Dispersed medieval settlement remains at Chapel Wood


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018787

Date first listed: 20-Apr-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Dispersed medieval settlement remains at Chapel Wood
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 01:02:46.


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

County: Kent

District: Ashford (District Authority)

Parish: Charing

National Grid Reference: TQ 97179 50944


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. The North Downs and High Downs local regions are `chalklands' which have been grouped together, despite having distinct settlement characteristics when analysed in detail. The High Downs have only low densities of dispersed settlement, while the North Downs have high and very high densities. Some parts of the North Downs contain hamlets with names including `green', indicators of woodland settlement.

In some areas of medieval England settlement was dispersed across the landscape rather than nucleated into villages. Such dispersed settlement in an area, usually a township or parish, is defined by the lack of a single (or principal) nucleated settlement focus such as a village and the presence instead of small settlement units (small hamlets or farmsteads) spread across the area. These small settlements normally have a degree of interconnection with their close neighbours, for example, in relation to shared common land or road systems. Dispersed settlements varied enormously from region to region, but where they survive as earthworks their distinguishing features include roads and other minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In areas where stone was used for building, the outline of building foundations may still be clearly visible. Communal areas of the settlements frequently include features such as bakehouses, pinfolds and ponds. Areas of dispersed medieval settlement are found in both the South Eastern Province and Northern and Western Province of England. They are found in upland and also some lowland areas. Where found, their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest.

The settlement remains in Chapel Wood represent the predominant, dispersed form of medieval rural settlement in the North and High Downs local regions. The settlement remains survive well, retaining visible earthworks. Field survey and part excavation have indicated that the monument contains archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the original form, development and abandonment of the settlement.


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


The monument includes the remains of a dispersed medieval settlement situated on a chalk hill which forms part of the Kent Downs, around 2.25km north east of Charing.

The settlement, which survives in the form of earthworks and associated below ground remains, is enclosed by an irregular defensive circuit. This is visible as a bank up to 4m wide and 1m high, surrounded by a ditch up to 5m wide and 0.5m deep. Investigations, including a detailed survey carried out in 1988, indicate that the focus of the settlement lies in the western sector of the monument. Part excavation in 1971 revealed the flint footings of an `L'-shaped building ranged around the north eastern and south eastern sides of a roughly square yard. The analysis of pottery fragments found during the excavation suggests that the building was in use during the 13th and early 14th centuries. Leading into the courtyard from the north west is a hollow way. Surrounding the courtyard is a group of roughly rectangular earthworks representing further buildings, small enclosed fields and associated features, some of which extend beyond the northern boundary of the main enclosure.

Historical records suggest that the monument is the manorial centre of Eversley, one of several operating within the larger manor of Charing during the 13th and 14th centuries.

The medieval earthworks have been partly disturbed by later, post-medieval and modern activities, including the excavation of several dene holes for chalk extraction. A small part of the eastern edge of the medieval defensive ditch has been damaged by the installation of a modern cesspit, and this area is therefore not included in the scheduling.

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: 31402

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
RCHME, , Chapel Wood, Charing, (1988)
Winzar, PM, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in A Charing Mission Manor, , Vol. 87, (1972), 221-223

End of official listing