Ancient Monuments

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Marten deserted medieval village and moated site.

A Scheduled Monument in Grafton, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.3397 / 51°20'23"N

Longitude: -1.5967 / 1°35'48"W

OS Eastings: 428189.325605

OS Northings: 160149.669511

OS Grid: SU281601

Mapcode National: GBR 5ZJ.YZM

Mapcode Global: VHC24.8LR9

Entry Name: Marten deserted medieval village and moated site.

Scheduled Date: 8 August 1957

Last Amended: 27 July 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013104

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12045

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Grafton

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes a moated site, the site of a chapel and deserted
medieval village earthworks 150m north-west of Manor Farm, Marten. The
moat survives as a rectangular earthwork orientated SW-NE and with
dimensions of 80m x 50m respectively. To the north-east the southern
arm of the outer earthwork extends beyond the limit of the moat to
provide an additional earthwork. Beyond this are traces of a third
earthwork, probably a narrow bank. The interior of the site is c.40m
square surrounded by ditches 3-4m deep and 20m wide. The central
mound is flat and stands about 0.7m above the surrounding ground
level. The sides are still very steep. Surrounding the moated site
are a complex series of earthworks. To the south-east of the moated
site these comprise the surviving portion of a deserted village.
Earthworks clearly visible on the ground include building platforms, a
hollow way and pond.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards,
streets, paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with
a community devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant
component of the rural landscape in most areas of Medieval England,
much as it is today. Although the sites of many Medieval villages have
been occupied continuously down to the present day, many others
declined in size or were abandoned throughout the Medieval and post-
Medieval periods, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. As
a result over 2000 deserted Medieval villages are recorded nationally.
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 wide-spread
epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their
abandonment these villages are frequently undisturbed by later
occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits.
Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England many being contemporary
with, and occurring within or adjacent to, Medieval village sites.
They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly
or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which
stood domestic or religious buildings or, in some cases, which were
used for horticulture. Where they occur in association with villages
they are likely to be sites of manorial rank.
Villages and moated sites were important elements of the Medieval
landscape. Both types of site were occupied throughout the Medieval
period and are widely scattered across England. As such they
illustrate the diversity of Medieval settlement between the regions
with moated sites being particularly valuable in the understanding of
the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside, and village
sites providing important information on settlement patterns and the
farming economy through time.

Source: Historic England


Dennison, E and Darvill, T, HBMC Monument Class Description - Moats, 1988,
Schofield, AJ, HBMC Monument Class Description - Deserted villages, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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