Medieval farmstead at Downash, 300m north east of Freshfield Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016771

Date first listed: 02-Jan-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Medieval farmstead at Downash, 300m north east of Freshfield Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

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 - 1016771 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 18:45:30.


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

County: East Sussex

District: Wealden (District Authority)

Parish: Hailsham

National Grid Reference: TQ 59175 07802


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 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 Province and the Northern and Western Province 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 300m north east of Freshfield Farm represents the predominant dispersed form of medieval rural settlement within the Eastern Weald sub-Province. The farmstead survives well, in association with its contemporary closes, exhibiting little subsequent disturbance. Field investigation has confirmed that the monument will retain 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 the remains of a medieval farmstead and an area of associated closes, or small fields, situated on a clay hill which rises immediately to the north of the Pevensey Levels, around 1.5km south of Hailsham. The farmstead and closes survive in the form of earthworks and below ground remains. Field investigation has located the farmstead near the south western corner of the monument, where it is visible as a terraced, rectangular platform edged with low banks. The associated closes cover the remainder of the monument in an irregular pattern and take the form of at least four small fields or yards enclosed by shallow banks and ditches. A large surface scatter of medieval pottery fragments discovered on the ground surface within the monument indicates that the farmstead was a permanent dwelling in long-term use.

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: 31423

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Gillian Hurst, D, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Note, , Vol. 8, (1964), 294
4/12/1960 sortie 543/1105, MOD, NMR Lib No.2000, print 24, (1960)

End of official listing