Medieval settlement immediately west of Waterston House


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement immediately west of Waterston House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Sep-2019 at 13:26:14.


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

West Dorset (District Authority)
West Dorset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SY 73206 95212

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 immediately west of Waterston House survives as a well preserved series of earthworks and associated buried remains, and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the associated landscape. The settlement remains are further complemented by the presence of the water meadow structures within the adjacent area of the valley bottom. Waterston medieval settlement remains represent one of several surviving settlement sites within the Piddle Valley, and together these will provide an insight into the economy of the valley throughout the medieval period.


The monument includes the site of the medieval settlement of Waterston, which lies to the west of Waterston House, situated on the southern terrace of the River Piddle. This is one of several medieval settlements within the Piddle Valley mentioned in the Domesday Survey. The site, which was recorded by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England in 1970, survives as a series of earthworks which extend over an area of about 2ha. The settlement area occupies the elevated area of the river terrace, it is aligned south east by north west and includes six artificial platforms which range between 10m and 30m in length and between 10m and 20m in width. These represent `closes' or individual property plots. To the north, a terrace representing a road 5m wide runs along the edge of the settlement. There is a series of low earthworks on the floodplain of the river which relate to water meadows, and to the north west, also on the floodplain, is a large fishpond which is also likely to be contemporary with the medieval settlement. These features are included in the scheduling. Historical documentation records 18 taxpayers in 1327, 12 men in 1539 and ten households in 1662, suggesting a relatively stable population throughout the period. The date and cause of the final abandonment is uncertain, but it would seem to have been a gradual process. All gates and fence posts relating to the modern field boundaries 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 230


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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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