Ancient Monuments

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Medieval earthworks at Balmer

A Scheduled Monument in Falmer, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8749 / 50°52'29"N

Longitude: -0.0701 / 0°4'12"W

OS Eastings: 535880.536506

OS Northings: 110147.995254

OS Grid: TQ358101

Mapcode National: GBR KPZ.13P

Mapcode Global: FRA B6RS.DK7

Entry Name: Medieval earthworks at Balmer

Scheduled Date: 28 April 1975

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002241

English Heritage Legacy ID: ES 423

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Falmer

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Stanmer with Falmer, St Laurence

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


Balmer deserted medieval village, 250m north of Balmer Farm

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 June 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes the deserted medieval village of Balmer, surviving as earthworks and below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated on a ridge of chalk downland, NNE of Falmer on the South Downs. The earthworks include a central holloway or sunken trackway, dew pond and several house platforms. These are visible as a series of mounds and depressions north of Balmer Farm. The village of Balmer is mentioned in the Domesday Survey. The date it was abandoned is not known. The village chapel was demolished in 1550.

Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of this monument. Some such as a nearby Iron Age and Romano-British field system with associated settlements, burial ground and trackway are scheduled, but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets, paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant component of the rural landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages provided some services to the local community and acted as the main focal point of ecclesiastical, and often of manorial, administration within each parish. 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 14th and 15th centuries. As a result over 2000 deserted medieval villages are recorded nationally. The reasons for desertion were varied but often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land use such as enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their abandonment these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Because they are a common and long-lived monument type in most parts of England, they provide important information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy between the regions and through time.

Despite disturbance by agricultural activity in the past, Balmer deserted medieval village survives well. It will contain below-ground archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction, use and occupation of the site and to the surrounding landscape at the time it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


NMR TQ31SE39. PastScape 402826,

Source: Historic England

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