A deserted medieval manorial settlement and associated earthworks in Iffin Wood


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009012

Date first listed: 31-Oct-1985

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Oct-1994


Ordnance survey map of A deserted medieval manorial settlement and associated earthworks in Iffin Wood
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Jan-2019 at 18:01:00.


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

County: Kent

District: Canterbury (District Authority)

Parish: Chartham

National Grid Reference: TR 13582 53977


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Medieval manorial settlements, comprising small groups of houses with associated gardens, yards and paddocks, supported communities devoted primarily to agriculture, and acted as the foci for manorial administration. Although the sites of many of these settlements have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were abandoned at some time during the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. 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 settlements are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits, providing information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy, and on the structure and changing fortunes of manorial communities.

Despite some disturbance by woodland cover, a modern woodland track and localised flint digging, the deserted medieval manorial settlement in Iffin Wood survives well and contains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument, the landscape in which it was constructed and the economy of its inhabitants. Relatively undisturbed medieval manorial settlements are particularly rare in Kent, where most have been heavily disturbed by later post-medieval or modern development.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the deserted medieval manorial settlement of Iffin, a hollow way and other associated earthworks, situated on a clay-capped, chalk hill forming part of the Kent Downs. The remains of Iffin manor include four, contiguous banked and ditched enclosures which together form a large, south west-north east orientated, rectangular enclosure covering an area of c.1.05ha. The banks survive to a height of up to c.1m, and the ditches fall to c.0.5m beneath the surrounding ground. The smallest enclosure, situated in the south western corner, contains a raised mound c.5.6m by 15.5m, the remains of a flint-walled, 12th century chapel, dedicated to St Leonard. To the east is a larger, rectangular enclosure of around 0.14ha, which is double-ditched on the southern and eastern sides. The interior has a raised, central platform, believed to be the site of the principal domestic buildings. The central enclosure, lying immediately to the north, is the largest, and is roughly square in shape, covering an area of around 0.55ha. The defensive earthworks of the northernmost enclosure survive particularly well and enclose an area of around 0.35ha. Running in a south westerly direction from the south western corner of the manorial enclosure is a hollow way, or disused road. It is a shallow linear ditch 0.4m deep flanked on either side by a slight bank, with an overall width of 8m. A complex arrangement of banks, ditches and other earthworks surround the manorial enclosure on all four sides. These are likely to form the earthwork remains of contemporary agricultural or other economic activity associated with the medieval manorial settlement. The medieval manor of Iffin is mentioned in many contemporary documents between c.1086 and 1465, particularly the cartulary of St Gregory's Priory, Canterbury. By the end of the 15th century, documentary references to the manor cease, indicating that it was deserted by this time. All modern fences within or on the boundaries of the monument are excluded from the scheduling but 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: 25453

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hasted, E, History of Kent, (1800), 291-292
Hasted, E, History of Kent, (1790), 729
Tatton-Brown, T, Unpublished material, 1983,

End of official listing