Medieval settlement of North Louvard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019411

Date first listed: 24-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement of North Louvard
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This copy shows the entry on 11-Dec-2018 at 01:07:45.


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

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Piddlehinton

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Puddletown

National Grid Reference: SY 72619 95882


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 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 South Dorset local region is a diverse countryside comprising the South Dorset Downs and narrow limestone ridges and clay vales which curve around the chalk escarpments. Settlement is characterised by low concentrations of scattered farmsteads, and small villages and hamlets: ancient settlements whose arable fields were, on the evidence of Domesday Book, set among substantial tracts of pasture and woodland in the 11th century.

The medieval settlement of North Louvard survives well as a series of well- preserved earthworks and associated buried remains and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the associated landscape. The settlement remains are further complimented by the presence of water meadows within the adjacent area of the valley bottom. Muston forms one of several medieval settlement sites within the Piddle valley and, together, these will provide an insight into the economy of the area throughout the medieval and successive periods.


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


The monument includes the site of the deserted medieval settlement of North Louvard at Muston, situated on the northern terrace of the River Piddle. The settlement is one of several in the Piddle valley mentioned in the Domesday Survey. The site was recorded by J Hutchins in 1774, by which time it had been deserted. The settlement, which occupied an elevated river terrace and is aligned north west by south east, survives as a series of earthworks which extend over an area of about 4ha. It includes five artificial platforms or terraces which range from 20m-30m in length and between 20m-40m in width. These are likely to represent `closes' or individual property plots. To the south west, a hollow way runs parallel to the river and this may represent the main route through the settlement. A series of low earthworks on the lower floodplain of the river, to the south west of the settlement, are likely to represent an area of water meadow. These features are of an uncertain date, but are likely to post-date the medieval settlement. The area of the water meadow which occupies the archaeologically sensitive area lying between the settlement and the river is included in the scheduling. Historical documentation records that the manor and `hamlet' at Muston (also known variously as `Piddle Musterton' or `Mousterton') was awarded to Cerne Abbey by King Edgar of the West Saxons. Hutchins records that the manor had pasture for 100 ewes, four rams and that the right to hay belonged to Cerne Abbey. The cause of the desertion is uncertain, but many settlements in this area are known to have gradually declined. All gates and fence posts of modern field boundaries 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: 33185

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 210-211
Hutchins, J, A History of Dorset, (1774)

End of official listing