Ancient Monuments

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Medieval farmstead, boundary work and earthwork enclosures 350m south east of Middle Soar

A Scheduled Monument in Malborough, Devon

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Latitude: 50.2172 / 50°13'1"N

Longitude: -3.8021 / 3°48'7"W

OS Eastings: 271526.0722

OS Northings: 36796.9382

OS Grid: SX715367

Mapcode National: GBR QG.8T5L

Mapcode Global: FRA 28XG.4L8

Entry Name: Medieval farmstead, boundary work and earthwork enclosures 350m south east of Middle Soar

Scheduled Date: 16 October 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020575

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34885

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Malborough

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Malborough All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes earthwork remains of a medieval farmstead with an
adjoining animal pound, a boundary work and parts of three adjoining earthwork
enclosures on coastal heathland overlooking a shallow valley. Views down the
valley to the east include spectacular coastal scenery.
At the west end of the monument is the medieval farmstead, comprising
earthworks of a longhouse aligned north to south and measuring 18m long
and 5m wide with walls 2m wide and up to 1m high. A doorway is located in
the east side, where there is an annexe running parallel to the longhouse.
This measures 2m wide internally and is enclosed by a wall which is 2m
wide and up to 0.8m high. To the north of the longhouse there is an animal
pound 6m wide and 9.5m long, trapezoidal in plan with a stone faced bank
2m wide and 1m high on its west side. A stone pier 1.2m wide and 1.5m high
abuts the inner face of the bank. A post-medieval stone wall overlies the
lower north and east side banks of the pound. Demolition rubble of a
World War II brick building and barbed wire entanglement posts lies across
the site.
A substantial earthen boundary work lies to the south east of the
farmstead and measures 12m wide and 2.5m high at its west end, tapering to
6.5m wide and 0.8m high at its east end, where it is cut by a later track.
The bank continues as a low earthwork and scarp in the hillside for 210m
to the east, where it abuts two contiguous ovoid earthwork enclosures.
These are enclosed by low earth banks from 2m to 3m wide and up to 1m
high, with gently sloping interiors. A third separate enclosure lies 30m
further east and is connected to the others by a continuation of the
boundary bank. Several low banks sub-dividing medieval cultivation strips
from 23m to 35m wide run up to the enclosures on their south side, their
terminal ends being contained within the scheduling. Earthwork banks
flanking a lane between these strips abut and pass through the boundary
bank towards its west end.
All fence posts, the stone boundary wall along the north side of the
scheduling, and the World War II debris on the site are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath all 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 past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the extensive south-west Peninsula sub-Province of the
Northern and Western Province, an area climatically, culturally and physically
distinct from the rest of England. It includes varying terrains, from the
granite uplands, through rolling dissected plateaux to fertile clay lowlands
in the east. Nucleated settlements are present, notably in the Devon
Lowlands and throughout the South Hams. Many of these originated as small
towns, whilst a high proportion may be late foundations. Excluding only the
moorland masses, the sub-Province is characterised by medium and high
densities of dispersed settlements; indeed, some of the former industrial
areas had densities as high as any in the country.

Despite slight stock erosion, the medieval farmstead, boundary work and
earthwork enclosures 350m south east of Middle Soar survive well, the
farmstead representing a good example of the dispersed settlement
characteristic of this sub-province. The earthworks will contain stratified
and environmental deposits relating to their construction and use. The ruined
walls of a post-medieval pound are important to the understanding of later use
of the site.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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