Enclosure in Brighstone Forest


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SZ 44089 85204

Reasons for Designation

Moots were open-air meeting places set aside for use by courts and other bodies who were responsible for the administration and organisation of the countryside in Anglo-Saxon and medieval England. They were located at convenient, conspicuous or well-known sites, often centrally placed within the area under jurisdiction, usually a hundred, wapentake, or shire. The meeting place could take several forms: a natural feature such as a hilltop, tree or rock; existing man-made features such as prehistoric standing stones, barrows or hillforts; or a purpose-built monument such as a mound. Moots appear to have been first established during the early medieval period between the seventh and ninth centuries AD. Examples are recorded in the Domesday Book and other broadly contemporary documents. Initially, moots were situated in open countryside but, over time, they were relocated in villages or towns. The construction and use of rural moots declined after the 13th century. The normal form of purpose-built moot was the moot mound. These take the form of large, squat, turf-covered mounds with a flat or concave top, usually surrounded by a ditch. Occasionally, prehistoric barrows were remodelled to provide suitable sites. It is estimated that there were between 250 and 1000 moots in medieval England, although only a limited number of these were man- made mounds and only a proportion of these survive today. Moots are generally a poorly understood class of monument with considerable potential to provide information on the organisation and administration of land units in the Middle Ages. They are a comparatively rare and long-lived type of monument and the earliest examples will be amongst a very small range of sites predating the Norman Conquest which survive as monumental earthworks and readily appreciable landscape features. On this basis, all well preserved or historically well documented moot mounds are identified as nationally important.

The enclosure in Brighstone Forest has many features in common with other meeting places of constituted bodies of the medieval period. The earthwork will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the enclosure and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument includes a small rectangular enclosure set on a gentle east- facing slope just off the crest of a hill above Cheverton Down. The enclosure measures 24m north east-south west and 15m north west-south east, and is defined by a bank and external ditch; the ditch is now only visible on the north and west sides. Internally the bank is c.1m high and the external ditch is 5m wide and 0.5m deep. There is an entrance on the north east side c.4m wide. The interior has a slight rise in its centre measuring c.7m square. The site lies near the parish boundary and has been interpreted as the site of the meeting place of the pre-Conquest hundred of Calbourne, the 'gemot beoth' mentioned in a document called The Bounds on Calbourne, dated to 826. The enclosure is very similar to the court leet enclosure on Southampton Common and the 'church-places' of the New Forest and Cranbourne Chase. The site may later also have functioned as a pastoral enclosure. This explanation is supported by the presence of a pond for watering stock adjoining the enclosure on its south side. The metal signpost at the junction of the two bridleways is excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club, , Vol. 17, (1949), 138-9
'Archaeological Journal' in Archaeological Journal, , Vol. 78, (1921), 137
Field Inspector, Woodhouse, W., NAR Record SZ 48 NW 19, (1955)
Map included, Stone, P G, P S A, P. S. A., (1912)


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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