Deserted medieval farmstead 420m south of Gout House Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jul-2019 at 21:22:38.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- ST 40215 61071
Reasons for Designation
Farmsteads, normally occupied by only one or two families and comprising small
groups of buildings with attached yards, gardens and enclosures, were a
characteristic feature of the medieval rural landscape. They occur throughout
the country, the intensity of their distribution determined by local
topography and the nature of the agricultural system prevalent within the
region. In some areas of dispersed settlement they were the predominant
settlement form; elsewhere they existed alongside, or were components of, more
nucleated settlement patterns. The sites of many farmsteads have been
occupied down to the present day but others were abandoned as a result of, for
example, declining economic viability, enclosure or emparkment, or epidemics
like the Black Death. In the northern border areas, recurring cross-border
raids and military activities also disrupted agricultural life and led to
abandonments. Farmsteads are a common and long-lived monument type; the
archaeological deposits on those which were abandoned are often well-preserved
and provide important information on regional and national settlement patterns
and farming economies, and on changes in these through time.
The deserted medieval farmstead 420m of Gout House Farm is well preserved and represents a rare survival, as such monuments are unusual in this area of Avon. Evidence recovered in the form of pottery, combined with documentary records and aerial photographs, demonstrate that archaeological remains survive from both the Roman period and from the 11th to at least the 14th century AD. Such evidence will provide an indicator of the status of the site`s occupants, their economy and the landscape in which they lived. The site`s position low in the Somerset Levels is conducive to the survival of waterlogged remains.
The monument includes a deserted medieval farmstead situated in an area of the
Levels 420m south of Gout House Farm.
The farmstead, which is known as the `Bower House`, is defined by a ditch
which encloses a raised island c.48m from east to west and c.30m from north to
south. The surrounding ditch has been incorporated into a modern rhyne on its
west side but survives as a waterfilled channel c.5m wide elsewhere. The
ditch is breached by a causeway in the south-west which would have provided
access to the farmstead.
Early historical references to the site record it as `Bower` in 1379 and
`Bowere` in 1437. The ditched enclosure is termed the `Bower House` on a tithe
map of 1632 and recorded as such in a deed dated to the same year.
Medieval pottery dating to between the 11th and 14th centuries AD was
recovered from the site during rhyne clearance in 1976. Roman pottery has also
been recovered from the site, demonstrating an earlier phase of occupation.
Remains of a building within the enclosure were revealed as parch marks
visible from the air during the drought of 1976.
Excluded from the scheduling are the bridge providing access from the
west, the farm building and underlying concrete pad situated within the
north-western area of the monument, as well as all fence posts relating to the
field boundaries although the ground beneath all these features 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:
Details of parchmarks at site,
Details of pottery recovered,
Details of Roman pottery from site,
Mention of historical references,
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