Deserted medieval farmstead and part of a Romano-British field system 400m north of Fenswood Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Deserted medieval farmstead and part of a Romano-British field system 400m north of Fenswood Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 24-Oct-2019 at 01:14:48.


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

North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
Long Ashton
National Grid Reference:
ST 53285 70470

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 and associated earthworks 400m north of Fenswood Farm survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The field system demonstrates continuity in use between the Romano-British and medieval periods.


The monument includes a deserted medieval farmstead and part of a Romano- British field system situated on a south facing slope with views over the Land Yeo valley to the south and south west.

The deserted medieval farmstead includes three rectilinear enclosures which are situated at the north western end of a hollow way. The enclosures are defined by rubble-banks, c.0.5m high and up to 1m wide, each surrounding a sunken platform. Two of the enclosures are adjoined and situated adjacent to the north western side of the hollow way, while the third is situated 10m to the north west. These platforms are thought to represent building foundations and have plans which vary in size from 5m by 3m to 8m by 6m. The hollow way, which is orientated north west by south east, extends 130m towards the river valley to the south east and is likely to have provided the main approach to the site. It has a maximum depth of c.0.5m and varies in width from 6m-8m.

To the north and west of the farmstead there is a lynchet or terrace c.2.5m high, orientated south west to north east. It is likely that this terrace originally formed part of a wider field system constructed during the Romano-British period and associated with the Roman small town 800m to the south west. This part of the field system is thought to have continued in use throughout the medieval period.

To the south, west and east of the farmstead there are numerous irregular depressions ranging from 3m to 10m in plan and up to 0.5m deep. These features most likely represent quarries produced during the extraction of iron ore and white clay deposits which are known to occur within the vicinity. Finds from the site include pottery dating from the 12th, 13th and 15th centuries.

Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and gates relating to the field boundaries, although the underlying ground 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:


Mention of 17th century finds,
Mention of enclosure rubble banks,
Mention of finds from the site,
Mention of hollow-way as sunken track,
Mention of IA/RB fieldsystem,
Mention of iron ore and white clay,
Poss. early industrial significance,


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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