Deserted medieval farmstead 420m south of Gout House 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 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

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