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Medieval settlement in Eastdean Park, 670m north east of Counter's Gate

A Scheduled Monument in East Dean, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9007 / 50°54'2"N

Longitude: -0.7221 / 0°43'19"W

OS Eastings: 489956.837236

OS Northings: 112028.107911

OS Grid: SU899120

Mapcode National: GBR DG2.J81

Mapcode Global: FRA 96CQ.JHZ

Entry Name: Medieval settlement in Eastdean Park, 670m north east of Counter's Gate

Scheduled Date: 2 April 1965

Last Amended: 27 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018038

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31205

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: East Dean

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: East Dean, Singleton and West Dean

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a medieval dispersed settlement situated at the head of
a coomb, on the north-facing slope of a chalk ridge which forms part of the
Sussex Downs.

A 1992 survey identified the remains of at least three structures, which
survive in earthwork form and as ruined sections of mortared, flint rubble
wall visible to a height of up to 2m in places. These represent the main
dwelling houses, yards and outbuildings of the settlement. Investigations
carried out in 1964 suggested that the buildings are of 14th and 16th century
date and finds recovered included 14th century pottery sherds and oyster
shells. The presence in the coomb of an underground watercourse, indicated by
a flint-lined well in the north eastern part of the monument, explains the
establishment of the settlement on higher ground, around 1km south of the
River Lavant.

Earlier occupation in and around the area of the medieval settlement was
demonstrated by finds of Iron Age and Roman pottery and a Roman cremation
burial. Further buried remains relating to these earlier periods will survive
beneath the later medieval settlement. Earthworks can also be traced in the
areas beyond the monument, including part of a boundary earthwork to the east,
but these are not sufficiently understood and are therefore not included in
the scheduling.

Historical records show that the medieval settlement lies in an area
established as parkland by at least 1189. Features associated with the use of
the park for deer management can also be expected to survive in the area
around the monument.

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.

Medieval dispersed settlements were agricultural hamlets, or small groups of
farmsteads or dwellings, several of which might have been sited within a
parish or township. Although sometimes sharing resources such as meadows or
woodlands, dispersed settlements were not, unlike contemporary villages,
organised around a centralised, communal administration. Dispersed settlements
varied in form and extent, but when they survive as earthworks they usually
include tracks, platforms on which stood houses and ancillary buildings,
enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks.

The medieval settlement in Eastdean Park, 670m north east of Counter's Gate,
survives well and represents the less common, dispersed form of rural
settlement found within the chalk downland valleys of the East Wessex sub-
Province. Investigations have demonstrated that the monument retains
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its original
construction and use.

The medieval settlement may overlie traces of earlier, Iron Age and Roman
occupation, illustrating the continuity of settlement location in this area of
downland from the late prehistoric to the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Kenny, J, 'Archaeology of Chichester and District' in East Dean: Eastdean Park, (1992), 30-31

Source: Historic England

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