Ancient Monuments

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Medieval settlement 850m north of St Mary's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Charminster, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.7407 / 50°44'26"N

Longitude: -2.4559 / 2°27'21"W

OS Eastings: 367927.408334

OS Northings: 93557.574588

OS Grid: SY679935

Mapcode National: GBR PY.3WBF

Mapcode Global: FRA 57R4.11D

Entry Name: Medieval settlement 850m north of St Mary's Church

Scheduled Date: 27 January 1960

Last Amended: 11 February 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020183

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33551

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Charminster

Built-Up Area: Charminster

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Charminster St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes the earthwork remains of a medieval settlement situated
on a steep west facing slope on the eastern side of the Cerne valley.
The site is almost certainly the former farmstead of Charlton, one of a number
of settlements recorded as Cerne in the Domesday Book, each with an associated
strip of land running from the river bank north east up to the chalk. It is
not listed in any of the 14th century Subsidy Rolls, but in 1662 a population
of one household is listed at Charlton Farm.
The farmstead is situated within a rectangular enclosure, surrounded on the
north, south and east sides by a bank about 4m wide and up to 1.5m high
externally, 0.4m internally, with an external ditch up to 2m wide and 0.5m
deep. The interior is divided by banks and ditches into five rectangular
enclosures. In the north western enclosure are two platforms terraced into the
base of the slope, which may be the sites of buildings. The western side of
the site lies on the flat ground of the valley floor at the base of the slope;
in this area two patches of cobbling have been exposed by ploughing together
with pottery of 13th and 14th century date. Part of a medieval strip lynchet,
up to 3m wide and 2m high, lying adjacent to the eastern side of the
enclosure, is included in the scheduling. This forms part of a series of strip
lynchets which extend along the valley, to the north of the settlement and
represent evidence for farming practices contemporary with the settlement.
Only the extant example is included in the scheduling, the remainder having
been reduced by cultivation and no longer clearly defined.
All fence posts 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.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 earthwork remains of the medieval settlement and adjacent strip lynchet
850m north of St Mary's church are well-preserved and will contain
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to medieval agriculture,
the economy of the settlement's inhabitants and the environment in which they

Source: Historic England


Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset, (1970)

Source: Historic England

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