Dispersed medieval settlement remains at Frog Firle, 290m south east of Tile Barn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019284

Date first listed: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Dispersed medieval settlement remains at Frog Firle, 290m south east of Tile Barn
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: East Sussex

District: Wealden (District Authority)

Parish: Alfriston

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 51841 01480


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 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 Coastlands local region extends from a flat plain inland of Selsey Bill to low chalk cliffs east of Brighton. The roots of settlement are extremely ancient, and late 18th century maps suggest a balanced mixture of farmsteads, hamlets and villages, concentrated in the western portion of the region.

Medieval dispersed settlements, comprising hamlets of up to five dwellings or isolated farmsteads, were scattered throughout the parish or township. Often occuring in the more densely wooded, less intensively farmed areas, the form and status of dispersed settlements varied enormously. When they survive as earthworks, their most easily distinguishable features include roads and tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, and the enclosed fields or irregular field systems with which the dwellings were associated. These rural settlements can also be represented by below ground deposits. Higher status dwellings, such as moated residences or manorial complexes, may have well-defined boundaries and planned gardens. In the western and south eastern provinces of England, dispersed settlements were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life, and 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 dispersed medieval settlement remains at Frog Firle, 290m south east of Tile Barn represent the dispersed form of medieval rural settlement prevalent within the Coastlands local region. The settlement remains survive well, and field survey indicates that the monument will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence for the development and abandonment of the medieval settlement, and the way of life of its inhabitants.


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 low spur, which projects from the Sussex Downs, on the western banks of the Cuckmere River, around 2km north east of Seaford. The settlement survives in the form of earthworks and associated buried remains. The earthworks stand to a height of up to 1.3m and represent a series of at least six adjoining, ENE-WSW aligned rectangular enclosures, identified as a manorial complex with associated contemporary buildings. The settlement is entered from the west, by a slightly sunken trackway which passes through the centre of the site, and joins the banks of the river to the east. Historical records suggest that the settlement was abandoned, and the area divided into fields, by the mid-17th century. At this time, a barn was in use within the area of the medieval settlement remains, and its surviving flint and chalk rubble footings, measuring around 23m in length and 11m wide, may represent the remains of an earlier, medieval building, within the north western enclosure.

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: 32280

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Martin, D, Landscape survey: Lower Courts earthwork enclosures, Frog Firle, (1993)

End of official listing