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Iron Age and Romano-British settlement remains on Woodcutts Common, 850m south east and 845m SSE of Arundell Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Berwick St. John, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 50.9625 / 50°57'44"N

Longitude: -2.0534 / 2°3'12"W

OS Eastings: 396346.991794

OS Northings: 118119.875479

OS Grid: ST963181

Mapcode National: GBR 2ZL.PNV

Mapcode Global: FRA 66LK.MVP

Entry Name: Iron Age and Romano-British settlement remains on Woodcutts Common, 850m south east and 845m SSE of Arundell Cottages

Scheduled Date: 10 April 1957

Last Amended: 24 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020629

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35230

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Berwick St. John

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Sixpenny Handley with Gussage St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which falls into two areas of protection, includes
settlement remains of later Iron Age and Romano-British date, situated on
a gentle south west facing slope on Woodcutts Common, within the area of
Cranborne Chase. The settlement lies on the eastern side of an area of
field system which has been levelled by ploughing and is not included
within the scheduling.
The settlement site, which covers an area of about 1.6ha, comprises a
series of enclosures and associated trackways. Partial excavations were
conducted at the site by J H Austin in 1863 and by General Pitt-Rivers
between 1884-5. These suggest the presence of a farmstead which had three
main phases of development. The first, which dates to the earlier first
century AD, included a roughly circular enclosure defined by an external
ditch. The enclosure was served by wide entrances to the north, south and
west, with at least one structure within the western area. Trackways led
from the northern and southern entrances. During the later second century
AD, additional enclosures were constructed to the east and west of the
main enclosure. The two mounds to the north east (in the second area of
protection) and north west, from which human remains were recovered, are
also thought to date to this period. A third construction phase, dating to
the early fourth century AD, resulted in the construction of a new
enclosure partly over the sites of the earlier main and western
enclosures. The new enclosure contained a well and a building with painted
wattled walls and roofing slabs. This period also saw two additional
enclosures constructed to the east and south east, while a third
additional enclosure, known as `Church Barrow', was incorporated into the
existing trackway about 150m south east of the main settlement area. The
settlement includes a group of four small hypocaust corn drying sites and
over 30 human burials which were widely spread over the site. The
numerous finds from the excavations, which included pottery, metal work
and a coin hoard, are now held at the Dorset and Wiltshire County Museums.
Pitt-Rivers partly reconstructed the earthworks visible today and these
earthworks reflect the excavated features rather than the remains visible
prior to excavation.
All fence posts and gates which relate to the modern field boundaries are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number,
density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare
combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the
largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known
cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge
monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include
a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries
which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval
periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely
to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting
Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival
within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which
applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has
attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th
century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir
Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of
British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout
the 20th century and to the present day.

Later Iron Age and Romano-British occupation occurred widely across
Cranborne Chase and included a range of settlement types. The surviving
remains comprise farmsteads, hamlets, villages and hillforts, which
together demonstrate an important sequence of settlement. The
non-defensive enclosed farm or homestead is the smallest and most simple
of these types. There are over 50 recorded examples within the area which
are thought to date to this period. Most early examples are characterised
by a curvilinear enclosure with round buildings, although these are
sometimes superseded by rectilinear or triangular shaped enclosures with
rectilinear buildings. On Cranborne Chase, many examples were occupied
over an extensive period and some grew in size and complexity.
The settlement remains on Woodcutts Common survive as a series of
well-preserved earthworks, as excavated and restored by General
Pitt-Rivers. The settlement offers a well understood sequence with
well-preserved archaeological and environmental remains. These demonstrate
a significant sequence of development throughout the later prehistoric and
Romano-British periods and offer an important understanding of the
economic and social activities within the area during the period of

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
An Inventory of the Historical monuments of Dorset: Volume V, (1975), 68-9
An Inventory of the Historical monuments of Dorset: Volume V, (1975), 68-9
Description, RCHME (NMR),

Source: Historic England

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