Hill Deverill medieval settlement
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Oct-2019 at 05:47:04.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
- Longbridge Deverill
- National Grid Reference:
- ST 86550 40211, ST 86750 40241
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 past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the East Wessex sub-Province of the south-eastern
Province, an area in which settlement characteristics are shaped by strong
contrasts in terrain. This is seen in the division between the chalk Downs,
where chains of nucleated settlements concentrate in the valleys, and the
Hampshire Basin, still dominated by the woodlands and open commons of the
ancient New Forest, where nucleated sites are largely absent. Along the
coastal strip extending into Sussex are more nucleations, while in Hampshire
some coastal areas and inland valleys are marked by high densities of
dispersed settlement, much of it post-medieval.
The Hampshire Downs and Salisbury Plain local region is a distinctive, large
area with extremely low densities of dispersed settlement on the chalk, and
dense strings of villages, hamlets and farmsteads concentrated in the valleys.
Fieldwork has shown that these, together with associated earthworks, date from
many periods, reflecting the long and complex history of settlement in these
`preferred zones' within an area generally deficient in surface water.
Hill Deverill medieval settlement is well preserved and is a good example of its class, displaying particularly substantial and well defined features. The settlement is well documented from the early medieval period onwards.
The monument, which falls into two areas of protection divided by the B3095
road, includes an area of abandoned settlement which formed the original focus
of the medieval village of Hill Deverill. The modern settlement of Hill
Deverill is to the north, and joins onto the south side of the larger village
of Longbridge Deverill.
The settlement remains consist of well defined earthworks on a slight south
east facing slope of Upper Chalk to the west of Hill Deverill Manor House. The
major part of the settlement, which lies to the west of the B3095, is divided
by a well defined hollow way up to 2.9m deep and 12m wide, extending north
west to south east for a length of 340m. Either side of the hollow way are a
series of linear banks and scarps running WNW-ESE representing medieval field
boundaries. These continue on the eastern side of the B3095.
To the south of the hollow way these boundaries are overlain by traces of
settlement comprising three rows of tofts, each consisting of sub-rectangular
hollowed areas up to 30m wide and 50m long containing one or more sub-
rectangular hollows or platforms representing the sites of buildings. The
tofts are joined by slight hollow ways up to 8m wide. The open areas between
the tofts are interpreted as crofts or enclosed areas of land adjacent to the
To the north of the hollow way a single large toft contains three sub-
rectangular platforms. To the east of this and to the rear of four modern
houses are two large rectangular enclosures defined by linear banks and
ditches representing paddocks.
Hill Deverill was first mentioned in the Domesday Book when it comprised two
separate holdings both valued at 60 shillings. During the medieval period the
economic base of the village was open field agriculture with some element of
craft specialisation associated with the local woollen industry. Enclosure by
Edmund Ludlow in the 17th century led to a loss of livelihood for the
villagers and by 1773 the area now occupied by the earthworks was devoid of
All fenceposts and cattle troughs 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
Colt Hoare, R, The Ancient History of Wiltshire: Volume I, (1812), 49
Powell, U J, 'The Wiltshire Archeological and Natural History Magazine' in A Sketch of the History of Hill Deverill, , Vol. 28, (1894), 235-257
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