Deserted medieval settlement and associated cultivation terraces on Perching Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015125

Date first listed: 21-Aug-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Deserted medieval settlement and associated cultivation terraces on Perching Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2018 at 10:10:24.


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

County: West Sussex

District: Mid Sussex (District Authority)

Parish: Fulking

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 24458 10235


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

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the East Wessex sub-Province of the south-eastern Province, an area in which settlement characteristics are shaped by strong contrasts in terrain. This is seen in the division between the chalk Downs, where chains of nucleated settlements concentrate in the valleys, and the Hampshire Basin, still dominated by the woodlands and open commons of the ancient New Forest, where nucleated sites are largely absent. Along the coastal strip extending into Sussex are more nucleations, while in Hampshire some coastal areas and inland valleys are marked by high densities of dispersed settlement, much of it post-medieval. The Hampshire Downs and Salisbury Plain local region is a distinctive, large area with extremely low densities of dispersed settlement on the chalk, and dense strings of villages, hamlets and farmsteads concentrated in the valleys. Fieldwork has shown that these, together with associated earthworks, date from many periods, reflecting the long and complex history of settlement in these `preferred zones' within an area generally deficient in surface water.

The medieval settlement and its associated cultivation terraces on Perching Hill survive particularly well, being affected by little subsequent disturbance, and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and its place within the downland economy.


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


The monument includes a deserted medieval settlement and an adjacent area containing associated cultivation terraces, situated on a north west facing slope of a chalk hill forming part of the Sussex Downs. The presence in the coombe of an underground water course, indicated by a well c.60m to the west of the monument, explains the establishment of the settlement in an area of downland otherwise rarely inhabited during the medieval period. The hamlet is bounded on its southern and north eastern sides by a mortared, flint rubble wall up to c.0.5m high. Three stepped, levelled terraces c.90m long and up to c.18m wide, edged by banks up to c.3m high, are located near the coombe bottom towards the centre of the monument and contain traces of at least eight buildings, representing the main dwelling houses and outbuildings of the settlement. Green-glazed pottery sherds dating to the medieval period were found here during the 1950s. A terraced trackway running to the west across the hillslope connects the farmhouses with two adjoining, east-west aligned, roughly rectangular paddocks situated upslope in the south western corner of the monument. These are defined to the north and east by low banks. The western enclosure is smaller, measuring c.32m by c.20m, whilst the larger, eastern paddock is c.20m wide and up to c.145m long. To the north east of the farmhouses are three parallel strip lynchets. These are long, narrow cultivation terraces formed by continual ploughing along the contours of the hillslope; each is c.250m in length and c.20m wide. The modern fences which cross the monument are excluded form the scheduling, although 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: 29232

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing