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Deserted medieval manorial settlement of Cossington

A Scheduled Monument in Istead Rise, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3968 / 51°23'48"N

Longitude: 0.3656 / 0°21'56"E

OS Eastings: 564661.469631

OS Northings: 169075.937683

OS Grid: TQ646690

Mapcode National: GBR NN4.98N

Mapcode Global: VHJLR.9531

Entry Name: Deserted medieval manorial settlement of Cossington

Scheduled Date: 13 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010710

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23027

County: Kent

Electoral Ward/Division: Istead Rise

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Nurstead St Mildred

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

Details

The monument includes the deserted medieval manorial settlement of Cossington,
situated on a gentle west facing slope in an area of undulating chalk
downland.
The remains survive as a settlement comprising at least six buildings enclosed
by a bank and ditch, surrounded by a number of additional banked and ditched
enclosures, hollow ways and other earthwork features.
The earthwork remains of the settlement include a roughly rectangular area
aligned north-south and measuring 62m long and from 45m to 60m across. This is
enclosed by an inner bank 3.5m wide and 0.6m high with an outer ditch 2.5m
wide and 0.4m deep to the south and east. Within this are the earthwork
remains of building platforms and other rectangular earthwork features ranging
in size from 11m by 8m to 20m by 12m. An additional enclosed strip lies along
the north edge of the settlement with dimensions 8m north-south by 41m east-
west. The settlement area lies within a larger enclosed area, 146m east-west
by at least 172m north-south; the southern boundary is no longer visible. This
area is further divided by bank and ditch boundaries to the north west, north
and east, forming paddocks and fields which surround the settlement. To the
north a rectangular enclosed area measures 78m north-south by 65m east-west
bordered to the north and west by a single bank, a bank and ditch to the east
and, to the south, a single ditch. Situated in the south east quarter is a
flat-topped mound 1.5m high and c.10m in diameter with a slight hollow in the
centre. It is believed to be the remains of a post mill mound.
A hollow way runs along the northern edge of the enclosure, with a second
trackway running south from it, leading to the entrance of the settlement. To
the north of the hollow way are a number of additional earthwork features,
some of which may be quarry pits relating to the construction and use of the
complex.
To the east of the settlement remains are the north and east boundaries of an
additional enclosed area which measures 42m east-west with a c.3m wide outer
ditch and c.4m wide inner bank. The southern boundary is no longer visible.
Further fields and paddocks may have been located to the east but no earthwork
remains are visible.
Documentary evidence suggests that the land originally belonged to the estates
of the Ifield family who sold it to a member of the Cossington family in the
late 13th or early 14th century, giving it the name which survives today. By
1365 it was a well established community known as Little Cossington and is
believed to be the site of the Manor of Cossington bought in the 15th century
by Edward IV.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fences and fence posts although 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.

The deserted medieval manorial settlement of Cossington survives comparatively
well, the area of the settlement and field system remaining largely
undisturbed with clearly visible earthworks. The site contains archaeological
remains and environmental evidence which, combined with documentary sources,
will give an insight into the construction of the settlement and the economy
and way of life of its inhabitants.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Caiger, J E L, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in Cozendon Wood, Northfleet, (1971), 204-207
Caiger, J E L, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in Cozendon Wood, Northfleet, (1971), 204-7
Other
Ordnance Survey, TQ 66 NW 41,

Source: Historic England

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