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Tusmore medieval settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Hardwick with Tusmore, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9731 / 51°58'23"N

Longitude: -1.1848 / 1°11'5"W

OS Eastings: 456095.534447

OS Northings: 230827.338649

OS Grid: SP560308

Mapcode National: GBR 8WJ.794

Mapcode Global: VHCWQ.FN0S

Entry Name: Tusmore medieval settlement

Scheduled Date: 10 November 1959

Last Amended: 8 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015548

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28141

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Hardwick with Tusmore

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Cottisford and Hardwick-cum-Tusmore

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the remains of the medieval settlement of Tusmore, the
original line of the road through the village, a moated enclosure and part of
a boundary bank around the settlement.
The remains survive in part as upstanding earthworks in the later landscaped
layout of Tusmore Park, situated about 3km north of Ardley. The earthworks
consist of a series of building platforms and hollow ways either side of the
original north to south road on the line of which the village grew up. These
earthworks are clearly visible despite later landscaping and the presence of
water channels associated with the artificial lake to the east. The village
appears to have been centred on a roughly square moated enclosure which
measures about 35m across and is probably the location of the original
manorial buildings.
The north end of the village is defined by an earthwork bank about 2m wide and
up to 1m high, beyond which lies a partly infilled ditch about 1.5m wide.
There are further earthwork sections in the woods to the west which may have
originally formed part of the village boundary, along with a clearly visible
earthwork ditch to the south east of the village. The area defined by the
visible boundary earthworks measures about 500m from north to south, although
the core of the village lay within 300m of the road with enclosed fields
In 1279 the village is known to have had 23 households. However, by 1355 it
was given full relief from the payment of tax and two years later the road
through the village was diverted to the west. At this time it is recorded that
the village was `void of inhabitants'.
The settlement is unusual because it is one of only a few examples nationally
known to have been abandoned as a result of the Black Death which spread
across the country less than ten years before. How many of the inhabitants
died and how many left out of fear is not known, but by 1428 there were again
some inhabitants settled here with ten households present, although the
village was never to regain its former position. Later still the village was
landscaped into the grounds of Tusmore House and estate workers were housed in
a model style village further east.
Excluded from the scheduling are all boundary fences and the wooden bridge
across the open drain, although the ground beneath is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
The South Midlands local region is large, and capable of further subdivision.
Strongly banded from south west to north east, it comprises a broad succession
of clay vales and limestone or marlstone ridges, complicated by local drifts
which create many subtle variations in terrain. The region is in general
dominated by nucleated villages of medieval origin, with isolated farmsteads,
mostly of post-medieval date, set in the spaces between them. Depopulated
village sites are common, and moated sites are present on the claylands.

The Tusmore settlement survives well and will contain archaeological and
environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which
it was built. In addition, it is well documented and is known to be one of a
small number of sites which can be shown to have been abandoned as a result of
the Black Death.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beresford, M, Lost Villages of England, (1954), p382
PRN 1076, C.A.O., Tusmore deserted medieval village, (1990)
PRN 1076, C.A.O., Tusmore deserted village, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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