Medieval settlement of Whaddon, 260m west of Whaddon Grove Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Whaddon, Hilperton, Wiltshire


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement of Whaddon, 260m west of Whaddon Grove Farm
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Statutory Address:
Whaddon, Hilperton, Wiltshire

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

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


The earthwork and buried remains of a medieval settlement at Whaddon.

Reasons for Designation

Whaddon Medieval settlement is scheduled for the following principal reasons: * Survival: the earthworks of the medieval settlement survive well and contain good features such as building platforms and a hollow way displaying the occupation of the site during the medieval period; * Documentation: the medieval site is well documented both through historical documents and aerial photography, lidar imagery and recent survey work which has contributed to our understanding of the site; * Potential: the settlement contains the potential to provide further evidence to increase our understanding of the character and occupation medieval settlements; * Group value: the settlement has group value with the adjacent Church of St Mary the Virgin (Grade II*) which contains medieval fabric from the C12.


Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great diversity in form, size and type. They typically comprise a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets, paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community devoted primarily to agriculture. The Historic England Introduction to Heritage Assets document on Medieval Settlements (May 2011) explains that most villages were established in the C9 and C10, but modified following the Norman invasion to have planned layouts comprising tofts and crofts running back from a main road, often linked with a back lane around the rear of the crofts, and typically having a church and manor house in larger compartments at the end of the village. Although many villages continue to be occupied to the present day, some 2000 nationally were abandoned in the medieval and post-medieval periods and others have shrunken. Abandonment may have occurred as early as the C11 or continued into the C20, although it seems to have peaked during the C14 and C15. In recognising the great regional diversity of medieval rural settlements in England, Roberts and Wrathmell (2003) divided the country 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.

The settlement at Whaddon is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, where the settlement is described as being held by Saxon Lord Alvric of Melksham. The settlement at the time was relatively small in size and was described as being occupied by 6 households. The settlement appears to have become prosperous over the following centuries and by 1306 there was a fulling mill, which indicates there were weavers at Whaddon.

In 1332 Whaddon was taxed for 43s 6d, indicating that the settlement was still relatively prosperous. Yet in 1377 Whaddon is omitted from poll tax returns, suggesting that the settlement was more or less eradicated by the outbreak of the Black Death in 1348-9.

Whaddon was acquired by Thomas Long in 1543 and a family manor house was built to the east of the deserted settlement site in 1575. The building is believed to have burned down in 1835 and the site is now occupied by Whaddon Grove Farm.

During the National Archaeological Identification Survey Lowland Pilot Project in West Wiltshire (2013-15) the earthworks were transcribed from a low resolution (2m) lidar (laser-based remote-sensing method used to examine the surface of the Earth) derived image. This information revealed that the earthworks survive slightly further to the south east than originally thought.

Historic England’s National Archaeological Identification Survey Lowland Pilot Project in West Wiltshire identified further earthworks 180m to the west of the scheduled area which indicates there was originally a hollow way running from east to west approaching the village. The survey also identified a series of earthworks to the south west of the site, however this section is fragmented from the main settlement and not enough information is known about its date.


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the earthwork remains of the medieval settlement are situated in the hamlet of Whaddon, approximately 2.5 miles to the north east of Trowbridge. The monument sits on a small ridge of Oxford Clay overlooking the river Avon where it is joined by Semington Brook. The monument is situated to the east of the Church of St Mary the Virgin (Grade II*).

DESCRIPTION: the monument includes the earthworks and archaeological remains of a medieval settlement including tofts, crofts and hollow way running east to west. The site is divided by a modern track to access Whaddon Grove Farm to the east and is bordered by agricultural fields to the south which have been ploughed. A hollow way is visible running east to west across the ridge with house platforms visible to either side. The earthworks are bordered by a boundary bank to the south and east, whilst the north of the settlement slopes down to the river Avon and Semington Brook.

The scheduling boundaries include 2m protective margins around each of the features for their support and protection.

EXCLUSIONS: all fence posts, water troughs and the modern track to access Whaddon Grove Farm are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Open Domesday 'Whaddon', accessed 2nd February 2017 from
West Wiltshire: National Archaeological Identification Survey Lowland Pilot Project Report, accessed 2 February 2017 from
Wiltshire Community History, 'Hilperton', accessed 2nd February 2017 from
Wiltshire Historic Environment Record, Whaddon, accessed 30 March 2017 from
Wiltshire Record Society, 'The Wiltshire Tax List of 1332', accessed 2nd February 2017 from


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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