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Medieval settlement and park pale at East Lulworth

A Scheduled Monument in East Lulworth,

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Latitude: 50.6362 / 50°38'10"N

Longitude: -2.2254 / 2°13'31"W

OS Eastings: 384158.5995

OS Northings: 81859.5493

OS Grid: SY841818

Mapcode National: GBR 223.25M

Mapcode Global: FRA 677D.6VN

Entry Name: Medieval settlement and park pale at East Lulworth

Scheduled Date: 29 August 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017306

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29092

Civil Parish: East Lulworth

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: The Lulworths, Winfrith Newburgh and Chaldon

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which falls into six separate areas of protection, includes the
upstanding earthwork remains of an abandoned medieval settlement and a park
pale which formed the boundary of a medieval deer park, all situated on gently
undulating ground to the north of Worbarrow Bay. The medieval settlement
represents the earliest feature at the site and was later incorporated within
the boundary of a medieval deer park, although it continued to be occupied.
During the 17th century, the park was redesigned and the boundaries revised.
The landscape immediately around Lulworth Castle was altered, resulting in the
area of the medieval settlement and deer park becoming incorporated within a
variety of parkland and formal garden schemes. In about 1790 the settlement
was removed in order to enable the creation of open parkland around Lulworth
Castle. This was enclosed by a wall during the 19th century.
The medieval settlement survives as an extensive series of earthworks which
cover an area of about 12ha, and falls into three areas. Together these
comprise a group of low scarps and banks which vary between about 0.3m to 0.7m
in height and which define a series of building platforms, closes and
associated fields. The main settlement area lies to the south of St Andrew's
church, from where it was laid out along two axes, one to the south and
another to the east. A number of dwellings are shown on a map of 1770 flanking
the two streets. This area contains the remains of an extensive settlement and
includes hollow ways, building platforms, closes and boundaries.
To the east of the estate office and north of the medieval street is a second
area of settlement containing four building platforms associated with a group
of fields to the north; these are defined by parallel boundaries which run to
the southern edge of Bowling Green Wood. There is also another hollow way to
the west of the group. Approximately 500m to the east of Lulworth Castle is a
third area of settlement, comprising an east-west alignment of sub-rectangular
closes, running north-south and bounded to the south by a scarp slope. To the
north a scarp separates the group from another rectangular close, itself
enclosed by banks.
The origins of the settlement are uncertain: the Lulvorde or Loloworde
mentioned in the Domesday survey has been attributed to East Lulworth; other
forms of the name are known from 12th century documents and the prefix `East'
is first recorded in 1268. The settlement is recorded by J Sparrow in a survey
of 1770, when it consisted of a group of structures situated to the south of
St Andrew's church. The village was removed in about 1790.
The deer park pale encloses a trapezoidal area of about 216ha and comprises a
bank, which varies between 2.5m to 3m in width and between about 1.2m to 2m in
height, flanked on either side by a ditch from which material was quarried
during its construction. The ditches remain visible as earthworks between 1.5m
to 3m in width and between 0.5m to 1m in depth. The earthworks are best
preserved to the south west and east; elsewhere they have been intermittently
reduced. Part of the western and southern boundaries have been reduced by
ploughing and at the western end of the southern boundary the outer ditch is
overlain by a road. The form and dimensions of the park pale suggest a
probable origin during the later 13th century, when the estate was owned by
the de Newburgh family. Surviving historical records confirm the presence of a
deer park at East Lulworth until the early 17th century, when Thomas, the
third Lord Howard enclosed an area of 1000 acres, thus doubling the size of
the medieval park, but continuing to use some sections of the earlier
Only one probable entrance through the medieval park pale survives as an
earthwork. This lies west of centre along the southern boundary, where a break
3m wide is associated with an inturned section of bank running 10m to the
north east, thereby covering the entrance from the north. Such a structure
was designed to encourage deer into the park, but to help to prevent their
A possible medieval hunting lodge has been suggested within the area of Park
Lodge, to the north, on the grounds of place name evidence. Although such an
association is likely, details are obscure and no definite earthwork remains
survive. To the west, a boundary surrounding Park Wood is of similar
dimensions and appearance to the park pale and is thought to be broadly
contemporary. The purpose of Park Wood is uncertain, but it may have been
designed to attract the deer, as there is a characteristically narrow entrance
at the western end of its southern side.
The area enclosed by the park pale later formed part of a post-medieval
parkland and supports a number of post-medieval structures which include:
Lulworth Castle, the subject of a separate scheduling, St Andrew's church and
St Mary's chapel (both Listed Buildings Grade I and not included in the
scheduling) as well as a former 17th century stable block now converted into
the estate office (a Listed Building at Grade II and also not included in the
scheduling). The area of the medieval deer park forms part of a wider area
registered as a Historic Park and Garden Grade II.
A number of features and buildings are excluded from the scheduling; these are
Wareham Lodge, Gardener's Cottage and the adjacent gate, the eastern
entrance and main entrance (all Listed Buildings Grade II), the buried
generator to the south of the estate office, the modern banks of the car park,
all fence and gate posts relating to modern field boundaries, and the stone
and brick built walling of Lulworth Park, which overlies part of the park pale
earthwork; however, the ground beneath all these features 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 last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the West Wessex sub-Province of the Central Province, an
area characterised by large numbers of villages and hamlets within
countrysides of great local diversity, ranging from flat marshland to hill
ridges. Settlements range from large, sprawling villages to tiny hamlets, a
range extended by large numbers of scattered dwellings in the extreme east and
west of the sub-Province. Cultivation in open townfields was once present, but
early enclosure was commonplace. The physical diversity of the landscape was,
by the time of Domesday Book in 1086, linked with great variations in the
balance of cleared land and woodland.
The South Dorset local region is a diverse countryside comprising the South
Dorset Downs and narrow limestone ridges and clay vales which curve around the
chalk escarpments. Settlement is characterised by low concentrations of
scattered farmsteads, and small villages and hamlets: ancient settlements
whose arable fields were, on the evidence of Domesday Book, set among
substantial tracts of pasture and woodland in the 11th century.

