Medieval settlement and associated field systems west of Brook Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019386

Date first listed: 24-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement and associated field systems west of Brook Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 05:27:40.


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Dilton Marsh

National Grid Reference: ST 85148 51955, ST 85320 51701


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 medieval settlement of Brook and its associated field systems represent a succinct and complete example of a small rural settlement in the low lying clay vale of Wiltshire. As well as the settlement itself, two contrasting forms of medieval land use are represented; the typical strip field system and a less common division of the land into paddocks, probably associated with forest clearance.


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


The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes the medieval settlement of Brook, a manor house site and associated field systems located on a slight east facing slope of Oxford Clay dropping to the Biss Brook, 2km west of Westbury. The settlement is centred around a large hollow way which runs north to south at the base of the slope for a length of 550m, rising across the ridge to the south. At the northernmost end of the site, a branch of the hollow way runs westwards up the slope for a further 110m. Fronting onto the central section of the hollow way to the west are five earthen house platforms. These are terraced into the slope but are built up to a height of 0.75m to the east and are divided by slight trackways. To the west of these, small areas defined by slight scarps probably represent back yards or gardens. North of the area of settlement a series of large paddocks are situated on the slope to the west of the hollow way. These are defined by ditches up to 0.4m deep, some with accompanying banks. The northernmost paddock is bounded to the north by the western branch of the hollow way. The paddocks are large and rectangular in contrast to the typical strip fields of the medieval period and may represent patches cleared from the Forest of Selwood. South of Brook Lane the character of the settlement changes. Located at the top of the slope, a large platform standing up to 0.7m high is the site of a manor house which is depicted on the 1773 Andrews and Dury map of Wiltshire. The platform measures 50m from north to south but is cut into two parts by a later hedge bank. Below the platform running down the slope, a series of slight scarps and hollows are interpreted as the remains of the formal garden of the house. The main hollow way continues at the base of the slope, while another runs parallel 35m to the east linking Brook Lane and the large platform. At the bottom of the slope and continuing to the east are a series of well defined ridges, up to 0.5m high and 6m wide running north-south, divided by furrows 0.5m deep and 5m wide. These represent strip fields which would have been farmed individually by villagers from Brook. At either end the strips end in a large earthen bank, known as a headland, both now occupied by hedges. The headland to the north curves to follow the line of a small track branching from Brook Lane. Brook is first recorded in 1228 in forest inquisitions and by 1377, poll tax returns indicate a small settlement. The manor of Brook stood approximately 1km to the north, now the site of Brook Manor Farm. By the 1773 Andrew's and Dury map of Wiltshire, the settlement had shrunk to a single large house on the platform to the south of the present lane. It now survives as two farms. The site was surveyed in detail in 1998. All fenceposts and cattle troughs 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: 34182

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Corney, M, Brook Farm, Dilton Marsh An analytical earthwork survey, (1998)
Corney, M, Brook Farm, Dilton Marsh An analytical earthwork survey, (1998)
Corney, M, Brook Farm, Dilton Marsh An analytical earthwork survey, (1998)
Title: Andrew's and Durey's Map of Wiltshire Source Date: 1793 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Map No 7
Title: Andrew's and Dury's Map of Wiltshire Source Date: 1773 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Map no 7

End of official listing