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Medieval farmstead at Buckham Hill, immediately north and south east of Princes

A Scheduled Monument in Isfield, East Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.9658 / 50°57'56"N

Longitude: 0.0675 / 0°4'3"E

OS Eastings: 545277.773455

OS Northings: 120521.428284

OS Grid: TQ452205

Mapcode National: GBR LQ9.CWB

Mapcode Global: FRA C61K.D4D

Entry Name: Medieval farmstead at Buckham Hill, immediately north and south east of Princes

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1979

Last Amended: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016770

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31422

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Isfield

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Isfield St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Details

The monument includes the remains of a medieval farmstead and an area of
associated closes, or small fields, situated on a sandstone hill around 2km
south west of Uckfield. Historical and placename evidence suggests that the
settlement had been established by the early 13th century. A 1971 survey
located the main farmstead buildings, surviving as below ground remains, near
the western edge of the monument, at the north western end of a NNW-SSE
aligned, contemporary roadway, represented by a deep hollow way. The
associated closes cover the remainder of the monument in an irregular grid
pattern and take the form of at least six small rectangular fields enclosed by
ditches which are now dry. A pond located in the south eastern corner of the
monument is also believed to date to the medieval period, and surface finds of
iron-working slag indicate the presence of a forge or furnace here during the
medieval and/or early post-medieval periods.
An 1829 survey and plan of the Rocks Estate, of which the by then abandoned
farmstead formed a part, records the old field names within the monument. The
survey records the south eastern field as Old Ford. This has been interpreted
as a misspelling of Old Forge, providing further evidence for the iron-working
carried out here.
The excavation of a small quarry, believed to date to the post-medieval
period, has partly disturbed the south western edge of the monument.
The modern fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling, 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 rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Eastern Weald sub-Province of the South-eastern
Province, bounded by the North and South Downs and comprising an oval
arrangement of inward facing escarpments of chalk and sandstone, separated by
clay vales, all ringing a higher sandstone ridge. Apart from concentrations of
nucleated settlements in the Vale of Holmsdale and around Canterbury, the sub-
Province is dominated by high and very high densities of dispersed
settlements, giving a countryside with farmsteads and associated enclosed
fields, of medieval foundation, intermixed with cottages, medieval moated
sites and hamlets bearing the names `green' or `dene'.

In some areas of medieval England settlement was dispersed across the
landscape rather than nucleated into villages. Such dispersed settlement in an
area, usually a township or parish, is defined by the lack of a single (or
principal) nucleated settlement focus such as a village and the presence
instead of small settlement units (small hamlets or farmsteads) spread across
the area. These small settlements normally have a degree of interconnection
with their close neighbours, for example, in relation to shared common land or
road systems. Dispersed settlements varied enormously from region to region,
but where they survive as earthworks their distinguishing features include
roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings
such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In areas where
stone was used for building, the outline of building foundations may still be
clearly visible. Communal areas of the settlements frequently include features
such as bakehouses, pinfolds and ponds. Areas of dispersed medieval settlement
are found in both the South Eastern Province and the Northern and Western
Provinces of England. They are found in upland and also some lowland areas.
Where found, their archaeological remains are one of the most important
sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries
following the Norman Conquest.
The medieval farmstead at Buckham Hill represents the predominant dispersed
form of medieval rural settlement within the Eastern Weald sub-Province. It
survives well, in association with its contemporary field system and
additional industrial features, and exhibits little subsequent disturbance.
The monument will therefore retain archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to the original use and abandonment of the farmstead.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Tebbutt, C, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Two Newly Discovered Medieval Sites, , Vol. 110, (1972), 31-36

Source: Historic England

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