Ancient Monuments

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Medieval settlement 750m north west of Knowlton

A Scheduled Monument in Gussage All Saints, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.8932 / 50°53'35"N

Longitude: -1.9756 / 1°58'32"W

OS Eastings: 401808.84775

OS Northings: 110408.061388

OS Grid: SU018104

Mapcode National: GBR 30G.Z79

Mapcode Global: FRA 66RR.24X

Entry Name: Medieval settlement 750m north west of Knowlton

Scheduled Date: 5 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020583

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35212

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Gussage All Saints

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Woodlands The Ascension

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes the
site of the medieval settlement remains at Knowlton, situated on the south
eastern terrace of the River Allen, on Cranborne Chase.
The settlement survives as a series of earthworks which extend over an area of
4ha and was surveyed by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of
England in 1975. The earthworks are now cut by a lane, aligned north west by
south east, which divides it near the north eastern end.
The main settlement area lies to the south west of the road and is broadly
aligned north east by south west along the valley. The settlement includes a
series of platforms and enclosures which have been terraced into the steep
river cliff to the south east. At least 12 divisions are suggested by the
boundaries within the settlement and within these are several rectangular
platforms which are likely to represent the sites of buildings. A drainage
channel (which is now disused) lies within the north eastern area of the
settlement and is likely to be of a post-medieval date. The site has produced
12th to 17th century pottery, as well as finds of heathstone and flint rubble.
Knowlton village is mentioned twice in the Domesday survey of 1086 when it
is referred to as `Chenoltune'. The population numbers are not known, but the
extension of the church in the 15th century might imply a substantial
population until at least this time. Knowlton Church is known to have become
unfrequented by the mid-17th century and it is possible that the population of
the village had dwindled by this time. The church lies within a prehistoric
henge monument, some 550m to the north east. It is the subject of a separate
Knowlton lies close to a broadly contemporary settlement at Brockington,
situated on the other side of the river valley, and the subject of a separate
scheduling. The two settlements lie within different parishes and were always
distinct from one another.
All gates and fence posts which relate to the 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 medieval settlement 750m north west of Knowlton is comparatively
well-preserved as a series of earthwork remains and associated buried
deposits which will contain archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.
Knowlton is also significant as the settlement associated with Knowlton
Church which was unusually situated within a henge monument 550m to the
north east. Knowlton represents one of two settlement sites which survive
within the area (the other being Brockington) and, together, these will
provide insight into local society and the economy of the area throughout
the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 113

Source: Historic England

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