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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Deserted medieval village, Sock Dennis Farm, Sock Dennis
Civil Parish: Ilchester
PRN 11679Ridge and furrow at Sock Dennis, Ilchester
PRN 32096Watching brief (2013), Sock Dennis Farm, lchester
PRN 53117St John the Baptist church, Sock Dennis Farm, Sock Dennis
Grid Ref: ST 516 213 (ST 52 SW)
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Image: Image of HER 53044 - Photo by Somerset County Council (19 May 1977)
  HER 53044 - Photo by Somerset County Council (19 May 1977)

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]


Documentary sources indicate manorial centre here. In Domesday Soke was in the possession of the Count of Mortain. From the mid C13 it was described as a manor. There were 7 taxpayers in 1327, 13 in 1377 and fewer than 10 inhabitants in 1428 and by the end of the C18 Soke was "an obliterated place". No individual return was made in the censuses of 1801 and 1811, but in 1821 the population was 10. In 1951 it was 23. The place name derives from "Sock", probably an area of marsh or streams and the family name of the successors of William the Dane, a C12 owner. {1}

Area of crofts and tofts shown on APs. {3}

A holloway 5 paces wide runs through the centre of the field with an area of crofts 10 paces wide to the E. Ridge and furrow and a headland further to the E and the E side of the village is bounded by a large 2m high bank surmounted by trees. The APs show platforms to the W of the holloway but these were not seen. There are larger enclosures to the N, possibly connected with the farm (PRN 53077), with a small moated island which has a stone revetment. This is separate to the moat which is further N (PRN 53043) although a complex systems of leats and sluices connect each feature. {7}

A drove way passes close to the E edge of the DMV (PRN 53730). {11}

A number of hollows and banks lie to the west of the holloway, the banks running down slope and the hollows located towards the top. The banks are too wide apart for ridge and furrow and may relate to tofts. There is a suggestion of two trackways parallel, one running to the Leland Trail and a more substantial one further west to a gateway. Grazed by sheep and in good condition.

The owner says that rectangular enclosures in the centre field of the three relate to chicken sheds, their foundations and access track, which were grubbed out some years previously. {15}


1 Description - Dunning, RW (ed). Victoria History of the County of Somerset.  Vol. 3 (1974), 230-35.
2 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 52 SW 17 (1978) Location: HER files
3 Detailed records - Aston, M. Sock Dennis.  (not dated) photocopy of handwritten notes. Location: HER files
4 Mention - Stevens-Cox, IHM. An Ilchester miscellany. Ilchester Historical Monographs.  10 (1958) [page 263-4]
5 Aerial photographs - RAF CPE/UK/1924 4209. (April 1947) Location: Somerset Studies Library, Taunton
6 Description - Dunning, RW. Ilchester: a study in continuity. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History.  119 (1975), 44-50
7 Description - Entry found in HER database with no supporting documentation - entry just said 'in SMR file' where nothing was found. This is believed to have been a note that was typed up and then discarded. Location: Unknown or non-existant.
8 Sketch plan - Anon [?Burrow, I]. (15/12/1983) photocopy of sketch of surviving earthworks..
9 Map - Dennison, E. Copy of Ordnance Survey 1:2500 map. (11/1/1984) annotated with areas of surviving earthworks. Location: HER files
10 Mention - Beresford, MW and Hurst, JG. Deserted Medieval Villages.  (1971), 203.
11 Verbal communication - Dennison, E [Ed]. Somerset County Council, Sites and Monuments Record (05/02/1985). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
12 Mention - McDonnell, RRJ [Richard]. Somerset County Council claylands aerial photo survey (1985) (ST5121A). Location: verbal or direct entry to database, no other records.
13 Aerial photographs - HSL 71 176 Run 53E 8473. (06/09/1971) Location: Local Studies collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
14 Aerial photographs - CS 969 Run 51, 4647. (August 1981) Location: Somerset Studies Library, Taunton
15 Site visit report - Grove, J [Jan]. Somerset County Council. (29/5/2001) Report location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained.

Record created in July 1984

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