MSO7370 - Medieval field system at Ley Hill (Monument)

Summary

A field system of medieval date is visible on aerial photographs comprising strip lynchets, ridge and furrow and earthwork field banks on Ley Hill. It is thought to be associated with the deserted settlement at its northern end.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A field system was recorded on the eastern side of Ley Hill, initially from aerial photographs, and subsequently during archaeological evaluation work. [1] The field system, centred at SS 8900 4485, stretches for some 14 hectures on the eastern side of Ley Hill. It lies partly on open moorland and partly in oak woodland. It comprises two blocks of strip lynchets and a series of large rectilinear fields. The whole complex appears to be medieval, and is associated with the deserted medieval settlement at its northern end (SS 84 NE 67). Surveyed at 1:2500 scale as part of the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England's East Exmoor Project; a detailed report has been archived in the National Monuments Record. [2] The presence of strip lynchets, one of which emerges from the settlement itself, indicates that the field system is contemporary with the settlement. The lynchets form two blocks, the northernmost of which emerges from the southern side of the settlement. The lynchets survive as spread, intermittent scarps, up to 1.2 metres high, and stretching for some 325 metres, in the woodland. In places, pollarded oaks appear to concentrate along them, although further work would be needed to ascertain whether such a phenomenon is a chance occurrence, or a deliberate attempt to grow pollards between the cultivated strips. The southerly block forms an almost rectangular area, and the dividing strips are set at very regular intervals; they are much shorter, being only 120 metres long. West of these two areas the field system continues, but here there are no lynchets, rather compact earthen boundary banks and traces of ridge and furrow. This change might suggest subsequent extensions to the field system, but is more likely to represent an outfield or less intensively treated pasture. In any case the generally incoherent fields and incomplete boundaries strongly suggest that the limits of the system fluctuated. [5] A field system of probable medieval date on Ley Hill is visible on aerial photographs as earthwork field banks. The visible extent of the field system was transcribed as part of the Exmoor national Mapping Programme survey, but due to the oak cover of Horner Wood, much is not visible on the aerial photographs available to the survey. The visible remains define a roughly rectilinear field system enclosing small areas of ridge and furrow but also with areas of ridge and furrow apparently unenclosed to its southern end. It is thought to be associated with the deserted settlement at its northern end, itself not visible on the available aerial photographs. [9-11]

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <1> Report: McDonnell, R.R.J.. 1994. Horner Wood: Report on the Preliminary Archaeological Field Assessment of Two Sample Areas. P.12-13.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. R Wilson-North and H Riley, 13 February 1997.
  • <3> Collection: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Exmoor Project.
  • <4> Survey: Wilson-North, R. & Riley, H.. 1997. Leyhill Settlement / Ink Survey. 1:500. General: Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <5> Report: Wilson-North, R.. 1997. A Medieval Settlement and Prehistoric Enclosure at Ley Hill, Luccombe, Somerset.
  • <6> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 8844.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: 1971. HSL.71-177 Run 89.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 13/088 (May 1977).
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 F20 4233-5 (11 April 1973).
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73087 694-5 (17 April 1973).
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/79013 254-5 (17 April 1979).

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 889 446 (632m by 922m) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet SS84SE
Civil Parish LUCCOMBE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE105
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE69
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1084190
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 36143
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34431

Record last edited

Mar 4 2020 11:19AM

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