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Blatherwycke medieval village remains

A Scheduled Monument in Blatherwycke, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.5525 / 52°33'9"N

Longitude: -0.5707 / 0°34'14"W

OS Eastings: 497005.376114

OS Northings: 295921.315893

OS Grid: SP970959

Mapcode National: GBR DVH.SNC

Mapcode Global: VHFN8.234L

Entry Name: Blatherwycke medieval village remains

Scheduled Date: 1 September 1978

Last Amended: 21 May 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003635

English Heritage Legacy ID: NN 193

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Blatherwycke

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Bulwick and Blatherwycke St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


Remains of the partly abandoned medieval village of Blatherwycke.

Source: Historic England


The site includes the earthwork and buried archaeological remains of the partly abandoned medieval village of Blatherwycke.

The remains of the partly abandoned settlement lie on the east side of the present main street on land sloping south-west to Willow Brook, along both sides of the King’s Cliffe road leading northwards out of the village, and to the south of the road towards Laxton. Here, a well-marked hollow way extends from the modern road and terminates in a depressed area roughly rectangular in shape. The hollow way is crossed at its east end by a modern built up farm track. To the north of the hollow way is a possible apsidal ended building running north-east to south-west, about 35m long by 15m wide. To the east and north-west of this building are low banks running between the Laxton road and the hollow way; just to the west of the east bank, burials were discovered during excavations for electricity pylons. The building has been identified as St Mary’s Church and it occupies the highest point overlooking the village. Also occupying this high ground, earthworks to the south-west of the church, shown as rectangular structures aligned north-west to south-east on the RCHME survey, may represent the site of the manor. On the same alignment, and running south-east from these structures, is a long narrow feature identified as a possible medieval ditch, on the south side of which is a shallow oval-shaped pond. From here, there is a long linear feature running south-west that is indicated on the RCHME survey but is not now apparent on the ground. During fieldwork carried out in this paddock by G. Foard and T. Partida in 2008, a stone capital was found in rubble which is believed to be from either the manor house or church.

On the north-east side of the main road through the village, behind the existing house plots, are banks and ditches which may represent the croft boundaries stretching north-east to the back lane. A hollow way is shown running in a north-west direction on the RCHME survey but the depression is less clear on the ground. Below the existing houses to the south-east is a series of three to four terraced house platforms c.12m to 14m wide. A parch mark further to the north-east which is visible on aerial photographs may represent the close boundaries. Along the east side of the King’s Cliffe road at SP9705995967 is a large rectangular feature showing as a parchmark that has been interpreted as a possible medieval building platform or post-medieval farmstead. Further to the north is an L-shaped feature, thought to be medieval walls, and a building platform, both clearly showing as parchmarks. East of this, a linear parchmark running north-south possibly indicates the croft boundaries.

Aligned along the west side of the King’s Cliffe road is a series of tofts and crofts, apparently overlaying ridge and furrow as far as the field boundary to the west. The crofts are aligned east-west with the tofts located at the eastern end, adjacent to the road. The tofts, visible on the ground as rectangular house platforms, also show very clearly as parchmarks of buildings on aerial photographs, and include one much larger rectangular feature at SP9705396049 which has been interpreted as a courtyard. The degraded ridge and furrow is visible on aerial photographs but is less apparent on the ground where it survives to height of c.0.20m.

The area of protection includes the site of the abandoned medieval village. The areas on the west side of the King’s Cliffe road and on the south side of the road towards Laxton are both defined by the roads and field boundaries. The area to the north-east of the main road is defined by this road on the south and by the King’s Cliffe road on the west but does not take in the houses or gardens fronting the main road. The northern boundary follows the boundary of the farm from which it extends eastwards c.91m before turning at a right angle soutwards. The east boundary follows this line down to the main road, taking in the hollow way.

All modern paths and track surfaces, fences, and signs are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath all of these is included.

There is considerable potential for undesignated heritage assets to survive within the currently occupied areas of Blatherwycke medieval settlement. These may take the form of standing structures or buried deposits but are considered to be most appropriately managed through the National Planning Policy Framework (March 2012) and are not therefore included in the scheduled area.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The medieval village site at Blatherwycke is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: for the clearly defined earthworks and parchmarks depicting the form and plan of the settlement and its associated agricultural practices;

* Diversity: for the range and complexity of well preserved features, such as the hollow ways, crofts and tofts with building platforms, and ridge and furrow, which indicate a plan of the settlement and retain significant stratified deposits providing details of the continuity and change in its evolution;

* Potential: for the stratified archaeological deposits which retain considerable potential to increase our understanding of the physical characteristics of the buildings and settlement. Buried artefacts will also have the potential to increase our knowledge and understanding of the social and economic functioning of the settlement within the wider medieval landscape;

* Documentation: for the historical documentation pertaining to the settlement’s evolution, and the invaluable wider archaeological, topographical and historical research which has given Northamptonshire particular prominence in broader discussions of the medieval landscape and prompted key ideas in our understanding of medieval settlement in England;

* Group value: for its association with six nearby listed buildings, particularly with the Grade II* listed Holy Trinity Church which was also used by the parish of St Mary Magdalene from the C16.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Allison, K J, Beresford, M W, Hurst, J G, The Deserted Villages of Northamptonshire, (1966)
Astill, G, Grant, A, The Countryside of Medieval England, (1988)
Aston, M, Austin, D, Dyer, C(eds), The Rural Settlements of Medieval England: Studies dedicated to Maurice Beresford and John Hurst, (1989)
Christie, N, Stamper, P (eds), Medieval Rural Settlement: Britain and Ireland AD 800-1600, (2012)
Hall, D, Turning the Plough. Midland Open Fields;landscape character and proposals for management, (2001)
Hall, D, The Open Fields of Northamptonshire, (1995)
Hall, , Partida, , Rockingham Forest: An Atlas of the Medieval and Early-Modern Landscape , (2009)
Lewis, C, Mitchell-Fox, P, Dyer, C , Village, Hamlet and Field: Changing Medieval Settlements in Central England, (1997)
Partida, T, Hall, D, Foard, G, An Atlas of Northamptonshire The Medieval and Early-Modern Landscape, (2013)
Roberts, B K, Wrathmell, S, An Atlas of Rural Settlement in England, (2003)
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire; Archaeological sites in north-east Northamptonshire, (1975)
Northamptonshire Historic Environment Record (HER),

Source: Historic England

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