Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Field system

A Scheduled Monument in Willingdon and Jevington, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.7935 / 50°47'36"N

Longitude: 0.2247 / 0°13'29"E

OS Eastings: 556892.812072

OS Northings: 101680.321336

OS Grid: TQ568016

Mapcode National: GBR MTZ.3NQ

Mapcode Global: FRA C6CZ.TLT

Entry Name: Field system

Scheduled Date: 11 November 1966

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002257

English Heritage Legacy ID: ES 309

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Willingdon and Jevington

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Jevington St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


Regular aggregate field system near Jevington, 510m south-east of Street Farm.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 3 March 2015. This 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 a regular aggregate field system with earthworks of contour lynchets and cross banks across an area of about 10 acres. It is situated on chalk downland forming the south-west spur of Combe Hill on the South Downs. The contour lynchets are orientated in the same direction on a north-west to south-east axis between Home Bottom and Willingdon Bottom. The fields are generally long and narrow, several of which are larger than an acre in size. The cross banks are largely situated towards the foot of Combe Hill and on the whole have a north-east to south-west orientation down the hill. They separate the fields into trapezoidal, square, rectangular or long and narrow compositions.

In 1945, some 20 fragments of Iron Age pottery were found among rabbit holes on the field system. The pottery was of coarse gritty baked clay powdered with fragments of calcined flint.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses.

The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and South Yorkshire and Durham. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Those which survive well and/or which can be positively linked to associated settlements are considered to merit protection.

The regular aggregate field system near Jevington, 510m south-east of Street Farm survives well and provides information on late prehistoric farming practice. Much of the area has not been ploughed in the recent past and the earthworks forming the lynchets and cross banks are well preserved. The fields, lynchets and boundaries will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the field system, the people who farmed here and the landscape in which they lived.

Source: Historic England


East Sussex HER MES5061. NMR TQ50SE16. PastScape 408476.

Source: Historic England

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