Ancient Monuments

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Deserted medieval village of Northeye, 885m south-west of Old Road Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St Marks, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8386 / 50°50'18"N

Longitude: 0.3877 / 0°23'15"E

OS Eastings: 568212.204826

OS Northings: 107051.963192

OS Grid: TQ682070

Mapcode National: GBR NVY.8V2

Mapcode Global: FRA C6PW.BV7

Entry Name: Deserted medieval village of Northeye, 885m south-west of Old Road Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 June 1975

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002240

English Heritage Legacy ID: ES 421

County: East Sussex

Electoral Ward/Division: St Marks

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Bexhill St Mark

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a deserted medieval village, known as the village of Northeye, including the Chapel of St James, surviving as earthworks and buried archaeological remains. It is situated on an area known as Hooe Level on the Pevensey Levels, west of Bexhill. The field in which it is located is known as 'Chapel Field', and rises slightly above the surrounding area.
A holloway (sunken trackway) runs east to west across the site and either side are undulations in the ground indicating the site of house platforms and enclosures. The Chapel of St James is marked by disturbed ground near the centre of the site. Linear earthworks are also evident running north to south.
The site was partially excavated in 1939 and 1952. This uncovered the flint walling and ashlar dressings of the chapel, roofing slates and medieval pottery. Documentary evidence attests to the presence of a village on the site. A foundation charter of the Chapel of St James is dated 1262. The village is mentioned as a dependant limb of the Cinque Port of Hastings in a charter of 1229. The position of the site indicates that it may originally have been a small port. It is thought to have been deserted in around 1400. A number of factors including the drainage of the Pevensey Marshes, bad storms along the Sussex coast in the late 13th century, the Black Death and economic hardship in the 14th century are likely to have contributed to population decline and abandonment. It was also probably associated with the decline in saltworking; several mounds in the vicinity of the village are evidence of medieval salt extraction. The standing remains of the chapel are known to have survived as a ruin until the 1850's.

Sources: East Sussex HER MES93. NMR TQ60NE7, TQ60NE26. PastScape 411707, 411781.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets, paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant component of the rural landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages provided some services to the local community and acted as the main focal point of ecclesiastical, and often of manorial, administration within each parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were abandoned throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. As a result over 2000 deserted medieval villages are recorded nationally. The reasons for desertion were varied but often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land use such as enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their abandonment these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Because they are a common and long-lived monument type in most parts of England, they provide important information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy between the regions and through time.
Despite ploughing and commercial turf growing , the deserted medieval village of Northeye survives relatively well. It will contain below-ground archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction, use and occupation of the site and its relationship to the surrounding landscape. The village is recorded in documentary sources, which enhance our understanding of the site and add to its importance.

Source: Historic England

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