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Richardson medieval settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Winterbourne Bassett, Wiltshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4668 / 51°28'0"N

Longitude: -1.8597 / 1°51'34"W

OS Eastings: 409842.698232

OS Northings: 174216.453618

OS Grid: SU098742

Mapcode National: GBR 3TZ.YG2

Mapcode Global: VHB3Y.QD6C

Entry Name: Richardson medieval settlement

Scheduled Date: 9 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019188

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30297

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Winterbourne Bassett

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Details

The monument includes the remains of the abandoned medieval settlement of
Richardson situated immediately east of Richardson Cottage on the flood
plain of the River Kennet.

The medieval settlement survives as a series of low rectangular building
platforms, enclosures and trackways located either side of an east to west
orientated hollow way which led to a fording point across the river. This
represented the main thoroughfare through the settlement and remained in use
as late as 1773, before being abandoned by 1844 and subsequently adapted for
use as an open field drain. The building platforms adjacent to the hollow way
measure between 20m and 50m in width and include stone or brick wall
foundations up to 0.3m in height, visible as low banks. In most cases the
platforms have enclosures adjacent to them and these probably represent
gardens or cultivation plots. Additional evidence of agriculture survives on
the north eastern side of the settlement where there is a small area
representing medieval ridge and furrow cultivation. A series of terraces and
broad parallel channels on the north western side of the hollow way belong to
an 18th century formal garden, the country house associated with which was
demolished in the 19th century having replaced an earlier manorial site.

The settlement was referred to in 1242 as Ricardestone, and in 1377 there were
31 poll tax payers within the hamlet, the overlordship of which descended with
the earldom of Hereford until the death of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford
and Essex in 1383. By 1545 the settlement had largely been abandoned with only
two inhabitants eligible for taxation, and from 1614 the manor of Richardson
descended with that of Winterbourne Bassett. In the late 17th century the
manor was divided between Upper and Lower Richardson Farms, the part of Lower
Richardson Farm which included the abandoned settlement becoming a part of
Rabson Farm from about 1780 onwards.

All bridges, fences and feed troughs are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 East Wessex sub-Province of the south-eastern
Province, an area in which settlement characteristics are shaped by strong
contrasts in terrain. This is seen in the division between the chalk Downs,
where chains of nucleated settlements concentrate in the valleys, and the
Hampshire Basin, still dominated by the woodlands and open commons of the
ancient New Forest, where nucleated sites are largely absent. Along the
coastal strip extending into Sussex are more nucleations, while in Hampshire
some coastal areas and inland valleys are marked by high densities of
dispersed settlement, much of it post-medieval.
The Berkshire Downs and Marlborough Downs local region is characterised by
extremely low densities of dispersed settlements on the downland, with
villages and dense `strings' of hamlets and farmsteads in the well-watered
valleys. Modern settlements are interspersed with the earthworks of abandoned
medieval settlement sites.

Medieval settlement plans vary enormously, but when they survive as earthworks
their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms
on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and
small paddocks. In the central provinces of England, villages were the most
distinctive aspect of medieval life, and their archaeological remains are one
of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or
more centuries following the Norman Conquest.

The remains of the abandoned Richardson medieval settlement survive well as
a series of earthworks and buried deposits. Many areas have remained
undisturbed since their abandonment and the survival of archaeological
deposits relating to their occupation and use is likely to be good. These
deposits will contain important information about the dating, layout and
economy of the settlement, and together with contemporary documents relating
to the hamlet, will provide a good opportunity to understand the mechanisms
behind its development, decline and eventual abandonment.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire
The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire
Other
AER 1862,
English Heritage, NMR SU 07 SE 23,
Title:
Source Date: 1773
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
Plate 14
Wiltshire County Council, SU 07 SE 454,

Source: Historic England

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