Deserted medieval village of Nether Adber


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


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This copy shows the entry on 25-Oct-2021 at 22:22:46.


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

South Somerset (District Authority)
Marston Magna
South Somerset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 58815 21265

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.

The deserted medieval village of Nether Adber survives as a good example of its class, with upstanding earthworks of buildings and enclosures, streets and a green. A moated site and fishpond also survive beneath later infilling.


The monument includes a deserted medieval village in a flat, low-lying situation. The site was the subject of a detailed survey by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England in 1990. The village is arranged around a green, with roads running north/south and east/west around this. The present Thorny Lane runs along the former line of one of these. To the east of the green are five small plots or `crofts', with traces of buildings on the southern three. Behind the crofts are narrow plots extending to a back lane. The empty plots may have been orchards. To the south are three roughly square plots each with a cottage and barn opposing across a yard, and these may represent amalgamations of former small crofts. Further crofts can be seen west of the green on old aerial photographs but these have now been levelled by ploughing. The buildings, which survive as low rectangular earthworks or platforms, are small structures ranging in size from 6.5m by 5m to 18m by 6m, facing the green. Some have opposing doorways in the centre of the long walls; others have only a single doorway. On the north side of the village is a manor site, with an L-shaped moat and a fishpond, plus other water channels and ponds. Documents refer to a chapel in the manor - the village had no church. Features in this area indicate a later landscaping of the manor grounds and the abandoned crofts may relate to this. The moat and water features have been largely levelled by modern infilling and are now best seen on old aerial photographs. To the east, further earthworks have been ploughed flat. It is thought that these were fishponds. Ridge and furrow is visible on air photos in the surrounding fields and this extends onto some of the crofts. This, together with the reuse of features south of the manor, illustrates the gradual decline of the village. The small estate of Ettebere, referred to in the Domesday Book, is thought to be Nether Adber. Later documents show that at least one family remained in the 16th century, though the village was probably deserted by the end of that century. There was a farm in the vicinity until the late 19th century; the present Thorny House is a pair of 19th-century gamekeepers' cottages. Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fences, posts, telegraph poles, modern buildings and road surfaces, although the ground beneath all these features 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.

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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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