Enclosure in Brookes Coppice, 600m north west of Five Elms


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020630

Date first listed: 24-Jul-2002


Ordnance survey map of Enclosure in Brookes Coppice, 600m north west of Five Elms
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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: Sixpenny Handley

National Grid Reference: ST 96009 17725


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

Reasons for Designation

Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number, density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century and to the present day.

Later Iron Age and Romano-British occupation occurred widely across Cranborne Chase and included a range of settlement types. The surviving remains comprise farmsteads, hamlets, villages and hillforts, which together demonstrate an important sequence of settlement. The non-defensive enclosed farm or homestead represents the smallest and most simple of these types. There are over 50 recorded examples within the area which are thought to date to this period. Most early examples are characterised by a curvilinear enclosure with round buildings, although these are sometimes superseded by rectilinear or triangular shaped enclosures with rectilinear buildings. On Cranborne Chase, many examples were occupied over an extended period and some grew in size and complexity. Despite some reduction by ploughing (along the eastern side), the enclosure in Brookes Coppice, 600m north west of Five Elms survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The site is notable as one of a small number of similar simple enclosures to survive on Cranborne Chase. It also forms part of a wider group of archaeological remains and represents one of few archaeological sites within the group not to have been excavated. It will, therefore, offer potential for the preservation of undisturbed buried deposits and will contribute information concerning the economy and social activities within the area during the period of occupation.


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


The monument includes a later prehistoric and Romano-British enclosure situated on the upper part of a gentle south west facing slope within the area of Cranborne Chase. The enclosure lies on the western side of an area of field system which has been levelled by ploughing and is not included within the scheduling. The enclosure was mentioned by General Pitt Rivers in 1887 and surveyed by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England in 1975. It is defined by a ditch with maximum dimensions of 5m in width and about 0.5m in depth, enclosing an area of 0.4ha, oval in plan, with a slightly dished interior. The enclosure is served by a single entrance, about 5m wide, situated on the eastern side. This area of the enclosure has been reduced by ploughing, although the remainder survives as an earthwork. All fence posts and gates which relate to the modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 35231

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
An Inventory of the Historical monuments of Dorset: Volume V, (1975), 70
Fox Pitt Rivers, A H L, Excavations in Cranborne Chase, (1887), 5

End of official listing