Whitehill medieval settlement immediately south of Old Whitehill Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020973

Date first listed: 28-Apr-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jul-2003


Ordnance survey map of Whitehill medieval settlement immediately south of Old Whitehill 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 09-Dec-2018 at 19:06:59.


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

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Tackley

National Grid Reference: SP 48277 19441


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 past 1500 years or more. The South Midlands local region is large, and capable of further subdivision. Strongly banded from south west to north east, it comprises a broad succession of clay vales and limestone or marlstone ridges, complicated by local drifts which create many subtle variations in terrain. The region is in general dominated by nucleated villages of medieval origin, with isolated farmsteads, mostly of post-medieval date, set in the spaces between them. Depopulated village sites are common, and moated sites are present on the claylands.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as earthworks their most distinguished features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. They frequently included the parish church within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages included one or more manorial centres which may survive as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the Central Province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life, and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. Whitehill medieval settlement is a well-preserved example of a nucleated medieval settlement, within the South Midlands local region. Like many others in Oxfordshire it lies on slightly raised ground close to a river and may well have developed because of its location on a ford, with adjacent meadow land and arable and wooded land uphill, thus ensuring access to the full range of resources required by a medieval farming community. Evidence provided by aerial photographs, field survey, chance finds and documented history indicate that Whitehill contains largely undisturbed archaeological remains relating to the development, occupation and economy of the village from its original establishment up to its final abandonment.


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


The monument includes a medieval settlement, defined by a large area of earthwork platforms and associated buried remains, located to the south of Old Whitehill Farm and Tackley Park and immediately to the north of the modified course of the River Cherwell flanking the Oxford Canal. Within the settlement at least ten house platforms with associated enclosures remain visible as earthworks ranging in size from roughly 12 sq m to well over 40m across. These lie to either side of a hollow way and a north to south running stream which was later used as a channel to remove water from a series of fishponds in the grounds of the late medieval Tackley Park, 500m to the north. The village earthworks are believed to have been more extensive in 1605 when a number of ruined houses were still visible according to an estate map drawn up by Langdon. Further buried remains can clearly be seen on aerial photographs as parch and crop marks (variations in growth caused by differing levels of moisture retained by underlying deposits). These have helped to define the layout and the extent of the settlement remains, showing evidence of additional platforms and enclosure boundaries which are not visible at ground level but which will survive as buried features. It is unclear when the settlement was first developed or when it finally ceased to exist, but it is known to have been thriving in 1450. By 1605, when Langdon's map was drawn, the settlement was no longer occupied. All post and wire fences 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: 30835

Legacy System: RSM


PRN 1106, SMRO, Whitehill, (1974)

End of official listing