Medieval settlement 350m east of West Burton Dairy


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016726

Date first listed: 17-Aug-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement 350m east of West Burton Dairy
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Feb-2019 at 19:48:55.


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

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Winfrith Newburgh

National Grid Reference: SY 82396 85918

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 West Wessex sub-Province of the Central Province, an area characterised by large numbers of villages and hamlets within countrysides of great local diversity, ranging from flat marshland to hill ridges. Settlements range from large, sprawling villages to tiny hamlets, a range extended by large numbers of scattered dwellings in the extreme east and west of the sub-Province. Cultivation in open townfields was once present, but early enclosure was commonplace. The physical diversity of the landscape was, by the time of Domesday Book in 1086, linked with great variations in the balance of cleared land and woodland. The South Dorset local region is a diverse countryside comprising the South Dorset Downs and narrow limestone ridges and clay vales which curve around the chalk escarpments. Settlement is characterised by low concentrations of scattered farmsteads, and small villages and hamlets: ancient settlements whose arable fields were, on the evidence of Domesday Book, set among substantial tracts of pasture and woodland in the 11th century.

Despite some ploughing, the medieval settlement at West Burton survives comparatively well and includes some well defined earthworks. It is known to contain archaeological remains which relate to the construction and use of the settlement and this, along with associated environmental evidence will also provide evidence of the associated economy.


The monument includes the site of an abandoned medieval settlement at West Burton, situated on a knoll, overlooking the Frome Valley to the north. The settlement probably represents the medieval hamlet of `West Burton' mentioned in Charter Rolls of 1279. The site, which was located by N Field in 1966, survives as a series of earthworks which extend over about 4.5ha. The settlement occurs on the edge of heathland and lies immediately to the north of the primary route between the medieval towns of Dorchester and Wareham. A hollow way, aligned south east by north west, represents the course of a street and it is visible as an earthwork 5m-6m wide and about 0.5m deep. This is flanked by at least ten small rectangular enclosures, or tofts, all of which are bounded by low banks and contain flint, carstone and limestone rubble relating to former buildings. The hollow way formed a `T' junction with the medieval road to the south, a remnant of which was recorded as a hollow way aligned east west prior to destruction by the realignment of the A352 in 1966. Historical documentation records at least five tenants at West Burton in 1309, at least seven tenants or freeholders at the hamlet in 1318 and also attests occupation at the site in 1333. During the later 14th century, the hamlet and its associated land was granted to Bindon Abbey, after which the history of the site becomes obscure. Historical sources indicate that the area formed woodland by 1540 and it is probable that the settlement had become deserted by this time. The site has yielded a number of surface finds including a range of pottery dating from the 12th to 14th centuries. All gates and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 29089

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Field, N H, Taylor, C C, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Deserted Medieval Settlement of West Burton, Winfrith Newburgh, , Vol. Vol 88, (1966), 117-8
Field, N H, Taylor, C C, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Deserted Medieval Settlement of West Burton, Winfrith Newburgh, , Vol. Vol 88, (1966), 117-8
Field, N H, Taylor, C C, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Deserted Medieval Settlement of West Burton, Winfrith Newburgh, , Vol. Vol 88, (1966), 117-8
Field, N H, Taylor, C C, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Deserted Medieval Settlement of West Burton, Winfrith Newburgh, , Vol. Vol 88, (1966), 117-8

End of official listing