Medieval settlement of Winterborne Farringdon and associated remains


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020550

Date first listed: 08-Jun-1959

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Feb-2002


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement of Winterborne Farringdon and associated remains
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Winterborne Came

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Winterborne Herringston

National Grid Reference: SY 69817 88240


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 medieval settlement at Winterborne Farringdon survives as a group of well- preserved earthworks and associated buried remains, and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the associated landscape. The construction of the folly at the church site is unusual and significant because it has reused original stonework. There is some potential for the survival of waterlogged deposits along the stream edge which is unusual for the area. The survival of the adjacent area of field system and the associated trackways will also provide an important insight into medieval farming practices and the economy of the area.


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


The monument includes the site of a deserted medieval settlement and part of an associated field system and trackways at Winterborne Farringdon, situated within the South Winterborne valley. The settlement, which was surveyed by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England in 1970, survives as a series of earthwork remains which extend discontinuously over an area of about 8ha. The main area of settlement occurs to the west and mainly occupies a terrace to the south of the river. It includes ten enclosures, some with internal subdivisions, likely to represent `closes' or individual property plots. Within the group, at least eight building platforms can be identified, some of which represent house sites. The closes are associated with several hollow ways or tracks which run north-south across the centre of the group and east- west to the south. The hollow ways vary in size between 1.5m to 3m in width, and are about 0.5m in depth. One hollow way leads to St German's Church, which dates from the 14th century, and which lies near to the centre of the group. The foundations of the church are visible as a roughly rectangular earthwork with an upstanding gable wall at the eastern end. The wall, which is Listed Grade II, is composed of flint and ashlar dressed stone and may have been rebuilt during the 19th century. To the north of the South Winterborne valley there is a further group of earthworks situated on low-lying marshy ground. These include a rectangular structure, a hollow way and series of enclosing banks which are likely to relate to the medieval settlement. To the north lies a substantial bank and linear channel, which relate to post-medieval drainage works and lie outside the scheduling. The settlement area to the east covers an area of 1.6ha; it is separated from the main area of settlement, but is linked to it by a track. These earthworks include at least one building platform, a possible pond and other associated earthworks. The origins of the village are uncertain, but it is recorded by 1397. Historical documentation suggests that the settlement suffered from poverty throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. By 1650 there were only three households left within the village and J Hutchins, a Dorset historian, records that by 1773 the village had long been depopulated. The records suggest gradual depopulation of the settlement rather than a single episode of abandonment. To the south, a group of lynchets survive as low earthworks and these form part of the field system associated with the medieval settlement. The lynchets, which follow the contours of the slope represent cultivation terraces and were produced by medieval ploughing which cut into the upper slope of the terrace and deposited the resulting material along the lower side. The lynchets have been largely ploughed out on the upper slopes, and only the better preserved earthworks on the lower slope are included the scheduling. All fence posts and gates which relate to the modern field boundaries, along with the fence erected around the gable end associated with St German's Church are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 33196

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 387

End of official listing