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Bowl barrow, lime kiln, and a medieval lighthouse forming the west tower of an oratory, all set within a medieval enclosure on St Catherine's Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Chale, Isle of Wight

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.593 / 50°35'34"N

Longitude: -1.3041 / 1°18'14"W

OS Eastings: 449355.987128

OS Northings: 77263.042966

OS Grid: SZ493772

Mapcode National: GBR 8CP.M44

Mapcode Global: FRA 874H.RRC

Entry Name: Bowl barrow, lime kiln, and a medieval lighthouse forming the west tower of an oratory, all set within a medieval enclosure on St Catherine's Hill

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1925

Last Amended: 1 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009389

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22014

County: Isle of Wight

Civil Parish: Chale

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Isle of Wight

Church of England Parish: Chale St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth

Details

The monument includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow, later used as a lime kiln in
the medieval period, a medieval lighthouse forming the west tower of an
oratory, and the remains of the oratory, all set within a medieval enclosure
on a hilltop on the south coast of the Isle of Wight.
The lighthouse is visible from a considerable distance and forms the natural
focus of the monument. It survives as a stone structure, octagonal on the
outside and square within, originally consisting of four stories. Two windows
in either side of the upper storey can be seen as single lights in the faces
of the octagon viewed from the outside. The two entrances remaining in the
lower stories are exactly over one another and would have been entered from
the annexed oratory. The lighthouse, which formed the western tower of the
oratory is all that remains standing of the original building. However, the
remains of the walls, seen as grass covered banks, are visible and form three
sides of a square with the lighthouse on the open, west, side. The traces of
the oratory walls are c.12m apart and stand to c.1m high in places. Partial
excavation of the oratory in 1891 revealed its plan and confirmed the
survival of buried remains. The lighthouse was completed by 1328. It was built
by Walter de Godeton, a local landowner, who was condemned by the Church for
stealing casks of wine from a shipwreck which had occurred in 1314 off Chale
Bay. The Church threatened de Godeton with excommunication unless he built a
lighthouse above the scene of the shipwreck together with an adjoining
oratory. The oratory was to be endowed to maintain a priest to tend the light
and to say masses for souls lost at sea. The duties were apparently carried
out until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The tower is a Listed Building
Grade II.
Some 15m away from the southeast corner of the oratory is a bowl barrow
representing the earliest evidence for human activity on the hilltop. This
bowl barrow has a mound c.20m in diameter and c.2m high. Surrounding the mound
is a ditch from which material was quarried during its construction.
This can no longer be seen at ground level having become infilled over the
years, but survives as a buried feature c.4m wide. The bowl barrow was
partially excavated in 1925 when some human female bones, animal bones and
flint tools were discovered. During the excavation evidence was found that the
barrow was converted into a limekiln, most likely used to produce mortar for
the construction of the oratory.
Surrounding the lighthouse, oratory and bowl barrow on their north, west and
south sides is an earth bank c.0.5m high and c.5m wide. This is shown on a
survey of the oratory dated to 1566, and can be seen to form a precinct
indicative of a churchyard. It is likely that the fourth side of this
enclosure has since been levelled by cultivation.
The post and wire fence which crosses the barrow, the metal English Heritage
sign, the metal post and wire boundary fence, the wooden styles and stone coin
box are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath all these
features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The monument on St Catherine's Hill contains evidence for use in the Bronze
Age and medieval periods. Evidence for Bronze Age activity is in the form of a
bowl barrow, a burial monument dating to the period 2000-700BC. This example
survives well and is known from partial excavation to contain evidence of
Bronze Age burials as well as for the later reuse of the site as a lime kiln
in the medieval period.
Also of medieval date is the oratory, with its west tower serving as a
lighthouse. It is likely that the lime kiln was used specifically for the
construction of these features. The lighthouse component is of interest as it
represents one of the earliest examples in Britain. It is also one of the
finest examples of a medieval lanterned house to survive anywhere. The extent
and plan of the oratory is known from partial excavation in 1891 and a 16th
century survey. The excavation also demonstrated that buried archaeological
remains still survive on the site, while the survey confirmed the full
medieval extent of the monument, including that of the surrounding enclosure.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Newbery, E, St Catherine's Oratory a handbook for teachers, (1987), 2
Stone, P G, Architectural Antiquities of the Isle of Wight, (1891), 27-9
Stone, P G, Architectural Antiquities of the Isle of Wight, (1891), 29
Stone, P G, Architectural Antiquities of the Isle of Wight, (1891), 27-9
Dunning, G C, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club, (1926), 12ff
Dunning, G C, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club, (1926), 12ff
Dunning, G C, 'Proceedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Society' in Proccedings of the I.O.W. Nat History And Archaeological Society, (1951), 201-2
Dunning, G C, 'The Isle Of Wight Natural History And Archaeological Society' in Proceedings of the Isle of Wight Natural History and Archaeological Society, (1951), 201-2

Source: Historic England

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