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Medieval settlement at Holworth

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Medieval settlement at Holworth

List entry Number: 1016727

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Chaldon Herring

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Owermoigne

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 28-Jul-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jul-1999

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29090

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 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.

The medieval settlement at Holworth survives as a series of well preserved earthworks and associated deposits. The site is notable for the quality of earthwork survival and the diversity of the forms represented. The settlement is known from partial excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence which relates to the construction, use and development of the settlement as well as its associated economy.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the site of an abandoned medieval settlement at Holworth, situated on the lower north-facing slope of a shallow valley, opposite the South Dorset Ridge. The settlement probably represents the medieval village of either North Holworth or East Holworth, and was certainly one of three Holworths recorded within the parish which belonged to Milton Abbey from 933. Holworth is recorded in the Lay Roll Subsidy of 1333 when at least 14 residents are mentioned. The settlement survives as a series of earthworks which extend over an area of about 5ha, composed of clays and grits (known as Wealden Beds) which are characterised by poor natural drainage. The extent of the settlement was largely determined by local topography: it is bounded by a steep slope to the south and by the extent of low-lying ground to the north and west. The main street of the settlement was aligned east to west and survives as a hollow way visible as an earthwork 2m wide and about 0.5m deep. To the north, this is lined by seven roughly square enclosures (or tofts), each of which included a house, outbuildings and a garden. The tofts are about 25m square, most have an entrance to the north west with the building to the north east. At the rear of each toft is a croft (or strip field), aligned north to south and which vary in size from between 85m by 21m to 91m by 30m. Each croft is divided by a bank 8m to 10m wide and about 0.5m to 0.65m high. The crofts lead towards an area of water meadow and as there are no traces of ploughing, it is likely that the crofts formed pastures. To the south of the hollow way are three platforms and terraces occupying higher ground, these are likely to represent the sites of larger buildings such as the manor and church. To the south, at the summit of the slope, a track 1.5m to 3m wide runs along the base of a possible lynchet (which may be a remnant of an earlier field system). The track joins with a further example 1m wide and aligned north to south along the periphery of a large sunken terrace. The north western area of the settlement contains the site of a pond which is still waterlogged and a dew pond survives on higher ground to the west. The site was first excavated by the Rev D Dixey and Mr H Dewar in 1936, when a triangular platform associated with dressed stones and a quantity of 13th century pottery was discovered. In 1958, the partial excavation of a toft enclosure at the eastern end of the group was conducted by P Rahtz. The excavation included approximately one third of the toft; this revealed at least two phases of occupation. The earliest remains included traces of a timber built structure with wattle and daub walls, associated with 12th and 13th century pottery. This was overlain by a stone founded structure associated with 14th and 15th century pottery. The stone structure had a plan of 21m by 4.8m and was divided into three areas. It consisted of gravel flooring, a timber superstructure and a roof of blue slates imported from Cornwall. Beneath the building was a network of drainage channels which showed signs of regular cleaning out and recutting and which resulted in the creation of a silt mound at the eastern end of the building. Similar drainage features were associated with the toft, the banks of which may have resulted from successive recutting of the drainage channels. Finds from the excavations included over 14,000 sherds of pottery, as well as bronze and iron artefacts including keys, door hasps, spurs and a variety of tools. The finds are now held at the Dorset County Museum. All fence posts and gates 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 35
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 35
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 35
Rahtz, P A, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Excavations at the medieval village of Holworth in 1958, , Vol. Vol 80, (1958), 103-105
Rahtz, P A, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Excavations at the medieval village of Holworth in 1958, , Vol. Vol 80, (1958), 103-105
Rahtz, P A, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Excavations at the medieval village of Holworth in 1958, , Vol. Vol 80, (1958), 103-105
Rahtz, P A, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Excavations at the medieval village of Holworth in 1958, , Vol. Vol 80, (1958), 103-105
Rahtz, P A, 'Proc Dorset Nat Hist Arch Soc' in Excavations at the medieval village of Holworth in 1958, , Vol. Vol 80, (1958), 103-105
Other
Dewpond to the west of settlement,

National Grid Reference: SY 77069 83265

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1016727 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2017 at 10:11:59.

End of official listing