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Nether Chalford medieval settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Enstone, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9243 / 51°55'27"N

Longitude: -1.4954 / 1°29'43"W

OS Eastings: 434793.548942

OS Northings: 225208.878044

OS Grid: SP347252

Mapcode National: GBR 6T1.6RQ

Mapcode Global: VHBZ9.1W8P

Entry Name: Nether Chalford medieval settlement

Scheduled Date: 3 November 1958

Last Amended: 23 October 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018427

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30827

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 Nether Chalford medieval settlement and
its church which lie on the top of a north-facing valley slope to the south of
the River Glyme. The settlement lies just south west of an ancient ford,
opposite the remains of the medieval settlement of Over Chalford which is the
subject of a separate scheduling.
Nether Chalford medieval settlement is known from aerial photographs,
archaeological surveys, historical documentation and limited field
investigation. The settlement is aligned roughly north west to south east
along a hollow way which forms a crossroads with a second hollow way roughly
at the centre of the settlement. The remains of the church, last mentioned in
1412, lie south east of the crossroads at the village centre and stand out
because, unlike the majority of the other smaller buildings, it is aligned
east to west rather than north to south. The church was the largest building
in the village, and to its north is an enclosure, known as a `croft' which
contains some of the best preserved building platforms and is almost certainly
the site of the manor house. Radiating out from this core are a number of
further crofts which are divided by stone and earthen banks. They enclose
areas ranging from approximately 25m square to over 60m across. These enclose
at least nine sets of building platforms or `tofts', many of which are still
visible at ground level. The tofts measure from 3m wide by 8m long up to 13m
long by 8m wide. There were originally many other buildings constructed of
wood which are no longer visible at ground level but which will survive as
archaeological features buried below the present turf.
From documentary evidence it is known that the manor was established (like
that at Over Chalford to the north) by 1086, and that its economy seems to
have depended mainly on animal grazing with arable and wooded land on higher
ground to the south and away from the immediate area of settlement. In
assessments of 1220 the land of the village was also recorded as primary
pasture. Despite this preponderance of pasture land, the settlement also had a
mill although the location of this is not known with any certainty.
The earliest recorded inhabitant of the manor was Robert Maudut in 1242 and a
number of subsequent occupants appear periodically in records until 1473 when
Oriel College, Oxford obtained both Nether Chalford Manor and the neighbouring
manor of Over Chalford (also known as Broadstone). They were subsequently
leased together to Richard Croft, Lord of Chipping Norton Manor in 1480. In
1506 Thomas Haydock obtained the lease and in 1510 applied for and received
permission to enclose all the 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 survives.
Excluded from the scheduling are the 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.

Nether Chalford is a good example of a nucleated medieval settlement within
the South Midlands local region and is one of the best preserved sites of its
type 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 one ownership at a later date.
Evidence provided by aerial photographs, archaeological survey, field
observation and documentation indicates that Nether Chalford contains
important and largely undisturbed archaeological remains relating to the
development, occupation and economy of the village from its original
establishment up to and beyond its final abandonment as a settlement.
This evidence will not only provide an insight into the physical form and
layout of the settlement itself but will also provide information on the
number and occupations of its inhabitants and their wealth and tastes over
time. Taken along with evidence from Over Chalford it will provide an insight
into the economic and agricultural forces which led to villages such as these
being abandoned in favour of other settlement sites within the region as a

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beresford, M, Lost Villages of England, (1954), 300
PRN 947 - Note 5 references, SMRO, Nether Chalford, (1971)
PRN 947, SMRO, Nether Chalford, (1971)
Site meeting discussion, Lisk, S., Discussion with SMRO, (1997)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500
Source Date: 1982

Source: Historic England

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