Ancient Monuments

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Medieval settlement at Afflington

A Scheduled Monument in Corfe Castle, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6213 / 50°37'16"N

Longitude: -2.041 / 2°2'27"W

OS Eastings: 397195.549418

OS Northings: 80179.151605

OS Grid: SY971801

Mapcode National: GBR 33P.SZQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 67MF.DP0

Entry Name: Medieval settlement at Afflington

Scheduled Date: 17 May 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016913

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29098

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Corfe Castle

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Kingston St James

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes an abandoned medieval settlement at Afflington,
situated on a gentle north facing slope of the Corfe Valley. The settlement
most likely represents the medieval hamlet of `Alvronetone' mentioned in the
Domesday survey, and known successively as `Alfrington', `Addlington' and
`Afflington'. Records suggest that the manor was held by Aelfrun under Edward
the Confessor and that Henry III granted a market and fair here between 1269
and 1270. By the late 17th century, the settlement at Afflington still
included between 15 to 20 houses.
The houses and buildings at Afflington Farm occupy part of the western area of
the former settlement, but much of the remainder survives as a series of well
preserved earthworks which are known to extend over about 4ha. A hollow way,
aligned east-west, represents the main street and is visible as an earthwork
between 4.5m to 8m wide and about 0.6m deep. To the north west there are two
rectangular enclosures or tofts which are likely to have contained buildings.
The tofts, which have maximum dimensions in plan of 17m by 40m and 35m by 30m,
are divided by a bank 5m wide and about 0.6m high. The southern areas of the
platforms are terraced into the slope to create a level surface. To the north,
at the rear of the tofts, the slope is also divided into what were probably
crofts or garden areas. At the eastern end of the hollow way, a raised
platform aligned east-west is likely to represent the site of another
building. This platform has dimensions of 40m by 12m and a hollow way 7m wide
lies immediately to the west. A further group of platforms lies within the
south eastern area; these are aligned east-west with dimensions of 40m by 37m
and 35m by 17m in plan. The platforms are each associated with a probable
drainage channel leading into an enclosed area at the rear; these enclosures
are likely to represent crofts.
All gates and fence posts relating to the modern field boundaries are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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 past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the East Wessex sub-Province of the south-eastern
Province, an area in which settlement characteristics are shaped by strong
contrasts in terrain. This is seen in the division between the chalk Downs,
where chains of nucleated settlements concentrate in the valleys, and the
Hampshire Basin, still dominated by the woodlands and open commons of the
ancient New Forest, where nucleated sites are largely absent. Along the
coastal strip extending into Sussex are more nucleations, while in Hampshire
some coastal areas and inland valleys are marked by high densities of
dispersed settlement, much of it post-medieval.
The Southern Purbeck local region is distinctive because of higher
concentrations of both scattered farmsteads, villages and hamlets than are
to be found on the heathlands to the north. The Corfe Valley, with its
patchwork of small hedged fields and woodlands, carried woodland in the 11th
century on the evidence of Domesday Book.

Despite some disturbance by the construction of a lake, the medieval
settlement at Afflington generally survives well as a series of earthworks and
associated buried deposits. The site will contain archaeological and
environmental evidence relating to the construction, use and development of
the settlement and will also provide an indication of the economy of its

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 100

Source: Historic England

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