Medieval and later settlement remains and associated fields at Hawling


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
The earthworks are situated to the north-east of the present village of Hawling, on the north-west and south-east slopes of a small valley draining eastwards towards the River Windrush.


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

Location Description:
The earthworks are situated to the north-east of the present village of Hawling, on the north-west and south-east slopes of a small valley draining eastwards towards the River Windrush.
Tewkesbury (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


The monument includes extensive earthworks representing the medieval remains of Hawling shrunken settlement and Roelside, an abandoned medieval settlement, along with a contemporary field system, the remains of a post-medieval farmstead and field system, and the remains of a possible pre-Conquest settlement.

Reasons for Designation

The medieval and later settlement remains and associated fields at Hawling are designated for the following principal reasons:

* Rarity: the survival of two physically juxtaposed villages of which one was abandoned whilst the other shrank is relatively rare nationally.

* Survival: the earthworks at Hawling survive remarkably well, providing exceptional clarity with regard to the layout of the two villages. * Potential: the site has significant potential in the form of buried archaeological features that will not only provide dating evidence for the development and decline of the two medieval villages but will also provide evidence for the possible pre-Conquest settlement that is believed to have existed at Hawling.

* Documentation: the earthworks have been subject to academic and archaeological research which has allowed, and continues to allow, the formulation of hypotheses about the historical development and decline of the two villages.


Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great diversity in form, size and type, including villages, hamlets, and single farms. The largest, villages, typically comprise houses, gardens, yards, streets, paddocks, often with a manor house and a church. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were abandoned throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly during the C14 and C15. The reasons for desertion were varied but often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land use such as enclosure or emparkment, or population decline as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death (1348-9 and later).

The earthwork remains of the medieval settlements of Hawling and Roelside are situated on the higher ridge of the north-east Cotswolds, an area where in 1851 there were low populations and frequent deserted villages, and where settlements are most thinly scattered. The landscape of this gently-tilted plateau prospered in the medieval period through the wool trade based upon the sheep pastures of its former open wolds. Villages in this area tend to lie in folds or along valley sides where water was available. Hawling developed between the C9 and C10 on the north-west and south-east slopes of a small valley draining eastwards towards the River Windrush. At some time before 1066, perhaps as early as the C10, the new manor of Roel was established on land belonging to Hawling. As the new lord needed tenants, an agreement was made that the manorial boundary would pass through the existing village of Hawling, following the line of the stream, with the northern part of the village being assigned to Roel (which became known as Roelside). In addition, a new village called Roel was established around 2km to the north-east, at a site near to the modern Roel Farm. In 1066 Hawling was held by Edward the Confessor’s sister, Countess Goda, whilst Wulfward held Roel. Hawling was acquired by Winchcombe Abbey in 1201 and the Abbey also acquired Roel in 1318. Domesday Book (1086) recorded Hawling manor had a recorded population of 43 (perhaps best thought of as the number of families), and Roel manor 21. Population numbers in both started to decline during the C14, and although Hawling's shrank more rapidly its decline was not terminal whereas at Roel it was, attributed mostly to problems of agricultural production, resulting in tenants leaving to find a living elsewhere. As a means of trying to make a living, the remaining tenants amalgamated their land holdings with those which had been abandoned through a practice known as engrossing. The engrossers, however, also found it difficult to make a living and the last tenant left Roel in 1466. Although there is no documentary evidence for the final desertion at Roelside, the fact that only a single sherd of pottery likely to be later than the C15 has been found on the site, a similar date for abandonment can be inferred. Although Hawling suffered a similar decline, its shrinkage, compared with the abandonment at Roelside, is attributed to its more varied social structure which attracted enough immigrants to keep the community above the threshold of terminal decline.


The earthworks, which cover an area of around 15ha, were surveyed by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England between 1988 and 1990 and were found to consist of several discrete blocks of mostly well-defined tofts and crofts, all aligned north-west to south-east, spanning both sides of the stream. At least eleven abandoned crofts and the foundations of at least twenty-two stone buildings on the north side of the valley were identified, and the remains of up to fourteen crofts and at least six buildings on the south side.

The earthworks on the north-west side of the valley, which represent that part of Hawling which was granted to Roel and subsequently became the settlement known as Roelside, fall into two areas separated by a north-west to south-east boundary. On the west side of the boundary there are the remains of at least four crofts and five building platforms, bounded to the north by a south-facing lynchet. To the east of the boundary, the remaining two-thirds of the settlement on this side of the valley contains a major concentration of well-defined building platforms, defined by banks or lynchets aligned north-west to south-east, several possible long houses and between five and seven crofts. It is possible that the distinction between these two areas may relate to different phases of settlement or abandonment. In the valley bottom, to the east end of the settlement, there is some evidence of minor stream diversion and a building platform representing the possible remains of a watermill. Extending eastwards from the settlement, running along the contours of the valley side, are the earthworks of several lynchets which are roughly aligned east to west and represent the remains of a contemporary field system. The croft banks on this side of the valley overlie a pre-existing series of irregular lynchets and terraces. Although there is no evidence elsewhere for the date of this underlying pattern, in view of the frequent evidence elsewhere in the area for prehistoric and Romano-British settlement, it is quite likely to be of pre-medieval origin.

On the south-west side of the valley, the earthworks representing the remains of the shrunken medieval village of Hawling include at least fourteen crofts of which four contain the remains of at least five building platforms. The medieval earthworks are overlain by the post-medieval earthworks of a large farmstead and a series of small rectangular fields which continued in use until at least into the mid-C18. Most of the field boundary banks, which are aligned north-west to south-east, are depicted on Hawling estate maps of 1748 and 1755, but from their general shape and alignment, it is likely that some of them represent the reutilisation of medieval croft boundaries. None of the croft boundaries are directly in alignment with those across the valley, and this emphasises their separate character which places the earthworks on the north-west side in Roelside and those on the south-east side in Hawling.


Books and journals
Roberts, , Wrathmell, , An Atlas of Rural Settlement in England, (2000)
Aldred, D H, Dyer, C C, 'The Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society' in A Medieval Cotswold Village: Roel, Gloucestershire, (1991), 139-170
Title: A Map of the Common Fields with the Copyhold and Leasehold Estates of William Wyndham in the Manor of Hawling Source Date: 1748 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: A Map of the Freehold and Copyhold Estates with the Common of Pasture belonging to William Wyndham Esquire situate within the Manor and Lordship of Hawling Source Date: 1755 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


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.

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