Bineham City deserted village


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

South Somerset (District Authority)
South Somerset (District Authority)
Long Sutton
National Grid Reference:
ST 50001 24886


Deserted medieval village 520m ENE of Bineham City 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. Despite partial excavation and some reduction in the heights of the earthworks through past cultivation the deserted medieval village 520m ENE of Bineham City Farm survives well and will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, social organisation, domestic arrangements, agricultural practices, decline and abandonment and overall landscape context.


See Details.


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 a deserted medieval village situated on the lower south east facing slopes of a low ridge known as Knole Knapp just above the Levels and Main Drain. The settlement survives as mainly buried structures, layers and deposits with visible stony banks, hollows and building platforms for at least ten separate buildings, one on the east side being more complex than the rest arranged in two discrete clusters, one of which is enclosed with track ways, garden plots and other associated structures between them which are in turn surrounded by a partial field system. These earthworks are clearly visible as parch marks on several aerial photographs. Partial excavations in 1951 revealed at least eight buildings with heavily built masonry walls. One building, selected for more detailed examination, measured 20m long by 6m wide and contained three cells. Pottery finds suggested its occupation was from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The whole area was prone to winter flooding and this was thought to be the reason for the final abandonment of the settlement. Known locally as ‘Bineham City’ the actual named village of ‘Little Benham’ is known from documents from 1249 and as ‘Esterebenham’ in 1280 up until 1720 although it was in serious decline from the 16th century.


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

Legacy System number:
SO 481
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-196473


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

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