Ancient Monuments

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Shrunken medieval village at Sadberge

A Scheduled Monument in Sadberge, Darlington

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Latitude: 54.5488 / 54°32'55"N

Longitude: -1.4734 / 1°28'24"W

OS Eastings: 434157.7852

OS Northings: 517189.7034

OS Grid: NZ341171

Mapcode National: GBR LH4V.S4

Mapcode Global: WHD6W.BXLP

Entry Name: Shrunken medieval village at Sadberge

Scheduled Date: 12 January 1973

Last Amended: 13 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011073

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20971

County: Darlington

Civil Parish: Sadberge

Built-Up Area: Sadberge

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Sadberge

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes remains of the shrunken medieval village of Sadberge,
situated in pasture fields immediately north of the present village. The
monument is divided into two separate areas by the modern road running north-
south through the modern village. This modern road follows the line of the
medieval road and the surviving remains within the monument demonstrate that
the village once extended further north than at present. East of the road,
there are a series of land plots, orientated north-east to south-west, formed
by parallel earthen banks on average 1m high. A prominent hollow way,
orientated north-south and measuring 4.5m wide and 0.5m deep, cuts the
earthworks and runs towards the present village. To the east of the hollow way
there are traces of the medieval fields associated with the village in the
form of ridge and furrow cultivation. A rectangular area 11m by 8.5m situated
on the west side of the hollow way represents the buried foundations of a
small building.
To the west of the modern road there are further banks and ditches. The banks
are on average 0.5m high, and form several land plots orientated east to west
and measuring 60m by 20m. The eastern end of one plot is occupied by the
buried foundations of a medieval long-house. To the north of these linear
plots there is a large, roughly rectangular enclosure 87m by 50m. In its
south-east corner there are the earthwork remains of several houses fronting
onto the line of an old village street, which is visible as a narrow linear
strip running north-south.
The fence line which runs across the protected area at the northern end of the
field, east of the modern road, and the small brick building situated at the
northern end of the field west of the modern road are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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
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 of Sadberge survive well and provide a
good example of village shrinkage, including both abandoned house plots and
part of the associated enclosures and field system.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gould, I C, The Victoria History of the County of Durham: Volume I, (1905), 353
Austin, D (DMVRG) to D, PL, D, PL, AM 12, (1972)
NZ 31 NW 02,

Source: Historic England

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