Ancient Monuments

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Deserted medieval village of Ulnaby

A Scheduled Monument in High Coniscliffe, Darlington

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Latitude: 54.5498 / 54°32'59"N

Longitude: -1.6505 / 1°39'1"W

OS Eastings: 422705.868559

OS Northings: 517229.781753

OS Grid: NZ227172

Mapcode National: GBR JHXT.GS

Mapcode Global: WHC5N.MW8X

Entry Name: Deserted medieval village of Ulnaby

Scheduled Date: 13 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008972

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20961

County: Darlington

Civil Parish: High Coniscliffe

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Coniscliffe

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes an exceptionally well preserved deserted medieval
village surrounding the present buildings of Ulnaby Hall. Earthworks of
various types survive across the whole of the site. The surviving settlement
focus now lies to the east of Ulnaby Hall. Here, earthwork banks define a
series of adjacent rectangular enclosures orientated north-south and measuring
on average 70m by 40m. The banks surrounding these enclosures are 4m wide and
0.4m high. Within these large enclosures are the earthwork remains of
rectangular buildings, the houses of the village. South of these enclosures,
and east of the modern farm, is an open area interpreted as part of the
village green. Similar earthwork remains including further building
foundations are ranged around the east and south sides of this green.
Originally the settlement remains would have extended further west onto the
area now occupied by Ulnaby Hall. In the north of the site, north of the Hall,
the rectangular enclosures are all bounded by a trackway which runs east-west
across the site and provided access from the village into the adjacent fields.
To the north of this trackway, remains of these fields survive as well
preserved rig and furrow running north-south from the track. The medieval
field systems would originally have extended into the fields around the
monument but they no longer survive there.
All field boundaries which surround or cross the area of the scheduling, the
water tank to the south east of the farm buildings and the electricity wires
which cross the site from east to west are excluded from the scheduling, but
the ground beneath them 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 medieval village of Ulnaby is extensive and exceptionally well preserved.
It retains valuable evidence within and beneath its archaeological deposits
and will add to our understanding of medieval settlement and economy in this

Source: Historic England


NZ 21 NW 25,

Source: Historic England

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