Medieval farmstead at Pilchers, 340m north east of Codhall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016681

Date first listed: 02-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Medieval farmstead at Pilchers, 340m north east of Codhall
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Nov-2018 at 17:53:13.


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

County: Kent

District: Shepway (District Authority)

Parish: Brenzett

National Grid Reference: TR 00281 28949


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 last 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the Eastern Weald sub-Province of the South-eastern Province, bounded by the North and South Downs and comprising an oval arrangement of inward facing escarpments of chalk and sandstone, separated by clay vales, all ringing a higher sandstone ridge. Apart from concentrations of nucleated settlements in the Vale of Holmsdale and around Canterbury, the sub- Province is dominated by high and very high densities of dispersed settlements, giving a countryside with farmsteads and associated enclosed fields, of medieval foundation, intermixed with cottages, medieval moated sites and hamlets bearing the names `green' or `dene'.

In some areas of medieval England settlement was dispersed across the landscape rather than nucleated into villages. Such dispersed settlement in an area, usually a township or parish, is defined by the lack of a single (or principal) nucleated settlement focus such as a village and the presence instead of small settlement units (small hamlets or farmsteads) spread across the area. These small settlements normally have a degree of interconnection with their close neighbours, for example, in relation to shared common land or road systems. Dispersed settlements varied enormously from region to region, but where they survive as earthworks their distinguishing features include roads and other minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In areas where stone was used for building, the outline of building foundations may still be clearly visible. Communal areas of the settlements frequently include features such as bakehouses, pinfolds and ponds. Areas of dispersed medieval settlement are found in both the South Eastern and Northern and Western Provinces of England. They are found in upland and also some lowland areas. Where found, their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. The medieval farmstead at Pilchers represents the predominant dispersed form of medieval rural settlement within the Eastern Weald sub-Province. The farmstead survives well, in association with its contemporary field system, exhibiting little subsequent disturbance. Field investigation has indicated that the monument will retain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the original use and abandonment of the farmstead.


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


The monument includes an abandoned medieval farmstead and an area of associated small fields, or closes. It is situated near the north western edge of Romney Marsh on low-lying, artificially drained land around 1.3km north east of Snargate. The farmstead lies within the south eastern corner of the monument and survives as an area of raised, uneven ground containing buried building foundations and associated below ground remains. Pottery fragments and building debris found here during field investigation have been dated to the 14th century. The associated closes cover the remainder of the monument in an irregular grid pattern and take the form of at least six small rectangular fields enclosed by ditches which are now dry. Two local maps dating to 1653 and 1721 depict the farmstead buildings, and later cartographic sources indicate that the farmstead had become abandoned and was demolished by the mid-18th century. The monument is recorded as Old House Field in the Tithe Award of 1840. The wooden sheepfold situated in the south eastern corner of the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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: 31416

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Reeves, A, Romney Marsh Earthworks Survey 1995, (1996)

End of official listing