Ancient Monuments

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Bittesby deserted medieval village

A Scheduled Monument in Bitteswell with Bittesby, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.4685 / 52°28'6"N

Longitude: -1.2644 / 1°15'51"W

OS Eastings: 450067.922259

OS Northings: 285874.440824

OS Grid: SP500858

Mapcode National: GBR 7N2.C4J

Mapcode Global: VHCTC.16FZ

Entry Name: Bittesby deserted medieval village

Scheduled Date: 7 October 1954

Last Amended: 16 November 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012563

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17034

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Bitteswell with Bittesby

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Claybrooke St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


Bittesby deserted village site lies 400m north of the A5 Watling Street and
4km west of Lutterworth and consists of earthworks to the east of a former
railway line.
The village earthworks comprise hollow ways and house platforms. A ditch up
to 1m deep runs along the north of the area, near to which is some faced
stonework indicating the site of a chapel known to have existed there. A
north-south flowing stream runs on the eastern side of the site, down to which
several hollow ways run, the largest of which is 12m wide and up to 2m deep.
Bittesby is listed in Domesday Book and in 1279 the village was made up of 25
families. Enclosure and depopulation is recorded in 1488 and 1494, and by
1536 only the Salisbury family was left.

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.

Although partly disturbed, the deserted medieval village at Bittesby contains
earthworks in good condition and retains high archaeological potential. The
village is documented historically and, unusually, the period of desertion is

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hoskins, WG, Essays in Leicestershire History, (1950), 93

Source: Historic England

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