Ancient Monuments

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Over Chalford medieval settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Enstone, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9242 / 51°55'27"N

Longitude: -1.489 / 1°29'20"W

OS Eastings: 435233.245471

OS Northings: 225198.926735

OS Grid: SP352251

Mapcode National: GBR 6T1.8CP

Mapcode Global: VHBZ9.4WNS

Entry Name: Over Chalford medieval settlement

Scheduled Date: 3 November 1958

Last Amended: 23 October 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018426

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30826

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Enstone

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Enstone

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the remains of Over Chalford (sometimes referred to as
Broadstone) medieval settlement which is situated on high ground on the north
side of the River Glyme at a point where the river runs through a narrow
steep-sided valley. The river is fordable immediately to the west, and there
is a settlement known as Nether Chalford, the subject of a separate
scheduling, on the opposite slope of the river valley.
Over Chalford medieval settlement survives as a remarkably well-preserved
series of earthworks which clearly show the layout of the streets and
buildings. In addition, documentary records, aerial photographs and
archaeological survey have helped to build up a picture of the village during
the medieval period. Entering the village from the south west (across the
ford) a hollow way leads directly north and uphill towards the main Chipping
Norton to Enstone road. A sample of this hollow way, 200m long, is included in
the scheduling to preserve its relationship with the settlement. To the east
and slightly higher than the river bank lies an open, roughly triangular,
village green measuring about 80m across. Immediately north of this at a right
angle to the hollow way from the ford lies an east-running hollow way which
forms the main street through the village. This runs to a point at the centre
of the earthworks where it turns left and runs north up the slope.
At the centre of the settlement are two stone gate pillars 2m high, 0.7m wide
and approximately 2m apart forming an entrance to an enclosure around what is
believed to be the remains of the church. Immediately south is a further
enclosure with several well-defined building foundations which represent the
manor house and its ancillary stables and other buildings. North and south of
the track leading to the remains of the church and manor house are a series of
at least seven roughly rectangular enclosures or `crofts', defined by stone
and earthen banks measuring from roughly 25m square to over 75m across.
From documentary evidence it is known that the manor was established by 1086
and its economy was dependent on grazing the meadow near the river and around
the village, with wooded and arable land higher up the hill to the north. The
village began to shrink in size from about 1450, and this was probably due in
part to the Black Death although the main cause was the increasing move from
an early date, towards pastoral farming. In 1473 Oriel College, Oxford
obtained both Over and Nether Chalford, and they were subsequently leased in
1480 to Richard Croft, Lord of Chipping Norton Manor.
In 1506 a Thomas Haydock obtained the lease, and in 1510 he successfully
applied for permission to enclose all remaining arable land in the two
settlements and to let the houses fall into ruin. By 1524 the Chalfords were
not considered settled for tax purposes and subsequently the land was only
ever leased as pasture. Subsequent settlement in the area was limited to
small, dispersed farms and of these only one, Old Chalford Farm survived up to
the present day.
Excluded from the scheduling are all post and wire boundary fences, although
the ground beneath 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.
The South Midlands local region is large, and capable of further subdivision.
Strongly banded from south west to north east, it comprises a broad succession
of clay vales and limestone or marlstone ridges, complicated by local drifts
which create many subtle variations in terrain. The region is in general
dominated by nucleated villages of medieval origin, with isolated farmsteads,
mostly of post-medieval date, set in the spaces between them. Depopulated
village sites are common, and moated sites are present on the claylands.

In addition to being a good example of a nucleated medieval settlement, within
the South Midlands local region, Over Chalford is one of the best preserved
sites of its kind in Oxfordshire. It is unusual in forming one of a pair of
villages, separated by the River Glyme which had separate early histories,
although they came under single ownership at a later date.
Evidence provided by aerial photographs, field survey, field observation and
documentation indicates that the site contains important and largely
undisturbed archaeological remains. These will provide evidence relating to
the physical form of the village, the wealth and activities of its occupants
and the development of the settlement and its buildings over time. The
evidence will also allow the study of how changing economic factors and
ownership can affect the lives of a settlement's inhabitants and, in this
case, how they ultimately led to the abandonment of the site in favour of
pastoral farming. Study of this evidence alongside the separate but eventually
similar fate of Nether Chalford settlement would provide valuable information
about the development of rural landuse in the South Midlands.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Aston, M, Broadstone, (1971)
Aston, M, Broadstone, (1971)
Gobels, M D, The History of Dean and Chalford, (1935)
Oxoniensia, , 'Oxoniensia' in Broadstone, , Vol. XXXVI, (1971), 49
On site review meeting, Lisk, S., Discussion with SMR Officer, (1997)
PRN 948 Core, SMRO, Broadstone, (1971)
PRN 948, S.M.R.O., Broadstone / Over Chalford Deserted Village (Site), (1971)
PRN 948, SMRO, Broadstone, (1971)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500
Source Date: 1982

Source: Historic England

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