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Lower Woolston medieval settlement

A Scheduled Monument in North Cadbury, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.0452 / 51°2'42"N

Longitude: -2.4925 / 2°29'33"W

OS Eastings: 365569.076727

OS Northings: 127427.517804

OS Grid: ST655274

Mapcode National: GBR MW.GDB6

Mapcode Global: FRA 56NC.4RZ

Entry Name: Lower Woolston medieval settlement

Scheduled Date: 22 December 1977

Last Amended: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018150

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28855

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: North Cadbury

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a medieval settlement on the lower slopes of a south
east facing hillside in south Somerset. The land slopes from the higher ground
on the north west to the lower ground adjacent to a tributary of the River Cam
to the south east.
The settlement includes earthworks indicating the sites of houses and other
village features, areas of medieval agriculture and water management features.
On the higher part of the slope are a number of fields or enclosures with
banks 0.75m high and 3m wide. A hollow way about 1m deep and 2m wide runs
north east-south west below the enclosures. This has about six house platforms
on the north west side, each about 15m wide, running back into the hillside.
Below this, on the lower ground, there are water management features which
take advantage of overspill from the river. These water management features
follow the line of the river along the valley bottom and include a bank 1m
high parallel to the river which acts as a barrier to prevent water reaching
the level of the house platforms. At the north east end there is a second bank
closer to the river, 1m high and 7m wide, which is thought to be a water
catchment system. At the south east end there is an enclosure bordering the
Documentary evidence indicates that this settlement was independent of the
manor of Yarlington. The settlement is also mentioned in 14th century
The post and wire fences which are part of the field boundaries and the field
gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is

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 Somerset Levels and Polden Hills local region is divided into two parts by
the low ridge of the Poldens. Settlements are few on the wide green wetlands,
but the land is intricate enough to bring ridges, islands and tongues of
higher land into close contact with the Levels. It is at the junction between
these dry lands and wetlands that ancient villages and hamlets are to be

The medieval settlement of Lower Woolston has prominent earthworks which mark
the locations of village features. These earthworks and additional buried
remains will contain archaeological deposits and environmental evidence
relating to the settlement and the agricultural landscape in which it was
situated. Evidence of medieval agriculture and water management features are
associated with the settlement, and their relationship to the settlement is
an essential element in understanding the site.

Source: Historic England


SMR No 54732, Somerset C. C. SMR,

Source: Historic England

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