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A deserted medieval manorial settlement and associated earthworks in Iffin Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Chartham, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.245 / 51°14'41"N

Longitude: 1.0588 / 1°3'31"E

OS Eastings: 613582.152729

OS Northings: 153977.078726

OS Grid: TR135539

Mapcode National: GBR TYF.Y8B

Mapcode Global: VHLGM.9YLZ

Entry Name: A deserted medieval manorial settlement and associated earthworks in Iffin Wood

Scheduled Date: 31 October 1985

Last Amended: 27 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009012

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25453

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Chartham

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Details

The monument includes the deserted medieval manorial settlement of Iffin, a
hollow way and other associated earthworks, situated on a clay-capped, chalk
hill forming part of the Kent Downs.
The remains of Iffin manor include four, contiguous banked and ditched
enclosures which together form a large, south west-north east orientated,
rectangular enclosure covering an area of c.1.05ha. The banks survive to a
height of up to c.1m, and the ditches fall to c.0.5m beneath the surrounding
ground. The smallest enclosure, situated in the south western corner, contains
a raised mound c.5.6m by 15.5m, the remains of a flint-walled, 12th century
chapel, dedicated to St Leonard. To the east is a larger, rectangular
enclosure of around 0.14ha, which is double-ditched on the southern and
eastern sides. The interior has a raised, central platform, believed to be the
site of the principal domestic buildings. The central enclosure, lying
immediately to the north, is the largest, and is roughly square in shape,
covering an area of around 0.55ha. The defensive earthworks of the
northernmost enclosure survive particularly well and enclose an area of around
0.35ha.
Running in a south westerly direction from the south western corner of the
manorial enclosure is a hollow way, or disused road. It is a shallow linear
ditch 0.4m deep flanked on either side by a slight bank, with an overall width
of 8m.
A complex arrangement of banks, ditches and other earthworks surround the
manorial enclosure on all four sides. These are likely to form the earthwork
remains of contemporary agricultural or other economic activity associated
with the medieval manorial settlement.
The medieval manor of Iffin is mentioned in many contemporary documents
between c.1086 and 1465, particularly the cartulary of St Gregory's Priory,
Canterbury. By the end of the 15th century, documentary references to the
manor cease, indicating that it was deserted by this time.
All modern fences within or on the boundaries of the monument are excluded
from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval manorial settlements, comprising small groups of houses with
associated gardens, yards and paddocks, supported communities devoted
primarily to agriculture, and acted as the foci for manorial administration.
Although the sites of many of these settlements have been occupied
continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were
abandoned at some time during 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 settlements are frequently undisturbed by later occupation
and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits, providing information on
the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy, and on the
structure and changing fortunes of manorial communities.

Despite some disturbance by woodland cover, a modern woodland track and
localised flint digging, the deserted medieval manorial settlement in Iffin
Wood survives well and contains archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating to the monument, the landscape in which it was constructed
and the economy of its inhabitants. Relatively undisturbed medieval manorial
settlements are particularly rare in Kent, where most have been heavily
disturbed by later post-medieval or modern development.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hasted, E, History of Kent, (1800), 291-292
Hasted, E, History of Kent, (1790), 729
Other
Tatton-Brown, T, Unpublished material, 1983,

Source: Historic England

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