Ancient Monuments

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Deserted medieval village of Nether Adber

A Scheduled Monument in Mudford, Somerset

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Latitude: 50.9893 / 50°59'21"N

Longitude: -2.588 / 2°35'16"W

OS Eastings: 358825.391315

OS Northings: 121258.910941

OS Grid: ST588212

Mapcode National: GBR MR.KS69

Mapcode Global: FRA 56GH.HLG

Entry Name: Deserted medieval village of Nether Adber

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1981

Last Amended: 1 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008251

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24010

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Mudford

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a deserted medieval village in a flat, low-lying
situation. The site was the subject of a detailed survey by the Royal
Commission on the Historic Monuments of England in 1990.
The village is arranged around a green, with roads running north/south and
east/west around this. The present Thorny Lane runs along the former line of
one of these. To the east of the green are five small plots or `crofts', with
traces of buildings on the southern three. Behind the crofts are narrow plots
extending to a back lane. The empty plots may have been orchards. To the south
are three roughly square plots each with a cottage and barn opposing across a
yard, and these may represent amalgamations of former small crofts. Further
crofts can be seen west of the green on old aerial photographs but these have
now been levelled by ploughing.
The buildings, which survive as low rectangular earthworks or platforms, are
small structures ranging in size from 6.5m by 5m to 18m by 6m, facing the
green. Some have opposing doorways in the centre of the long walls; others
have only a single doorway.
On the north side of the village is a manor site, with an L-shaped moat and a
fishpond, plus other water channels and ponds. Documents refer to a chapel in
the manor - the village had no church. Features in this area indicate a later
landscaping of the manor grounds and the abandoned crofts may relate to this.
The moat and water features have been largely levelled by modern infilling and
are now best seen on old aerial photographs.
To the east, further earthworks have been ploughed flat. It is thought that
these were fishponds.
Ridge and furrow is visible on air photos in the surrounding fields and this
extends onto some of the crofts. This, together with the reuse of features
south of the manor, illustrates the gradual decline of the village.
The small estate of Ettebere, referred to in the Domesday Book, is thought to
be Nether Adber. Later documents show that at least one family remained in the
16th century, though the village was probably deserted by the end of that
century. There was a farm in the vicinity until the late 19th century; the
present Thorny House is a pair of 19th-century gamekeepers' cottages.
Excluded from the scheduling are all modern fences, posts, telegraph poles,
modern buildings and road surfaces, although the ground beneath all these
features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

The deserted medieval village of Nether Adber survives as a good example of
its class, with upstanding earthworks of buildings and enclosures, streets and
a green. A moated site and fishpond also survive beneath later infilling.

Source: Historic England

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