Group of medieval strip lynchets at Knitson Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019950

Date first listed: 29-Jan-1959

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Nov-2001


Ordnance survey map of Group of medieval strip lynchets at Knitson Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 10-Dec-2018 at 06:09:59.


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

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Langton Matravers

National Grid Reference: SZ 00652 80828


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

Reasons for Designation

Strip lynchets provide distinctive indications of medieval cultivation. They occur widely in southern and south eastern England, and represent prominent features on the Wessex chalkland. Strip lynchets, which are characterised by the presence of terraces known as `treads' and scarps known as `risers', can vary in length, with some examples exceeding 200m, many systems include groups of three lynchets, while others are known to contain six or more. The group of medieval strip lynchets at Knitson Farm are well-preserved and represent part of the open field system associated with the medieval settlement at Knitson. The twin alignment of the lynchets at right angles to one another along the same slope represents an unusual feature. The lynchets will provide an important insight into the medieval farming practices of the area. They are well documented and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


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


The monument includes a group of medieval strip lynchets situated on a south-facing slope at Knitson Farm. The lynchets, which now survive across an area of about 2ha, include a series of cultivation terraces which were produced by medieval ploughing. The lynchets developed as a result of the plough cutting into the upper edge of the slope and the resulting material being deposited along the downslope edge of the terrace. The surviving earthworks include two main components: scarps or `risers' and the terraces or `treads'. The strip lynchets at Knitson occur upon two alignments set at right angles to one another. To the west, a group of three lynchets are aligned north-south against the gradient of the slope. Here the lynchets include treads 100m long, between 8m to 20m wide with risers between about 1m to 1.5m high. To the east, another group of three lynchets are aligned east-west along the slope. These treads are 180m long, between 5m to 25m wide, with risers between about 1m to 1.5m high. The lynchets accord with the pattern of fields illustrated in a Tithe Map of 1841. They originally formed part of a more extensive medieval field system, which is known from aerial photographic evidence to have extended over an area of about 36ha, although much of this has since been reduced by ploughing. Excluded from the scheduling are all gate and fence posts which relate to the modern field boundaries, 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: 33193

Legacy System: RSM


Mention Tithe Map,

End of official listing