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Medieval settlement of North Louvard

A Scheduled Monument in Piddlehinton, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.7618 / 50°45'42"N

Longitude: -2.3894 / 2°23'21"W

OS Eastings: 372629.26278

OS Northings: 95873.983009

OS Grid: SY726958

Mapcode National: GBR 0Z0.2QT

Mapcode Global: FRA 57W2.GXK

Entry Name: Medieval settlement of North Louvard

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019411

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33185

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Piddlehinton

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Piddlehinton St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes the site of the deserted medieval settlement of North
Louvard at Muston, situated on the northern terrace of the River Piddle.
The settlement is one of several in the Piddle valley mentioned in the
Domesday Survey. The site was recorded by J Hutchins in 1774, by which time it
had been deserted. The settlement, which occupied an elevated river terrace
and is aligned north west by south east, survives as a series of earthworks
which extend over an area of about 4ha. It includes five artificial platforms
or terraces which range from 20m-30m in length and between 20m-40m in width.
These are likely to represent `closes' or individual property plots. To the
south west, a hollow way runs parallel to the river and this may represent the
main route through the settlement.
A series of low earthworks on the lower floodplain of the river, to the south
west of the settlement, are likely to represent an area of water meadow. These
features are of an uncertain date, but are likely to post-date the medieval
settlement. The area of the water meadow which occupies the archaeologically
sensitive area lying between the settlement and the river is included in the
Historical documentation records that the manor and `hamlet' at Muston (also
known variously as `Piddle Musterton' or `Mousterton') was awarded to Cerne
Abbey by King Edgar of the West Saxons. Hutchins records that the manor had
pasture for 100 ewes, four rams and that the right to hay belonged to Cerne
Abbey. The cause of the desertion is uncertain, but many settlements in this
area are known to have gradually declined.
All gates and fence posts of modern field boundaries are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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 South Dorset local region is a diverse countryside comprising the South
Dorset Downs and narrow limestone ridges and clay vales which curve around the
chalk escarpments. Settlement is characterised by low concentrations of
scattered farmsteads, and small villages and hamlets: ancient settlements
whose arable fields were, on the evidence of Domesday Book, set among
substantial tracts of pasture and woodland in the 11th century.

The medieval settlement of North Louvard survives well as a series of well-
preserved earthworks and associated buried remains and will contain
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the
associated landscape. The settlement remains are further complimented by the
presence of water meadows within the adjacent area of the valley bottom.
Muston forms one of several medieval settlement sites within the Piddle valley
and, together, these will provide an insight into the economy of the area
throughout the medieval and successive periods.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 210-211
Hutchins, J, A History of Dorset, (1774)

Source: Historic England

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