Despite some disturbance caused by the construction of a car park over part of
the south eastern area, the medieval settlement at East Lulworth survives as a
series of well-preserved earthworks and associated buried deposits which are
known from partial excavation to contain archaeological and environmental
evidence relating to the monument and the associated landscape. It is unusual
in that it developed within a medieval deer park and, following the
construction of Lulworth Castle, was removed in around 1790 in order to create
open parkland. These represent unusual circumstances for the development and
desertion of a settlement. The settlement area was subsequently incorporated
into the later complex associated with Lulworth Castle. The later landscape
history of the area is well documented, records suggesting several phases of
parkland and formal gardens which superseded one another.

Deer parks are areas of land, usually enclosed or set aside and equipped for
the management and hunting of deer and other animals. They were generally
located in open countryside on marginal land or adjacent to a manor house,
castle or palace. They varied in size between 3ha and 1600ha and usually
comprised a combination of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of
cover and grazing for deer. Parks could contain a number of features including
hunting lodges (often moated), a park keeper's house, rabbit warrens,
fishponds and enclosures for game, and were usually surrounded by a park pale,
a massive fenced or hedged bank often with an internal ditch. Although a small
number of parks may have been established in the Anglo-Saxon period, it was
the Norman aristocracy's taste for hunting that led to the majority being
constructed. The peak period for the laying out of parks, between AD 1200 and
1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity amongst the nobility.
From the 15th century onwards, few parks were constructed and by the end of
the 17th century the deer park in its original form had largely disappeared.
The original number of deer parks nationally is unknown but probably exceeded
3000. Many of these survive, although often altered to a greater or lesser
degree. They were established in virtually every county in England, but are
most numerous in the West Midlands and Home Counties. Deer parks were a long
lived and widespread monument type. Today they serve to an important aspect of
the activities of medieval nobility and still exert a powerful influence on
the pattern of the modern landscape. Where a deer park survives well and is
well documented or associated with other significant remains, its principal
features are normally identified as nationally important.

Despite some reduction by ploughing of some areas of the park pale at East
Lulworth, nearly two thirds of the original circuit survives as an earthwork.
This represents an unusually high percentage for this class of monument and it
is partly due to the predominance of the woodland cover and partly to the
presence of a post-17th century boundary which follows a broadly similar
course. These factors have enabled much of the medieval park pale to become
fossilised within the later landscape of the area. The park pale at East
Lulworth formed the boundary of one of the largest and most significant
medieval deer parks in Dorset. The importance of the park is also likely to be
reflected in its close proximity to the hunting ground within the Royal Forest
of Purbeck.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Tracy, C, Historic Landscape of the Weld Estate, (1987), 63-65
Tracy, C, Historic Landscape of the Weld Estate, (1987), 59-61

Source: Historic England

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