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Gainsthorpe medieval rural settlement, including village remains, paddocks and a manorial complex with a fishpond and two dovecotes

A Scheduled Monument in Hibaldstow, North Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.4981 / 53°29'53"N

Longitude: -0.563 / 0°33'46"W

OS Eastings: 495417.501063

OS Northings: 401119.266515

OS Grid: SE954011

Mapcode National: GBR SWHZ.WR

Mapcode Global: WHGGT.BB4M

Entry Name: Gainsthorpe medieval rural settlement, including village remains, paddocks and a manorial complex with a fishpond and two dovecotes

Scheduled Date: 26 October 1954

Last Amended: 10 May 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007509

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23313

County: North Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Hibaldstow

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Hibaldstow St Hybald

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument comprises part of Gainsthorpe medieval rural settlement and
includes some of the remains of the deserted village site, two paddocks, and
the site of the manor with a fishpond and two dovecotes. According to
descriptions written in 1697 and 1699 by the diarist Abraham de la Pryme, the
visible remains formerly extended into neighbouring fields where they will now
survive as buried features. These additional remains are not included in the
scheduling as their extent and state of preservation is not sufficiently
The settlement is located 350m west of Ermine Street Roman road. Its visible
remains, which chiefly comprise the grassed over footings of boundary and
building walls, indicate the houses, ancillary buildings and yards of between
six and ten properties, one of which is interpreted as a manorial complex. The
properties are divided by a system of sunken trackways and are broadly similar
in that they each consist of a large enclosure sub-divided by internal walls,
with one or more of the smaller yards containing a complex of buildings. In
many cases, gateways and doorways are clearly visible. In some cases, two or
more properties appear to have been combined into a single larger complex,
probably as a result of piecemeal desertion. The manorial site lies at the
south west corner of the monument and includes at least two adjacent
courtyards, enclosed by building ranges, which are interpreted as the
homestead and home farm of the manor. To west and east of these courtyards can
be seen the foundations of two circular buildings, with diameters of c.6m,
which have been interpreted as dovecotes. South of the western example is a
rectangular fishpond measuring c.13m x 5m x 1m deep. Extending north to south
along the north west edge of the monument are two further enclosures
interpreted as small fields or paddocks.
The medieval rural settlement of Gainsthorpe has not been excavated and so its
origins are unclear. However, it is recorded in the Domesday survey of 1086
when land was held there by one Ullgar. The period of desertion is also as yet
unknown, though it must have been prior to de la Pryme's visit in the late
17th century. Interestingly, it was the first deserted medieval village
to be photographed from the air, in 1925 by O G S Crawford. The monument has
been in State care since 1974.
All boundary fencing, gates, English Heritage fittings and fixtures and a
water-pump are excluded from the scheduling though the ground underneath is

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

Gainsthorpe is one of the best preserved and visually impressive deserted
medieval rural settlements in England. The visible remains are exceptionally
well-defined and provide a clear indication of a wide variety of features
which include domestic and ancillary buildings, trackways, enclosures,
dovecotes and a fishpond. Apart from the inclusion of modern field drains and
a stock-pond, and some small-scale quarrying on the north side, the site has
suffered very little disturbance since it was abandoned and retains
well-preserved archaeological remains throughout.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Diary of Abraham de la Pryme, (1699), 127-8
In SMR, Hatt, Andy (Humberside Archaeological Unit), 1:500 topographical field survey, (1982)
In SMR, Hatt, Andy (Humberside Archaeological Unit), 1:500 topographical field survey, (1982)
Plate I, Crawford, O G S, Gainsthorpe DMV, Antiquity, (1925)
Plate I, Crawford, O G S, Gainsthorpe DMV, Antiquity, (1925)
Title: 25" Ordnance Survey sheet (SE 9501)
Source Date: 1963

Source: Historic England

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