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Perimeter wall of The Vile open field system

A Grade II Listed Building in Rhossili, Swansea

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5626 / 51°33'45"N

Longitude: -4.2965 / 4°17'47"W

OS Eastings: 240916

OS Northings: 187362

OS Grid: SS409873

Mapcode National: GBR GQ.5GR1

Mapcode Global: VH3MV.GZZG

Entry Name: Perimeter wall of The Vile open field system

Listing Date: 19 January 2000

Last Amended: 19 January 2000

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 22786

Building Class: Agriculture and Subsistence

Location: Surrounding the western part of The Vile open field, west and south of Rhossili village.

County: Swansea

Community: Rhossili (Rhosili)

Community: Rhossili

Locality: The Vile

Built-Up Area: Rhossili

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Rhossili

History

The Vile is a remarkable mediaeval open field system integral to a landscape of outstanding historic interest. The village system of open fields including the Vile is likely to date from the same period as the village and the present church. These succeeded an earlier settlement and were probably established at latest by the C14. Although it has been conjectured that the perimeter wall may enclose some later mediaeval or post-mediaeval encroachments onto the coastal commons, its line is probably substantially mediaeval and certainly the line is unaltered since mapped by John Williams in c1780.

Exterior

A drystone wall up to about 2 metres in height, forming part of the perimeter of the Vile open field against the clifftop grazing commons. The oversailing profile of the wall is said to be a device to discourage sheep and other animals grazing on the commons from attempting to trespass within the open field. Many small headland pits particularly along the southern and western parts of the wall are thought to have been stonepits used for the construction and repair of the wall.
The drystone wall commences at Grid Ref. 24167.18746, about 10 metres south of a steel ladder on Rhossili Parish Footpath no 12. The southern part of the wall continues west and south in an irregular line to Grid Ref. 24089.18713; the western part continues thence north and west in an irregular line to Grid Ref. 24057.18769; the northern part continues thence north and east in an irregular line to the corner of a carpark near the old Coastguard Station at Grid Ref. 24119.18799. The line is almost continuous with a few minor breaches.
The southern part of the wall survives to a height of 1 to 2 metres and in many places retains the characteristic profile, battered on both sides but with an upper bulge on the side facing towards the clifftop commons. The western part is similar but in better state of repair. The northern part is in even better repair but has lost its characteristic profile in many places.

Reasons for Listing

The perimeter wall of a surviving open field, a rare monument of a land system formerly characteristic of the southern lowland fringe of Wales.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II* Church of St Mary
    At the centre of Rhossili village. Stone churchyard wall in rubble masonry with some older gravestones built into rear face; timber gates E and W, stile beside E gate.
  • II Rocket Cart Shed
    200 m north of Rhossili church, at west side of a footpath leading to the Old Rectory.

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