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Deserted medieval farmstead 420m south of Gout House Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Banwell, North Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3456 / 51°20'44"N

Longitude: -2.8597 / 2°51'35"W

OS Eastings: 340215.553822

OS Northings: 161070.703636

OS Grid: ST402610

Mapcode National: GBR JC.VHCH

Mapcode Global: VH7CM.DF0V

Entry Name: Deserted medieval farmstead 420m south of Gout House Farm

Scheduled Date: 25 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011133

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22839

County: North Somerset

Civil Parish: Banwell

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument includes a deserted medieval farmstead situated in an area of the
Levels 420m south of Gout House Farm.
The farmstead, which is known as the `Bower House`, is defined by a ditch
which encloses a raised island c.48m from east to west and c.30m from north to
south. The surrounding ditch has been incorporated into a modern rhyne on its
west side but survives as a waterfilled channel c.5m wide elsewhere. The
ditch is breached by a causeway in the south-west which would have provided
access to the farmstead.
Early historical references to the site record it as `Bower` in 1379 and
`Bowere` in 1437. The ditched enclosure is termed the `Bower House` on a tithe
map of 1632 and recorded as such in a deed dated to the same year.
Medieval pottery dating to between the 11th and 14th centuries AD was
recovered from the site during rhyne clearance in 1976. Roman pottery has also
been recovered from the site, demonstrating an earlier phase of occupation.
Remains of a building within the enclosure were revealed as parch marks
visible from the air during the drought of 1976.
Excluded from the scheduling are the bridge providing access from the
west, the farm building and underlying concrete pad situated within the
north-western area of the monument, as well as all fence posts relating to the
field boundaries although the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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

Farmsteads, normally occupied by only one or two families and comprising small
groups of buildings with attached yards, gardens and enclosures, were a
characteristic feature of the medieval rural landscape. They occur throughout
the country, the intensity of their distribution determined by local
topography and the nature of the agricultural system prevalent within the
region. In some areas of dispersed settlement they were the predominant
settlement form; elsewhere they existed alongside, or were components of, more
nucleated settlement patterns. The sites of many farmsteads have been
occupied down to the present day but others were abandoned as a result of, for
example, declining economic viability, enclosure or emparkment, or epidemics
like the Black Death. In the northern border areas, recurring cross-border
raids and military activities also disrupted agricultural life and led to
abandonments. Farmsteads are a common and long-lived monument type; the
archaeological deposits on those which were abandoned are often well-preserved
and provide important information on regional and national settlement patterns
and farming economies, and on changes in these through time.

The deserted medieval farmstead 420m of Gout House Farm is well preserved and
represents a rare survival, as such monuments are unusual in this area of
Avon.
Evidence recovered in the form of pottery, combined with documentary records
and aerial photographs, demonstrate that archaeological remains survive from
both the Roman period and from the 11th to at least the 14th century AD. Such
evidence will provide an indicator of the status of the site`s occupants,
their economy and the landscape in which they lived. The site`s position low
in the Somerset Levels is conducive to the survival of waterlogged remains.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Details of parchmarks at site,
Details of pottery recovered,
Details of Roman pottery from site,
Mention of historical references,

Source: Historic England

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