Shrunken medieval village of Christon and associated field system 200m north of Manor Farm


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.

North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 37690 57574

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 primarily devoted to farming, 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 as well as acting as the focus of ecclesiastical, and often manorial, authority within each medieval parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many have declined considerably in size and are now occupied by farmsteads or hamlets. This decline may have taken place gradually throughout the lifetime of the village or more rapidly, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries when many other villages were wholly deserted. The reasons for diminishing size were varied but often reflected declining economic viability or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their decline, large parts of these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Over 3000 shrunken medieval villages are recorded nationally. 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.

The shrunken medieval village and associated field system on Flagstaff Hill survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was formed. The strip lynchets are amongst the best examples surviving in the area. The monument is believed to overlie an earlier settlement.


The monument includes the deserted part of a shrunken medieval village known as Christon, and part of its associated field system surviving as earthworks and situated on the ridge and south-facing slope of Flagstaff Hill overlooking the Lox Yeo valley. That part of the village which has remained occupied lies immediately to the south of the monument. The deserted area of the settlement survives as an area of well-defined earthworks representing building platforms and terraces. These are arranged on an east-west alignment either side of a hollow way and cover an area of 2.5ha. The earthworks survive to a maximum height of 0.5m. Pottery sherds, dating to the 12th and 14th centuries, have been recovered from this area of the monument, confirming the medieval date of the structures. There have also been finds of Roman and Saxon pottery on the hill suggesting that the area was occupied prior to the medieval period. The field system survives in the form of earthwork remains to the north, north-east and west of the settlement. To the north-east lies a field containing four well-preserved strip lynchets which represent agricultural terraces and survive to 1.2m high, c.10m wide and 350m long. The earthworks to the north and west of the settlement represent additional fields and enclosures contemporary with the medieval occupation of the site. All fences and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Clarke, R L, 'Journal of the Banwell Society of Archaeology' in Christon: a preliminary field study, (1969)


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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