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Deserted medieval village of Beesby

A Scheduled Monument in Hawerby cum Beesby, North East Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.4486 / 53°26'54"N

Longitude: -0.1 / 0°6'0"W

OS Eastings: 526275.6

OS Northings: 396325.9905

OS Grid: TF262963

Mapcode National: GBR WXRK.4H

Mapcode Global: WHHJC.FLL3

Entry Name: Deserted medieval village of Beesby

Scheduled Date: 16 October 1978

Last Amended: 5 September 2013

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003553

English Heritage Legacy ID: NE 215

County: North East Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Hawerby cum Beesby

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Wold Newton All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


Earthwork and buried remains of a medieval settlement with parts of its associated field system. The monument is defined by three separate areas of protection in close proximity to each other.

Source: Historic England


The medieval village of Beesby appears to have been relatively small, based on a main street running south west to north east with a back lane to the south east and a possible second back lane in the bottom of a dry valley to the north west, this now followed by the edge of Beesby Wood. A modern bridle way follows this dry valley implying that it is an old established route way. Some additional tracks can also be identified, providing access to the fields beyond. For much of its course, the modern road cuts through medieval ridge and furrow and thus can be seen to be later in date. Beesby House appears to occupy one of the medieval building plots on the northern side of the main street. To the north east are the earthworks of the chapel of St John the Baptist, whilst most of the rest of the village earthworks lie to the south of Beesby House. At the south western end of the village, to the north of Beesby Cottages, there are the earthworks of a set of small enclosures. To the west of these enclosures, extending towards Beesby Top, there are the well preserved earthworks of part of the medieval openfield system surviving as ridge and furrow. To the south of the modern road, there is another modern field retaining earthworks of further well preserved ridge and furrow, as well as some village earthworks which lie towards the northern corner of the modern field. The next field to the north east (outside of the scheduled monument) is the field that was first ploughed in 1971.

The earthworks of a small building about 20m by 8m, orientated WSW to ENE and standing up to 1.3m high, lie 100m north east of Beesby House. This is identified as the remains of the church (St John the Baptist) and is set within an embanked enclosure forming a churchyard some 50m by 50m.This is approached from the south by a raised trackway which starts at the head of a clear hollow way down to the bottom of the steep sided dry valley to the north west. Between the churchyard and the modern road to the south east there are the clear footings of a two celled building, interpreted as the remains of a house or pair of cottages. The course of the modern road north from here is considered to follow the medieval route of the village's main street. At least two further building platforms lie adjacent to this road, north east of the chapel. One of these is shown as a building on the 1838 Tithe map, but had been demolished by the time of the 1887 Ordnance Survey map.

The course of the modern road diverges from that of the medieval main street around the modern driveway to Beesby House. The main street can be traced as a hollow way which runs south westwards, gently curving to the WNW to run down into the dry valley that follows the north western side of the village. To the north of this street, south west of Beesby House, there are the clear earthworks of at least three buildings, all of which were at least partly built of stone. There is also a mound 11m in diameter and up to 0.8m high which is interpreted as a medieval windmill mound. Just to the north of the modern road, approximately following its line, there is another hollow way which forms a back lane and is further defined by flanking banks. Extending between this back lane and the main street, there are at least five tofts defined by banks or ditches. Each toft is a small enclosure representing a medieval peasant's property, each with at least one levelled area marking the site of a house. Additional buried remains of yard surfaces, out-buildings and other features will survive archaeologically. Following their abandonment, these tofts were cut through by another hollow way that cuts off a corner formed by the back lane. To the west of the last toft, west of a hollowed trackway joining the main street to the back lane, there are a series of slightly larger enclosures which extend to about 100m west of Beesby Cottages. These are identified as crofts and paddocks, garden and livestock enclosures on the edge of the village. A further set of crofts are thought to have been located in the field levelled in 1971 to the east of Beesby House. The part of the site that lies on the south east side of the road, to the south of this field, includes the earthworks of some additional crofts. There is also a pair of hollow ways that run south eastwards up the side of the hill, originally linked to the back lane. Between them are the sites of at least two more small buildings, probably additional peasant houses. These hollow-ways provide access to a former medieval open field which is divided into a number of furlongs, blocks of parallel ridge and furrow defined by narrow banks, broad baulks and trackways. Most of these furlongs are complete with characteristic raised headlands at either end which were formed by turning the plough team around the ends of the ridges. Probably because of the lay of the land, the furlongs were laid out in relatively short lengths, typically around 200m long, and the individual ridges are also quite narrow, 8-9m between furrows. A further run of well preserved ridge and furrow, divided into furlongs by broad baulks, extends westwards from the crofts at the south west end of the village towards Beesby Top.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: The scheduled monument is defined by three separate areas of protection divided by the modern road and also Beesby House (with its surrounding gardens, outbuildings and driveway to the road). Boundaries follow modern field boundaries (which are generally hedge lines) except for two sections: the northern-most boundary of the northern scheduled area which cuts across the field, aligned on a section of a marked break of slope; and the southern-most boundary of the southern constraint area which follows the parish boundary (which is the historical boundary between the Wapentakes of Haverstoe and Ludborough, being the modern boundary between North East Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire) rather than the slightly divergent field boundary.
Beesby House (with its surrounding gardens and outbuildings) appears to occupy one of the medieval tofts, however this area is not included in the scheduled area as although it will probably retain related archaeological deposits, these are likely to be more disturbed than those within the adjacent pastures.

The field to the east of the road, east of Beesby House, (the field first ploughed in 1971) is also not included within the scheduled area as although this included part of the medieval settlement and will retain associated archaeological remains, these remains will have been heavily disturbed by ploughing.

EXCLUSIONS: all modern fences, styles and gates; water and feed troughs and the platforms that they stand on; telegraph poles, sign posts and all road and path surfaces are excluded from the scheduling; although the ground beneath all these features is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The deserted medieval village of Beesby is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: For the good survival of a wide range of earthwork features including those related to a church, peasant houses, trackways and enclosures of various types along with good surviving ridge and furrow showing areas of medieval arable cultivation;
* Integrity: The well preserved nature of the earthworks allows the overall layout of the village, enclosures and associated field system to be appreciated;
* Archaeological Potential: Beesby has a high potential for retaining archaeological information about medieval rural society in northern Lincolnshire.

Source: Historic England

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