Hodnell Deserted Medieval Settlement

Description of this historic site

The site of the Medieval deserted settlement of Hodnell. The remains of the settlement are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs and extensive documentary evidence survives. It is located 800m north east of Chapel Ascote.

Notes about this historic site

1 Documentary evidence is extremely full, although it is not certain who depopulated the village. In its heyday the parish included Hodnell, Chapel Ascote, Watergall and Wills Pastures. The chapel of St Helen was at Ascote, but there is some suggestion of a church at Hodnell also. The site of the village appears clearly in air photographs around and to the SW of Hodnell Manor Farm.
2 There was only one church in Hodnell parish. The churches in Hodnell, Ascote and Watergall are in fact three names for the same building (PRN 817).
3 Excellent documentary evidence (1*), poor archaeological evidence (C).
4 At Domesday there were 31 customary tenants, representing a population of c150. In 1332 there were sixteen persons contributing to the subsidy, which would indicate that the population had not fallen noticeably. In 1428 there were only four househoulders. By the end of the 16th century the whole parish was enclosed and converted to pasture.
5 There are no visible remains of desertion except a few almost indiscernable disturbances in the field NE of Manor Farm. From aerial photographs it appears that the major part of the village was in the field immediately SW of the farm.
6 There are a number of deserted villages in the area. The drift-capped hill at Hodnell Farm is probably the site of the earliest, referred to here as Hodnell. The earthworks here are not particularly extensive and from the field evidence the main centre of population was at Watergall.
9 A fine hill top site with well preserved earthworks. Revised area, originally the scheduling excluded a series of earthworks and ploughing has subsequently obliterated all traces of the monument over the area left clear on the map.
10 Population approximately 150 people at Domesday. By 1332 16 householders, 1428 only 4 householders recorded. Enclosed by 16th century. Hodnell is believed ot be the earliest site of a group of settlemments and the location of the manor. The settlment is visible as a series of earthworks including a long and deep hollow way orientated north east ot south west. Several small east to west subdivisions represent at least six enclosures or building sites. An irregular hollow way runs at right angles to the main hollow way and a series of low level irregular earthworks lying to the west of the main hollow way are believed to represent further building remains.
11 Plan from 1973 showing earthworks to the north of Manor Farm.
12 Letter from 1978 about a proposed barn within the site.
13 Letter from EH in 1985 about management agreements for various sites including Hodnell DMV.

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