Maperton 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-Sep-2019 at 06:21:27.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- South Somerset (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- ST 67461 26354
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
The medieval settlement of Maperton 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 constructed.
The monument includes a medieval settlement built on the slope of a north west
facing hillside in south Somerset.
The settlement includes earthworks indicating the sites of houses and other
village features and areas of medieval agriculture in the form of ridge and
furrow. The settlement is aligned north west-south east down the hillside,
with the settlement features to the south spreading down the hill to meet the
arable fields at the lower end of the slope. The area of occupation earthworks
at the southern end of the field leads into two parallel hollow ways running
north west down the field. At their lower ends the hollow ways become ditches
which divide parts of the field system.
At the south end of the settlement there are a number of house platforms
linked by a hollow way which branches to the north and east. Also in this area
is a large depression 16m north-south, 24m east-west and 1.5m deep which is
thought to be a village pond. On the east side of the pond there is a house
platform 1m high, 8m wide and 16m long north-south. To the south east of this
there are another three house platforms each about 0.5m high and 16m square.
To the south of the settlement area is a bank 1m high which demarcates the
southern end of the settlement. Each of the two parallel hollow ways running
north have house platforms on their west sides. The west hollow way is about
1m deep and 2m wide, with house platforms 0.75m high. The house platforms here
stop a little way down the slope with a large open area to their north. The
parallel hollow ways are 16m apart, and the four house platforms between them
are about 6m wide appearing as a series of terraces. About halfway down the
slope the hollow ways give rise to ditches on the same alignment forming three
fields. The ditches are 1m wide and form a series of steps with each field to
the west being 1m higher than the field to the east. East of the eastern
hollow way the earthworks are much slighter, but evidence of field divisions
can be seen running north east-south west,and a long field division 1m wide
and 0.3m deep running north west-south east.
Documentary evidence indicates that nine people paid lay subsidy in 1327. It
is also mentioned in the 1569 Certificate of Musters, and called an `obscure
village' in 1633. In the 1665-6 Hearth Tax entry it is recorded as having 17
houses, the largest with seven hearths.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are post and wire
fences which are part of field boundaries, iron field gates and a concrete
trough base sunk into the ground, although the ground beneath them is
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 54202, 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