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Lower Ditchford medieval settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Blockley, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 52.0283 / 52°1'41"N

Longitude: -1.6701 / 1°40'12"W

OS Eastings: 422731.06491

OS Northings: 236702.139747

OS Grid: SP227367

Mapcode National: GBR 5Q3.YBG

Mapcode Global: VHBYT.08FZ

Entry Name: Lower Ditchford medieval settlement

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1959

Last Amended: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018152

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28857

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Blockley

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Blockley St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a medieval settlement on a south west-facing slope in a
valley in the Cotswolds. Knee Brook runs along the valley bottom.
The settlement includes earthworks indicating the sites of houses and other
village features, areas of medieval agriculture and water management features.
The settlement is orientated north east-south west following the course of
Knee Brook.
On the west bank of Knee Brook, the south west end of the monument contains
the occupation area of the settlement. Here a hollow way, 1m deep, enters the
field from the south.The hollow way doglegs to the north west, widening to
form a village green with a pond, 0.75m deep, on its south side and house
platforms on both sides along its whole length. The street narrows and then
widens again at its north west end to form another green. To the north east
of the occupation area are a series of enclosures, separated by ditches or
hollow ways. A wide droveway links the enclosures to the stream and gives
access to the enclosures. To the east of the enclosures are a series of large
fields lying close to the brook. These appear to have been seasonal meadows
which could be flooded in winter. Their high western banks, 4m wide and 0.8m
high, would prevent water reaching the higher levels where the house platforms
and enclosures lay. To the north east of the enclosures is evidence of
medieval agriculture in the form of ridge and furrow. There are a number of
mounds in the settlement, 8m in diameter and 0.5m high, which are considered
to be clearance mounds. On the east side of the brook there are a couple of
house platforms adjacent to the road in the south end of the field. An old
course of the brook runs through this field and opens into a pond in the north
part of the field. This pond has banks 1m high.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are the post and
wire fences which are part of the field boundaries and wood and metal gates;
the ground beneath these features is, however, 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 Inner Midlands sub-Province of the Central Province,
an area characterised by large numbers of nucleated settlements, both
surviving and deserted, many of which are thought to have been established in
Anglo-Saxon times. Most of the sub-Province's thinly scattered dispersed
settlements were created in post-medieval times, but some of the local regions
are characterised by higher proportions of dispersed dwellings and hamlets,
which probably mark the patchy survival of older landscapes.
The Stour-Avon-Soar Clay Vales local region is dominated by village and hamlet
settlements. It was once characterised by large townfields under communal
cultivation, traces which survive as ridge and furrow earthworks. It contains
the sites of many depopulated villages and hamlets, perhaps up to one third of
the total number of such settlements which existed in the Middle Ages.

The medieval settlement of Lower Ditchford is a good example of a nucleated
medieval settlement in the central province inner midlands sub-province. It
has prominant earthworks which mark the locations of village features, arable
areas and water management 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

Source: Historic England

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