Ancient Monuments

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Deserted medieval village 630m north-west of Clannacombe Plantation

A Scheduled Monument in Oare, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1864 / 51°11'11"N

Longitude: -3.7287 / 3°43'43"W

OS Eastings: 279281.33969

OS Northings: 144438.591928

OS Grid: SS792444

Mapcode National: GBR L5.5K7C

Mapcode Global: VH5K0.BF4V

Entry Name: Deserted medieval village 630m north-west of Clannacombe Plantation

Scheduled Date: 26 March 1934

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003886

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 51

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Oare

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Church of England Parish: Brendon St Brendon

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a deserted medieval village situated in a valley at the confluence between Hoccombe Combe and Badgworthy Water on a south facing slope.
The deserted medieval settlement survives as a series of banked enclosures, building platforms and structures with drystone walls. The enclosures are mainly rectangular in plan, although one is subcircular and these define gardens or paddocks of varying sizes. The remains of approximately 14 separate buildings with drystone walls standing up to 1.2m high are scattered throughout the valley location. Some of these buildings are single-celled structures, several have at least two cells and one has up to five rectangular rooms. A chapel and hermitage are recorded here. The village is bisected by a probably contemporary track that crosses the Hoccombe Combe and Badgworthy Water at natural fords. Ridge and furrow, a field system and trackways are present. The foundation of the village is recorded in a charter of c. 1170. It is also noted in the Domesday Book as 'Lacoma'. The final mention of the village was in 1430 suggesting it was already becoming ruinous. The village has also been associated with the fictional novel 'Lorna Doone ' by R D Blackmore (1869) as the supposed home of the murderous Doone clan and was recorded as 'Doone Valley' on the 1890 Ordnance Survey map. The Doones were not fictitious and were exiled from Scotland to Exmoor from 1616 to 1699 but there is no direct evidence for their occupation.

Sources: NMR:- SS74SE14
PastScape Monument No:- 35247

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. 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 which provide important information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy through time.
The deserted medieval village 630m north west of Clannacombe Plantation survives well in an area of open moorland with little present day occupation. It will include important archaeological structures, layers and deposits containing information relating to its construction, use and abandonment as well as environmental material concerning the surrounding landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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