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Tri-Focal Abandoned Medieval Settlement, Chellington.

A Scheduled Monument in Carlton and Chellington, Bedford

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Latitude: 52.1952 / 52°11'42"N

Longitude: -0.5893 / 0°35'21"W

OS Eastings: 496522.5845

OS Northings: 256159.9525

OS Grid: SP965561

Mapcode National: GBR DZX.7V2

Mapcode Global: VHFPZ.Q2VY

Entry Name: Tri-Focal Abandoned Medieval Settlement, Chellington.

Scheduled Date: 6 April 1956

Last Amended: 19 July 2022

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013277

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12704

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Carlton and Chellington

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Carlton with Chellington

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The deserted medieval village of Chellington survives as an extensive
set of inter-related earthworks featuring deep hollow ways which link
together three complexes of enclosures and house platforms, or
"Ends". Fields marked by patterns of ridge-and- furrow exist between
and around the ends. This arrangement of settlement can be
classified as a "dispersed plan with greens", and is a
characteristic village form of the Southern Midland Plain. A similar
example may be found at Hardmead in Bucks. The modern parish of
Carlton-cum-Chellington appears to have been formed by the
amalgamation of the two parishes under the ownership of the Trailly
family in 1359. Before this time the village of Chellington, with its
three clusters of houses, occupied the top of the hill around St.
Nicholas' church and on the main east-west route through the
region. One cluster, that closest to the church, was located at the
junction of two main routeways and was the largest of the groups of
houses in the village. It appears to have had a regular layout and
may have included the principal house of the settlement. A second,
smaller and more haphazard cluster, colonised the common ground at
the eastern end of the settlement while the smallest group, perhaps
just a few houses, occupied the area around modern Lodge Farm. Each
cluster was surrounded by open fields cultivated in narrow strips
which gave rise to the characteristic ridge-and-furrow pattern of
earthworks still visible in the unploughed areas. The trackways
between the clusters, and particularly the main east-west route,
became heavily worn and formed the deep hollow ways so evident today.
When the parishes were amalgamated, a new settlement on the
boundaries of the two former parishes grew up and the disparate
village of Chellington gradually became abandoned. The later
occupants made use of the increased amount of land available for
cultivation, as shown where ridge-and-furrow overlies building plots
and former boundaries.

By 1797, when an accurate map was drawn in advance of parliamentary
enclosure, only a few houses were left at Chellington, and the sites
of the two modern farms appear as the main buildings of the former
settlement. The map records field names which may bear no resemblance
to the medieval field names but some are of particular interest. The
field beside Hill Farm, for example, is named "Home Close",
suggesting that it lies near the historic focus of the settlement.
The common land on which the eastern cluster of houses had been sited
is named as "Ruff's green" and "Ruff's Close", a corruption of
`rough'. Opposite the church is a field marked as "Glebe" which
indicates ownership at some stage by the clergy.
The visible remaining elements of the village include prominent
hollow ways, especially that running south-eastwards from Hill Farm,
one noticeable green 220m. south-east of Lodge Farm, a number of
tofts and crofts, several ponds and numerous isolated house platforms
with their clay pits. The layout of the fields around the village is
particularly clear between Hill Farm and Lodge Farm where the pattern
of ridge-and-furrow betrays the position of medieval field
Such a close correspondence between historical and archaeological
evidence is rare, and Chellington forms an excellent opportunity to
see how settlement in this part of Bedfordshire evolved through the
medieval period.
Excluded from the scheduling is an area between Hill Farm and Freer's
Wood in which the original earthworks have been ploughed out and
hence lost.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

This site survives as well preserved earthworks over a large part of
its original area and as such is an unusual and therefore important
survival in this area of lowland England where the majority of
comparable sites have fallen victim of agricultural improvements. The
range of visible surviving remains, which includes hollow ways,
greens or commons, tofts and crofts, house platforms, quarries,
fishponds and an extensive field system is of particular note.
Furthermore buried remains are thought to be well preserved across
the whole of the site. Additionally the site is well documented from
the medieval period by surviving texts and maps. Recent detailed
archaeological survey has also significantly improved understanding
of the site. Taken together these various factors combine to make
this site of considerable importance for studies of the development
of medieval nucleated settlement.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Taylor, C C, 'Archaeological Journal' in The Deserted Village of Chellington, , Vol. 139, (1982), 21-2
Beds Record Office X 1/79, (1798)
See hard copy for full references, CUAP HF41, LS 76, XT 18, AAO 43-5, AMS 14/16. RAF 58/2640 etc,

Source: Historic England

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