Ancient Monuments

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Shrunken medieval village at Caldecotte

A Scheduled Monument in Walton, Milton Keynes

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Latitude: 52.0098 / 52°0'35"N

Longitude: -0.6999 / 0°41'59"W

OS Eastings: 489329.18729

OS Northings: 235396.149753

OS Grid: SP893353

Mapcode National: GBR D0K.XJJ

Mapcode Global: VHDT7.TRB4

Entry Name: Shrunken medieval village at Caldecotte

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1981

Last Amended: 23 December 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007941

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19008

County: Milton Keynes

Civil Parish: Walton

Built-Up Area: Milton Keynes

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Walton, Milton Keynes

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the visible and unexcavated remains of the shrunken
medieval village of Caldecotte, situated immediately east of Caldecotte Lake.
The remains consist of a linear sunken lane or ditch running north-west to
south-east and measuring some 200m long. Rectangular enclosures which lie to
the south and west of this lane are considered to represent the boundaries of
crofts and the remains of building platforms, defined by low banks and ditches
up to 0.3m high and of similar depth. The extreme western extent of the site
is bounded by a substantial hollow way or ditch, 7m wide and up to 2.1m deep,
running north to south for some 150m. Excavation in the area immediately
south east of the monument has revealed dwellings and associated outbuildings
of 17th century date.

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
primarily devoted to farming, 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 as well as acting as the focus
of ecclesiastical, and often manorial, authority within each medieval parish.
Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously
down to the present day, many have declined considerably in size and are now
occupied by farmsteads or hamlets. This decline may have taken place gradually
throughout the lifetime of the village or more rapidly, particularly during
the 14th and 15th centuries when many other villages were wholly deserted. The
reasons for diminishing size were varied but often reflected declining
economic viability or population fluctuations as a result of widespread
epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their decline, large
parts of these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and
contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Over 3000 shrunken medieval
villages are recorded nationally. 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.

The remains of the shrunken village at Caldecotte consist of well defined
earthworks. Partial excavation of the area immediately south-east of the
monument by the Milton Keynes Archaeological Unit confirmed the survival of
archaeological levels as well as demonstrating the potential for further
recovery of archaeological remains. A medieval moated site is located to the
west of the monument and together these provide a detailed picture of land-use
in an area intensively farmed during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


SMR NO: 3618, Bucks SMR, Medieval Village/ Pottery,

Source: Historic England

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