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Dispersed medieval settlement remains at Frog Firle, 290m south east of Tile Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Cuckmere Valley, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.7931 / 50°47'34"N

Longitude: 0.1531 / 0°9'11"E

OS Eastings: 551843.711221

OS Northings: 101485.484003

OS Grid: TQ518014

Mapcode National: GBR LSK.9HC

Mapcode Global: FRA C66Z.X0Y

Entry Name: Dispersed medieval settlement remains at Frog Firle, 290m south east of Tile Barn

Scheduled Date: 18 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019284

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32280

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Cuckmere Valley

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Alfriston with Lullington

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes the remains of a dispersed medieval settlement situated
on a low spur, which projects from the Sussex Downs, on the western banks of
the Cuckmere River, around 2km north east of Seaford.
The settlement survives in the form of earthworks and associated buried
remains. The earthworks stand to a height of up to 1.3m and represent a
series of at least six adjoining, ENE-WSW aligned rectangular enclosures,
identified as a manorial complex with associated contemporary buildings. The
settlement is entered from the west, by a slightly sunken trackway which
passes through the centre of the site, and joins the banks of the river to the
east. Historical records suggest that the settlement was abandoned, and the
area divided into fields, by the mid-17th century. At this time, a barn was in
use within the area of the medieval settlement remains, and its surviving
flint and chalk rubble footings, measuring around 23m in length and 11m wide,
may represent the remains of an earlier, medieval building, within the north
western enclosure.

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 Coastlands local region extends from a flat plain inland of Selsey Bill to
low chalk cliffs east of Brighton. The roots of settlement are extremely
ancient, and late 18th century maps suggest a balanced mixture of farmsteads,
hamlets and villages, concentrated in the western portion of the region.

Medieval dispersed settlements, comprising hamlets of up to five dwellings or
isolated farmsteads, were scattered throughout the parish or township. Often
occuring in the more densely wooded, less intensively farmed areas, the form
and status of dispersed settlements varied enormously. When they survive as
earthworks, their most easily distinguishable features include roads and
tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, and
the enclosed fields or irregular field systems with which the dwellings were
associated. These rural settlements can also be represented by below ground
deposits. Higher status dwellings, such as moated residences or manorial
complexes, may have well-defined boundaries and planned gardens. In the
western and south eastern provinces of England, dispersed settlements 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 dispersed medieval settlement remains at Frog Firle, 290m south east of
Tile Barn represent the dispersed form of medieval rural settlement prevalent
within the Coastlands local region. The settlement remains survive well, and
field survey indicates that the monument will contain important archaeological
and environmental evidence for the development and abandonment of the medieval
settlement, and the way of life of its inhabitants.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Martin, D, Landscape survey: Lower Courts earthwork enclosures, Frog Firle, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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