Early Medieval AD 410 - AD 1066

Saxon Bokerley Dyke

The end of Roman rule in the AONB saw a decline in the use of coinage and the mass production of pottery. Most Romano-British farms and hamlets were abandoned. The location of the remaining British inhabitants in the 5th Century AD is represented by burials and stray finds enhanced by information from place names and scatters of potsherds.

Evidence from place names and burials can be used to chart the sphere of Saxon influence across the landscape of the AONB during the late 5th and 6th centuries. During this period Anglo-Saxon burials are evident as far west as Teffont in the Nadder and Warminster in the Wylye but absent from the extreme South West of Wiltshire going into Dorset including the Upper Wylye and the Deverill. It is possible that the existing boundaries such as at Teffont or Bokerley Dyke representing the 'frontier' of Saxon influence at this period, possibly indicated by the final built up phase of the bank.

During the 7th century AD the sphere of Saxon influence had final subsumed the rest of the AONB, represented by the Saxon burial barrows at Alvediston, and Maiden Bradley.

Later settlement is also hard to identify until pottery makes reappearance in the 10th century. But many later Saxon settlements are probably overlain by modern villages. Later charters and documents indicate that the landscape was gradually divided into a series of estates.

There is also evidence for the increasing importance of the church suggested by the establishment of a minster at Tisbury by AD 700.

The division of the landscape into estates is represented in surviving boundaries for example Heytesbury and Donhead St Mary wh. These church estates were transforming into the more familiar parish system by the late 10th or 11th Century. Both these estates and their wider administrative boundaries in the form of shires also had political standing which is represented by the location of royal manor recorded along the shire boundaries in the 1086 Domesday Book

Environmental Evidence - There is a lack of environmental evidence from sites within the AONB for this period.

For further information you can download a full introduction to the archaeological periods of the AONB by clicking here PDF (903 Kb)

This document forms part of the wider AONB Historic Environment Action Plans.