil dumps on either side is interpreted as mining remains. The farmsteads are known locally as ‘Ramspits’.