Saxon aristocratic residences

A Saxon aristocratic residence is a high-status occupation site dating to the 5th - 11th centuries AD, comprising one or more large rectangular timber halls, together with associated buildings and structures, sometimes enclosed by a defensive earthwork. Few surface traces remain of these sites; they have been discovered predominantly through aerial photography, the buildings being discovered from cropmarks, and through excavation, either in advance of development or through the investigation of known monuments on the same site.


Anglo-Saxon aristocratic sites are thought to be the residences of the upper level of Saxon society. Some date to the early Saxon period (6th and 7th centuries) but the majority date to the late Saxon period from the 9th century through to the Norman Conquest. The later examples of Saxon aristocratic residences dating to the 9th century onwards tend to be defensible sites with most buildings situated in an earthwork enclosure; the early aristocratic residences dating to the 6th and 7th centuries, in general, did not have such defences.


No certain aristocratic residences are known in Buckinghamshire, but there are suggestions that Saxon palaces existed at Quarrendon and Winslow. It is also thought that Edward the Confessor had a hunting lodge in Brill, though the earthworks there have not been investigated.