Ancient Monuments

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Enclosure in Brighstone Forest

A Scheduled Monument in Newport, Isle of Wight

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Latitude: 50.6649 / 50°39'53"N

Longitude: -1.3775 / 1°22'39"W

OS Eastings: 444088.972093

OS Northings: 85204.878942

OS Grid: SZ440852

Mapcode National: GBR 8BT.6JN

Mapcode Global: FRA 8709.TCL

Entry Name: Enclosure in Brighstone Forest

Scheduled Date: 11 October 1979

Last Amended: 12 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007784

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21990

County: Isle of Wight

Civil Parish: Newport

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Isle of Wight

Church of England Parish: Brighstone

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth


The monument includes a small rectangular enclosure set on a gentle east-
facing slope just off the crest of a hill above Cheverton Down.
The enclosure measures 24m north east-south west and 15m north west-south
east, and is defined by a bank and external ditch; the ditch is now only
visible on the north and west sides. Internally the bank is c.1m high and the
external ditch is 5m wide and 0.5m deep. There is an entrance on the north
east side c.4m wide. The interior has a slight rise in its centre measuring
c.7m square. The site lies near the parish boundary and has been interpreted
as the site of the meeting place of the pre-Conquest hundred of Calbourne,
the 'gemot beoth' mentioned in a document called The Bounds on Calbourne,
dated to 826. The enclosure is very similar to the court leet enclosure on
Southampton Common and the 'church-places' of the New Forest and Cranbourne
Chase. The site may later also have functioned as a pastoral enclosure. This
explanation is supported by the presence of a pond for watering stock
adjoining the enclosure on its south side.
The metal signpost at the junction of the two bridleways is excluded from the
scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Moots were open-air meeting places set aside for use by courts and other
bodies who were responsible for the administration and organisation of the
countryside in Anglo-Saxon and medieval England. They were located at
convenient, conspicuous or well-known sites, often centrally placed within the
area under jurisdiction, usually a hundred, wapentake, or shire. The meeting
place could take several forms: a natural feature such as a hilltop, tree or
rock; existing man-made features such as prehistoric standing stones, barrows
or hillforts; or a purpose-built monument such as a mound. Moots appear to
have been first established during the early medieval period between the
seventh and ninth centuries AD. Examples are recorded in the Domesday Book and
other broadly contemporary documents. Initially, moots were situated in open
countryside but, over time, they were relocated in villages or towns. The
construction and use of rural moots declined after the 13th century. The
normal form of purpose-built moot was the moot mound. These take the form of
large, squat, turf-covered mounds with a flat or concave top, usually
surrounded by a ditch. Occasionally, prehistoric barrows were remodelled to
provide suitable sites. It is estimated that there were between 250 and 1000
moots in medieval England, although only a limited number of these were man-
made mounds and only a proportion of these survive today. Moots are generally
a poorly understood class of monument with considerable potential to provide
information on the organisation and administration of land units in the Middle
Ages. They are a comparatively rare and long-lived type of monument and the
earliest examples will be amongst a very small range of sites predating the
Norman Conquest which survive as monumental earthworks and readily appreciable
landscape features. On this basis, all well preserved or historically well
documented moot mounds are identified as nationally important.

The enclosure in Brighstone Forest has many features in common with other
meeting places of constituted bodies of the medieval period. The earthwork
will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the
enclosure and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club, , Vol. 17, (1949), 138-9
'Archaeological Journal' in Archaeological Journal, , Vol. 78, (1921), 137
Field Inspector, Woodhouse, W., NAR Record SZ 48 NW 19, (1955)
Map included, Stone, P G, P S A, P. S. A., (1912)

Source: Historic England

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