Field system and earthwork enclosure on Burderop Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016383

Date first listed: 12-Sep-1956

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Jan-1998


Ordnance survey map of Field system and earthwork enclosure on Burderop Down
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 10-Dec-2018 at 04:26:33.


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

District: Swindon (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Chiseldon

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Ogbourne St. George

National Grid Reference: SU 16063 76455


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

Reasons for Designation

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the field system. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and South Yorkshire and Durham. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Those which survive well and/or which can be positively linked to associated settlements are considered to merit protection.

The field system on the northern slope of Burderop Down survives well and is a fine example of its class. Although the precise date and function of the earthwork enclosure located within the field system is unclear, it is well preserved and has the potential to provide valuable information relating to the monument and the landsape in which it was constructed.


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


The monument includes a field system and earthwork enclosure located north east of Upper Herdswick Farm on the northern edge of the Marlborough Downs. The field system extends for approximately 600m across the north-facing slopes of Burderop Down and follows a north east to south west alignment, orientated diagonal to the slope. Individual fields vary in shape and include both long, narrow and smaller square examples. The enclosing field boundaries are formed by well preserved banks up to 1.5m high and 10m wide which define units of land ranging in size from 2ha to 3ha. An earthwork enclosure overlies the field system. It is sub-rectangular in plan, 120m wide, 96m long and formed by a bank up to 0.6m high with an external ditch 5m wide and 0.4m deep. The original function of the enclosure is uncertain. It has been interpreted as a post-medieval sheepfold and a map of 1888 shows it enclosing a tree plantation. The memorial stone situated near the south western perimeter of the monument, together with all cattle feeders, water troughs and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 28961

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing