Ancient Monuments

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Ambion deserted medieval village

A Scheduled Monument in Sutton Cheney, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.5962 / 52°35'46"N

Longitude: -1.4073 / 1°24'26"W

OS Eastings: 440246.534686

OS Northings: 299989.665586

OS Grid: SP402999

Mapcode National: GBR 6K0.C04

Mapcode Global: WHDJL.C03H

Entry Name: Ambion deserted medieval village

Scheduled Date: 29 June 1971

Last Amended: 24 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008549

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17084

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Sutton Cheney

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Market Bosworth St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument is located on Ambion Hill and the ground which slopes down to
woodland on the south side. It is adjacent to the site of the battle of
Bosworth and includes earthwork remains of the site of a deserted medieval

The village earthworks occupy an extensive area measuring over 160 x 180m.
They are contained by a boundary ditch on the south side which is 8m wide and
0.5m deep. A hollow way measuring a maximum of 4m wide and 0.75m deep runs
from this boundary north-south through the centre of the site turning
eastwards half-way up the slope. A number of house platforms can be
identified, notable examples being on the far east and west of the area.
The earthworks survive to about 1m in height.

The village appears in records between 1271 and 1303 as Anebein or Hanebein.
The last known reference is in 1346 and it may have been depopulated by the
plague a few years later and never reoccupied. Ambion Hill was the site of
Richard III's camp before the battle of Bosworth in 1485 but there is no
archaeological evidence of this on the site.

The site today is situated to the west of the battlefield visitor centre,
formerly Ambion Hill Farm. Part of the site is used as a car park, the
surface of which is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it is included.

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.

The site at Ambion is a rare example of an early desertion, probably
brought about by the plague which severely diminished the population.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hoskins, WG, Essays in Leicestershire History, (1950)

Source: Historic England

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