Early medieval settlement, palace, church and Bronze Age ring ditches 340m east of Cowage Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018389

Date first listed: 30-Mar-1984

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of Early medieval settlement, palace, church and Bronze Age ring ditches 340m east of Cowage Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1018389 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 13-Dec-2018 at 16:32:15.


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Norton

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Paul Malmesbury Without

National Grid Reference: ST 90724 86014, ST 90745 86190


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 Cotswold Scarp and Vales sub-Province of the Central Province, a scarp and vale landscape extending south eastwards from the clays and alluvium of the Severn Plain, over the limestones of the Cotswolds to the Oxford Clay Vale. Villages and hamlets concentrate thickly in the Severn Valley and the Vale of Pewsey, but are only moderately dense elsewhere. They are most thinly scattered on the higher ridge of the north east Cotswolds, an area where in 1851 there were low populations and frequent deserted villages. Overall, there are very low concentrations of dispersed farmsteads, the only exceptions being the Vale of Pewsey and the Upper Avon and Thames watershed.

The Early Medieval settlement near Cowage Farm is a good example of this rare type of monument preserved beneath the ploughline. Partial excavation has shown it will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The Bronze Age burial monuments demonstrate continuity of use over some 3000 years.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes the remains of an early medieval or Saxon settlement, palace, church and Bronze Age ring ditches located to the east and south east of Cowage Farm on the south bank of the River Avon, 3km south west of Malmesbury. On the north side of the road the site is visible largely as cropmarks which indicate the outline of a number of rectangular buildings, each about 14m long and 7m wide, occupying a small limestone plateau overlooking the flood plain of the river. Amongst these is a substantial hall aligned north-south with annexes at either end. Associated with this are a number of fenced enclosures. To the east of the main group of buildings is a rectangular ditched enclosure containing a large structure aligned east-west with an apse on the east end interpreted as a church. To the east of this are a further four rectangular structures scattered over a wide area. On the south side of the road the fenced enclosures continue and there are another two rectangular buildings as well as two earlier ring ditches or levelled Bronze Age burial mounds, one appearing to be segmented. Towards the flood plain of the river, where the field is under pasture there is a further feature visible as an earthwork, interpreted as a substantial platform 25m long and 15m wide overlooking the river. The platform has a hollow in the middle interpreted as evidence of robbing. Partial excavation has revealed that the site represents a settlement of Middle Saxon date including a substantial hall and church standing in its own enclosure. All fence posts 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: 31645

Legacy System: RSM


Hinchcliffe, J, Cowage Farm Foxley Wiltshire : An interim report, 1983,
Hinchcliffe, J, Cowage Farm Foxley Wiltshire : An interim report, 1983,

End of official listing