Ancient Monuments

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Stapleford deserted medieval village and ice house

A Scheduled Monument in Freeby, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.7581 / 52°45'29"N

Longitude: -0.7967 / 0°47'47"W

OS Eastings: 481304.274339

OS Northings: 318515.272414

OS Grid: SK813185

Mapcode National: GBR CQJ.3DG

Mapcode Global: WHFK1.QXTX

Entry Name: Stapleford deserted medieval village and ice house

Scheduled Date: 19 June 1967

Last Amended: 11 June 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008553

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17093

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Freeby

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Saxby with Stapleford and Wyfordby

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument is situated in parkland located on the south bank of the river
Eye, 5km east of Melton Mowbray, and includes extensive medieval village
earthworks and a post medieval ice house.

The village earthworks occupy a large area extending for over 300m north-south
and about 300m east-west. A boundary ditch measuring a maximum of 6m wide and
1.5m deep marks the northern extent of the village, beyond which lies ridge
and furrow ploughing forming part of the associated field system within the
area of the scheduling. On the south side is a second boundary ditch
extending for 50m which is of similar dimensions to the ditch on the north
side. There are the remains of several closes and at least three building
foundations which are located towards the centre of the site. Further ridge
and furrow ploughing is included in the scheduling on the western side of the
site. Constructed within the ridge and furrow to the north is an ice house
post-dating the village earthworks. It is contained within a circular turf
mound measuring approximately 20m in diameter and 2.0m high.

Stapleford is listed in Domesday Book and later received a grant for a weekly
market and annual fair in 1308. The cause of desertion is considered to be
the creation of Stapleford Park in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Excluded from the scheduling is a concrete trackway and all fencing, although
the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 village earthworks at Stapleford survive in good condition and the site
has important documentary evidence for a weekly market and annual fair.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-West Leicestershire, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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