Hill Deverill medieval settlement


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Hill Deverill medieval settlement
© 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-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 houses. 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 settlement. 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.

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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
RCHME, (1989)


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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