Lower Woolston medieval settlement


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Lower Woolston medieval settlement
© 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.
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Sep-2019 at 09:25:58.


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

South Somerset (District Authority)
North Cadbury
South Somerset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 65578 27411

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 Somerset Levels and Polden Hills local region is divided into two parts by the low ridge of the Poldens. Settlements are few on the wide green wetlands, but the land is intricate enough to bring ridges, islands and tongues of higher land into close contact with the Levels. It is at the junction between these dry lands and wetlands that ancient villages and hamlets are to be found.

The medieval settlement of Lower Woolston has prominent earthworks which mark the locations of village features. These earthworks and additional buried remains will contain archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating to the settlement and the agricultural landscape in which it was situated. Evidence of medieval agriculture and water management features are associated with the settlement, and their relationship to the settlement is an essential element in understanding the site.


The monument includes a medieval settlement on the lower slopes of a south east facing hillside in south Somerset. The land slopes from the higher ground on the north west to the lower ground adjacent to a tributary of the River Cam to the south east. The settlement includes earthworks indicating the sites of houses and other village features, areas of medieval agriculture and water management features. On the higher part of the slope are a number of fields or enclosures with banks 0.75m high and 3m wide. A hollow way about 1m deep and 2m wide runs north east-south west below the enclosures. This has about six house platforms on the north west side, each about 15m wide, running back into the hillside. Below this, on the lower ground, there are water management features which take advantage of overspill from the river. These water management features follow the line of the river along the valley bottom and include a bank 1m high parallel to the river which acts as a barrier to prevent water reaching the level of the house platforms. At the north east end there is a second bank closer to the river, 1m high and 7m wide, which is thought to be a water catchment system. At the south east end there is an enclosure bordering the river. Documentary evidence indicates that this settlement was independent of the manor of Yarlington. The settlement is also mentioned in 14th century documents. The post and wire fences which are part of the field boundaries and the field gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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:


SMR No 54732, Somerset C. C. SMR,


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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