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East Tanfield deserted medieval village

A Scheduled Monument in East Tanfield, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.1971 / 54°11'49"N

Longitude: -1.559 / 1°33'32"W

OS Eastings: 428865.572248

OS Northings: 478020.74999

OS Grid: SE288780

Mapcode National: GBR KMKX.86

Mapcode Global: WHC7G.0RWS

Entry Name: East Tanfield deserted medieval village

Scheduled Date: 18 August 1958

Last Amended: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016260

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29522

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: East Tanfield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes the remains of the deserted medieval village of East
Tanfield, including the earthwork remains of building platforms, associated
yards and enclosures and tracks and hollow ways. The monument is located on a
river terrace 400m north of the River Ure. The medieval village was
concentrated on the east and west sides of a wide central street. The street
is cut up to 3m below the ground level to the east and is thought to have been
an earlier course of the River Ure. To the east of the street the village
remains include the earthwork remains of broad rectangular platforms, known as
tofts, the short ends of which front onto the street. At the front of the
tofts are the remains of house foundations whilst to the rear is a large
enclosure which would have been used for horticulture or stock rearing. To the
rear of the tofts would have been a back lane which is now a metalled road. To
the west and south west of the main street are further building remains and a
series of large rectangular enclosures or yards defined by earthen banks.
The medieval village would originally have lain at the centre of a wider
agricultural landscape with open strip fields, woods, pasture and wider arable
fields surrounding the village. However none of these features are known to
East Tanfield is one of the best documented of the medieval deserted villages
in Yorkshire. Manorial and rental accounts survive from 1300 to 1500, showing
the village to have been a prosperous community in the medieval period.
However, between 1513 and 1517 eight houses were destroyed and, in common with
other medieval settlements in England, the village became deserted.
All fences, walls, gates and the telegraph poles are excluded from the
scheduling, 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 last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Humber-Tees sub-Province of the Central Province
which comprises a great fertile lowland, with many local variations caused by
slight differences in terrain, but generally dominated by market towns,
villages and hamlets. The dispersed farmsteads between these are mainly of
post-medieval date, created by movement out of the villages and onto newly
consolidated holdings following enclosure. Some, however, are more ancient
disposals, the result of manors, granges and other farmsteads being moved out
of villages in the Middle Ages; others have become isolated by the process of
village depopulation, which has had a substantial impact in the sub-Province.
The Vale of York local region is a rich agricultural lowland dominated by a
dense pattern of villages and hamlets founded in the Middle Ages, about one in
four of which have since been deserted. It contains low and very low densities
of dispersed settlements, some of which are isolated medieval moated manor
houses. The landscape was formerly dominated by communal townfields which were
mainly enclosed in the 18th century.

The remains of the medieval settlement at East Tanfield survive well.
Prominent earthworks of the village are preserved and its original form and
development can be identified. Taken together, the surviving elements of the
medieval village of East Tanfield offer important scope for understanding the
history, development and ultimate decline of a community through the medieval

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beresford, M, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Lost Villages of Yorkshire Part IV, , Vol. VOL 38, (1954), 306

Source: Historic England

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