The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Character Areas


065 Lunnon

Photo of Lunnon

HLCA065 Lunnon

Medieval/Post-medieval agricultural and settlement landscape and former medieval grange/manorial centre over part of deer park: largely regular fieldscape; traditional boundaries; dispersed post-medieval farmsteads; relict and buried archaeology; agri-industrial features. Back to Map

Historic Background

The historic landscape area of Lunnon represents the extent of the enclosed land of the fee of Lunnon; that part of the former deer park of Park le Breos, which was disemparked earliest. The whole area fell within the Welsh medieval Cwmwd of Gwyr, within the Cantref of Eginog. During the reorganization of the post-medieval period the area formed part of the Hundred of Swansea, within the County of Glamorgan.

Occupation and use since the prehistoric period can be inferred from findscatters, whilst the earliest known feature in the area is an Iron Age enclosure (00303w) set above Parkmill, overlooking the Ilston Valley. In fact relatively few details are definitely known about the development of the area prior to its emparkment in the medieval period, and the only direct reference is to the presence of woodland in the 1220s.

The history of the park, its break-up and subsequent development, is described in detail by Leighton (1999). The park, which originated in 1221-32, was an asset of the Marcher Lordship of Gower. The remnants of the park pale, originally a timber fence set on an earthen bank flanked by a ditch, survive in various places around its boundary. With the demise of the de Breos family in the 1320's, the lords of Gower were usually absent from the lordship and it is likely that deer farming began to decline. The park was later reduced to about half its former size when the eastern part (HLCA 065) was converted to a manorial farm or grange before 1337; and formed the likely site of the 'Grangia de Lunan' so-called in a financial account for 1337-8.

This western area (HLCA 064) of the reduced park continued to function as a deer park until c.1400, though by 1551, it was being developed as holdings were carved out a process complete by 1650.

This area of the park by contrast to HLCA 064 experienced intensive landuse with openfields being established during the early fourteenth century. The process of enclosure has been identified through hedgerow analysis as dating broadly prior to the mid-seventeenth century. Leighton notes that the modern field pattern at Lunnon indicates that the strips of the openfield system appear to have been consolidated gradually to form closes, a process still incomplete in the nineteenth century. During the sixteenth century the holdings to the north of the area, which later formed the basis of current farmsteads, were in the process of being established and documentary evidence indicates the presence of enclosed parcels at Furzehill, Pengwern by 1600, and at Willoxton before 1650. Hedgerow analysis undertaken in the area would suggest that the fields around Lunnon, the village, relate to enclosure of sixteenth century date, while around Willoxton high species hedgerows suggest a process of woodland clearance, or assart, to increase arable undertaken by the fifteenth century at the latest. This process of enclosure was linked to social turmoil and was often met with resistance from customary tenants, as happened in the 1580s, when the Earl of Worcester's officers attempted to enclose a parcel of demesne pasture known as Inlease, thought to be modern Furzeland (Leighton 1999, 71-79; Leighton 2004, 29-47; Edwards, Leighton, and Llewellyn 2006, 260-269; Kissock 1991, 130-147).