Medieval settlement 750m north west of Knowlton


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020583

Date first listed: 05-Jul-2002


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement 750m north west of Knowlton
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: East Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Gussage All Saints

County: Dorset

District: East Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Woodlands

National Grid Reference: SU 01773 10402, SU 02083 10517


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 750m north west of Knowlton is comparatively well-preserved as a series of earthwork remains and associated buried deposits which will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Knowlton is also significant as the settlement associated with Knowlton Church which was unusually situated within a henge monument 550m to the north east. Knowlton represents one of two settlement sites which survive within the area (the other being Brockington) and, together, these will provide insight into local society and the economy of the area throughout the medieval period.


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


The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes the site of the medieval settlement remains at Knowlton, situated on the south eastern terrace of the River Allen, on Cranborne Chase. The settlement survives as a series of earthworks which extend over an area of 4ha and was surveyed by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England in 1975. The earthworks are now cut by a lane, aligned north west by south east, which divides it near the north eastern end. The main settlement area lies to the south west of the road and is broadly aligned north east by south west along the valley. The settlement includes a series of platforms and enclosures which have been terraced into the steep river cliff to the south east. At least 12 divisions are suggested by the boundaries within the settlement and within these are several rectangular platforms which are likely to represent the sites of buildings. A drainage channel (which is now disused) lies within the north eastern area of the settlement and is likely to be of a post-medieval date. The site has produced 12th to 17th century pottery, as well as finds of heathstone and flint rubble. Knowlton village is mentioned twice in the Domesday survey of 1086 when it is referred to as `Chenoltune'. The population numbers are not known, but the extension of the church in the 15th century might imply a substantial population until at least this time. Knowlton Church is known to have become unfrequented by the mid-17th century and it is possible that the population of the village had dwindled by this time. The church lies within a prehistoric henge monument, some 550m to the north east. It is the subject of a separate scheduling. Knowlton lies close to a broadly contemporary settlement at Brockington, situated on the other side of the river valley, and the subject of a separate scheduling. The two settlements lie within different parishes and were always distinct from one another. All gates and fence posts which relate to the 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: 35212

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 113

End of official listing