MSO11244 - Post-medieval water meadow at Elworthy Farm (Monument)


A post-medieval catchwater meadow is visible on aerial photographs and on Ordnance Survey mapping as a series of earthworks.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Earthworks of an irrigation system, probably 16th or 17th Century. Shown as small leats on OSAD 6" map with gaps signifying sluices. [1,2] A post medieval field gutter system lies to the north of Elworthy Farm, centred at ST 0835 3515. [3] A post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks north of Elworthy Farm, Elworthy. Centred at approximately ST 0833 3515, five gutters are visible running north-south along the contours of a west-facing slope and covering an area of some 2.3 hectares. They appear to have been fed from a spring at the northern end of the system, which does not appear to be connected to any local farmyards, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers. Catchwater meadows used a series of approximately parallel gutters were used to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow in order to prevent freezing in winter and encourage early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock. Most catchwater meadows are believed to date to the post medieval period, although it is possible that they were first developed in the medieval period. [4-5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Unassigned: Aston, M. 30.11.76. Somerset County Council.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1962. 6" ST03SE and ST03NE.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Riley, H.. Field Investigators Comments. 1999 RCHME Field Investigation.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1944 1005-06 23-JAN-1947.
  • <5> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition.



Grid reference Centred ST 0825 3520 (370m by 511m)
Map sheet ST03NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: ST 03 NE81
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1302019
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33585

Record last edited

Mar 7 2013 10:05AM


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