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Medieval settlement 190m south west of Perry's Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Lydford-on-Fosse, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.0694 / 51°4'10"N

Longitude: -2.6069 / 2°36'24"W

OS Eastings: 357571.401291

OS Northings: 130187.861768

OS Grid: ST575301

Mapcode National: GBR MQ.DTLV

Mapcode Global: FRA 56F9.86Y

Entry Name: Medieval settlement 190m south west of Perry's Bridge

Scheduled Date: 14 February 1978

Last Amended: 14 March 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019031

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32179

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Lydford-on-Fosse

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes the surviving portion of a medieval settlement located
in a field known as Perry Court immediately west of Perry Hill Road. It is
situated on a wide tract of low lying ground to the south of the River
Cary and north west of Lower Foddington.
The earthwork remains of the settlement are aligned broadly from north to
south and are represented by a series of rectangular, square, circular and
linear earthworks which indicate the sites of settlement features such as
houses, yards, paddocks or small fields, ponds, and at least two connecting
streets or tracks. A hollow way, approximately 8m wide, running from north to
south is located at the centre of the site and probably served as the main
street. At least four well defined platforms, up to 1m high, with an average
length of 20m and approximately 15m wide, are considered to mark the position
of houses located adjacent to the west side of the hollow way. A second hollow
way crosses the northern section of the site from east to west and forms a
junction with the main street. A further two house platforms approximately 20m
across are located adjacent to its north side.
Three pits or dry ponds, with an average diameter of 15m and between about
0.5m to 1m deep are located in the southern part of the settlement. Two
smaller pits are located near to the centre of the site. Several small fields
or paddocks, approximately 50m long and 20m wide and defined by low banks, are
visible on the east side of the settlement between the main street and the
modern road. A 5m wide linear ditch which runs from north to south is located
on the west side of the settlement. The ditch is flanked on its inner side at
its north west corner for part of its length by a bank of a similar width, and
forms a right angle to the north west of the main settlement features; it has
been interpreted as part of the boundary of a manor house. Traces of a low
bank around the perimeter of the field in which the earthworks lie can still
be seen in places, which suggests that the settlement was enclosed although
this bank has become obscured by thick hedges and modern drainage. All of the
visible earthworks were surveyed by the Royal Commission on the Historical
Monuments of England in 1978.

All post and wire fences, telegraph poles and water troughs are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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 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 190m south west of Perry's Bridge is represented by
well defined earthworks which mark the locations of houses, including the site
of a possible manor house, and associated fields, paddocks and other features
which suggest that the community was devoted primarily to agriculture,
possibly acting as a focus for manorial administration. These earthworks and
additional buried features will contain archaeological deposits and
environmental evidence relating to the settlement and the landscape in which
it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Aston, M, 'Proceedings Somerset Archaeological & Natural History Society' in Somerset Archaeology, , Vol. 121, (1976), 117-119
RCHME, Survey of Perry Court Field, (1978)

Source: Historic England

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