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Archdeacon Newton moated site, deserted manorial settlement and section of rig and furrow

A Scheduled Monument in Archdeacon Newton, Darlington

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Latitude: 54.5495 / 54°32'58"N

Longitude: -1.6069 / 1°36'24"W

OS Eastings: 425523.074539

OS Northings: 517208.478866

OS Grid: NZ255172

Mapcode National: GBR KH6T.XX

Mapcode Global: WHC5P.9X15

Entry Name: Archdeacon Newton moated site, deserted manorial settlement and section of rig and furrow

Scheduled Date: 23 July 1963

Last Amended: 25 March 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015841

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28547

County: Darlington

Civil Parish: Archdeacon Newton

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Cockerton

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes the remains of a medieval settlement, a moated manorial
site and a fragment of rig and furrow at Archdeacon Newton, situated on the
East Durham Plateau. The remains of the Archdeacon of Durham's manor are
contained within an irregularly shaped enclosure. This enclosure measures 365m
north to south by 210m east to west and is bounded by a bank, which in places
is flanked by the remains of an outer ditch. The enclosing bank is clearly
visible as an earthwork on the eastern side of the monument and at the north
western corner where it stands up to 1m high. Parts of the western side are
visible as slight earthworks and it is thought that the buried remains of the
bank also survive on this side.
The moated site is situated at the southern end of the monument and is visible
as the fragmentary remains of a strongly defended rectangular ditched
enclosure with double defences on its eastern side. The ditch is most
pronounced at the north west and south west angles where it is 20m wide and up
to 2m deep. Elsewhere, the moat has become infilled but it survives above
ground as a slight earthwork and below ground level as a buried feature. The
island of the moat is occupied by a group of late 18th or 19th century
buildings but one medieval building survives on the island. This building
known as the Old Hall is thought to be the remains of a service wing which was
attached to the original medieval manor house of which there are no surface
remains. The size and nature of the stonework of the service wing suggest that
the manor house itself was a large complex. Indeed, a document of 1570 which
is thought to refer to the Manor House lists the Hall, the Parlour above the
Hall, the Chamber over the Hall, the New Chamber, The Little Chamber, the Loft
beneath the Doors, the Buttery, the Kitchen and the Stable.
The northern part of the monument is divided into a series of small
rectangular enclosures, orientated east to west, by parallel linear banks
standing 0.6m high and ditches 0.3m deep. At the extreme northern end of the
monument there is a large raised triangular platform up to 2m high bounded by
a ditch on its south side. This is thought to be the site of a chapel referred
to in a document of 1414 in which Robert Fisher, John Nicholson and John Deves
were granted licence for divine service to celebrated in a chapel at
Archdeacon Newton.
Immediately west of the western side of the settlement enclosure wall there is
a section of medieval rig and furrow cultivation. This cultivation is part of
the once extensive field system which surrounded the medieval settlement. The
exact relationship between the cultivation and the enclosure wall is uncertain
but the rig and furrow appears to be later in date. This area is included in
the scheduling.
A number of features within the area are excluded from the scheduling; these
are the metalled surfaces of all roads, drives, paths, hard-standing areas and
farmyards as well as all stone walls, fences, gate posts and hedges which
cross the monument. Also excluded are all buildings and associated structures
situated on the island of the moated site including the medieval building
which is Listed Grade II*; the ground beneath these features is included. The
water tank constructed by North East Water on the island of the moat is
totally excluded from the scheduling.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

Medieval manorial settlements, comprising small groups of houses with
associated gardens, yards and paddocks, supported communities devoted
primarily to agriculture, and acted as the foci for manorial administration.
Although the sites of many of these settlements have been occupied
continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were
abandoned at some time during the medieval and post-medieval periods,
particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. 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 settlements are frequently undisturbed by later occupation
and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits, providing information on
the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy, and on the
structure and changing fortunes of manorial communities.
The moated manorial site and the deserted manorial settlement of Archdeacon
Newton are reasonably well preserved and retain significant archaeological
deposits. They form an important medieval complex which will add greatly to
our understanding of medieval settlement and society.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ryder, P F, 'Durham Archaeological Journal' in A Medieval Building at Archdeacon Newton, Darlington, (1991), 129-33
Ryder, P F, 'Durham Archaeological Journal' in A Medieval Building at Archdeacon Newton, Darlington, (1991), 129-133
DSMR 1524 (Dmv/Smv survey in Darlington District), (1994)
DSMR 1524,

Source: Historic England

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