Ancient Monuments

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Deserted medieval farmstead and part of a Romano-British field system 400m north of Fenswood Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Long Ashton, North Somerset

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Latitude: 51.4314 / 51°25'53"N

Longitude: -2.6736 / 2°40'24"W

OS Eastings: 353268.15736

OS Northings: 170480.316325

OS Grid: ST532704

Mapcode National: GBR JM.P25T

Mapcode Global: VH88S.L9Y1

Entry Name: Deserted medieval farmstead and part of a Romano-British field system 400m north of Fenswood Farm

Scheduled Date: 28 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011979

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22849

County: North Somerset

Civil Parish: Long Ashton

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a deserted medieval farmstead and part of a Romano-
British field system situated on a south facing slope with views over the Land
Yeo valley to the south and south west.

The deserted medieval farmstead includes three rectilinear enclosures which
are situated at the north western end of a hollow way. The enclosures are
defined by rubble-banks, c.0.5m high and up to 1m wide, each surrounding a
sunken platform. Two of the enclosures are adjoined and situated adjacent to
the north western side of the hollow way, while the third is situated 10m to
the north west. These platforms are thought to represent building foundations
and have plans which vary in size from 5m by 3m to 8m by 6m.
The hollow way, which is orientated north west by south east, extends 130m
towards the river valley to the south east and is likely to have provided the
main approach to the site. It has a maximum depth of c.0.5m and varies in
width from 6m-8m.

To the north and west of the farmstead there is a lynchet or terrace c.2.5m
high, orientated south west to north east. It is likely that this terrace
originally formed part of a wider field system constructed during the
Romano-British period and associated with the Roman small town 800m to the
south west. This part of the field system is thought to have continued in use
throughout the medieval period.

To the south, west and east of the farmstead there are numerous irregular
depressions ranging from 3m to 10m in plan and up to 0.5m deep. These features
most likely represent quarries produced during the extraction of iron ore and
white clay deposits which are known to occur within the vicinity.
Finds from the site include pottery dating from the 12th, 13th and 15th

Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and gates relating to the
field boundaries, although the underlying ground is included.

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

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 and associated earthworks 400m north of
Fenswood Farm survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental
evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
constructed. The field system demonstrates continuity in use between the
Romano-British and medieval periods.

Source: Historic England


Mention of 17th century finds,
Mention of enclosure rubble banks,
Mention of finds from the site,
Mention of hollow-way as sunken track,
Mention of IA/RB fieldsystem,
Mention of iron ore and white clay,
Poss. early industrial significance,

Source: Historic England

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