Ancient Monuments

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Group of medieval strip lynchets at Knitson Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Langton Matravers, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6272 / 50°37'37"N

Longitude: -1.9923 / 1°59'32"W

OS Eastings: 400639.766092

OS Northings: 80829.373306

OS Grid: SZ006808

Mapcode National: GBR 33R.M3B

Mapcode Global: FRA 67QD.TYF

Entry Name: Group of medieval strip lynchets at Knitson Farm

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1959

Last Amended: 7 November 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019950

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33193

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Langton Matravers

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Langton Matravers St George

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a group of medieval strip lynchets situated on a
south-facing slope at Knitson Farm.
The lynchets, which now survive across an area of about 2ha, include a series
of cultivation terraces which were produced by medieval ploughing. The
lynchets developed as a result of the plough cutting into the upper edge of
the slope and the resulting material being deposited along the downslope edge
of the terrace. The surviving earthworks include two main components: scarps
or `risers' and the terraces or `treads'. The strip lynchets at Knitson occur
upon two alignments set at right angles to one another. To the west, a group
of three lynchets are aligned north-south against the gradient of the slope.
Here the lynchets include treads 100m long, between 8m to 20m wide with risers
between about 1m to 1.5m high. To the east, another group of three lynchets
are aligned east-west along the slope. These treads are 180m long, between 5m
to 25m wide, with risers between about 1m to 1.5m high.
The lynchets accord with the pattern of fields illustrated in a Tithe Map of
1841. They originally formed part of a more extensive medieval field system,
which is known from aerial photographic evidence to have extended over an area
of about 36ha, although much of this has since been reduced by ploughing.
Excluded from the scheduling are all gate and fence posts which relate to the
modern field boundaries, 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

Strip lynchets provide distinctive indications of medieval cultivation. They
occur widely in southern and south eastern England, and represent prominent
features on the Wessex chalkland. Strip lynchets, which are characterised by
the presence of terraces known as `treads' and scarps known as `risers', can
vary in length, with some examples exceeding 200m, many systems include groups
of three lynchets, while others are known to contain six or more.
The group of medieval strip lynchets at Knitson Farm are well-preserved and
represent part of the open field system associated with the medieval
settlement at Knitson. The twin alignment of the lynchets at right angles to
one another along the same slope represents an unusual feature. The lynchets
will provide an important insight into the medieval farming practices of the
area. They are well documented and will contain archaeological and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it
was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Mention Tithe Map,

Source: Historic England

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