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Barton Blount medieval settlement remains, including a chapel, decoy pond and part of the open field system, 340m north of Barton Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Barton Blount, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 52.9111 / 52°54'40"N

Longitude: -1.6921 / 1°41'31"W

OS Eastings: 420800.076906

OS Northings: 334901.537636

OS Grid: SK208349

Mapcode National: GBR 4B3.K0K

Mapcode Global: WHCFR.Z3D2

Entry Name: Barton Blount medieval settlement remains, including a chapel, decoy pond and part of the open field system, 340m north of Barton Hall

Scheduled Date: 9 April 1981

Last Amended: 15 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016778

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29933

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Barton Blount

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Church Broughton St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the abandoned areas
of Barton Blount medieval settlement, the buried and standing remains of St
Chad's Church and a decoy pond. The monument is in three areas of protection
to the north, west and south of Barton Hall. The monument is situated on clay
in undulating terrain which rises gently to the north and west.
Barton Blount is first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it is
recorded that `Barctune' was held by Henry de Ferieres. In addition to
extensive plough lands, the settlement is documented as having a priest, a
church, two mills worth twenty shillings, and sixty four acres of meadow. At
the time of the Domesday survey the parish was worth a total of four pounds.
In the 13th century the manor was held by the family of Bakepuz; at this time
it became known as Barton-Bakepuz to distinguish it from numerous other places
of the same name. The name was changed to Barton Blount in 1381, when the
manor was purchased by Sir Walter Blount. Sometime after Sir Walter's death
in 1403 at the Battle of Shrewsbury, his great grandson Walter became the
owner of Barton Blount. In 1465 Walter was created Lord Mountjoy but died in
1474 owning a total of 42 manors covering six counties. In the middle of the
16th century, James, the sixth Lord Mountjoy, sold Barton Blount and other
portions of his estates.
In 1644, during the Civil War, a Parliamentary garrison was placed at Barton
Hall. The garrison was positioned to counteract the Royalist garrison of
Tutbury. The castle at Tutbury was surrendered on 20th April 1646 after which
Barton Hall was disgarrisoned. St Chad's Church was damaged during the war and
by the early 18th century was in a dilapidated condition.
Barton Hall, which is not included in the scheduling, was built in the 15th
century as a moated, semi-fortified manor house but 18th, 19th and 20th
century alterations to the buildings and gardens are mainly responsible for
its appearance today. It is Listed Grade II*. Part of the moat, specifically
the south west arm, was infilled when the grounds were landscaped. This area
is now part of the terraced gardens to the south and south west of Barton
Hall. Large ornamental fishponds to the south west of the hall are also
thought to have been cut from the earlier moat, although the formal, lined
fishponds obscure any surviving evidence of the earlier feature. These
features are not included in the scheduling.
Excavation of part of the settlement remains in the late 1960s and early 1970s
has shown that the village was occupied from the tenth to the 15th century
and included five periods of expansion. Barton Hall and St Chad's Church mark
the centre of the original village with subsequent expansions to the north and
north east. A large section of the village, to the north and north east of the
area of protection, was ploughed after the excavations were carried out.
The excavations showed that the earliest structures, built in the early 13th
century, were simple timber buildings and were followed in the later period by
timber framed houses of a more permanent nature which rested on pad stones. At
least six houses had sunken yards. Excavation of one of these revealed that
they were crew yards in which cattle were penned during the winter. Crew yards
were a late development in the village, probably originating in the second
half of the 14th century, and related to the specialization of pastoral
farming. It is possible that a change from arable to pastoral farming
contributed to the decline of the village because fewer people were required
for pastoral farming.
In the area to the north east of the church lie the earthwork and buried
remains of six crofts (plots of land) and tofts (building platforms). These
lie either side of the sunken track. The track was originally the main street
of the village. The largest and most clearly visible platform lies to the
north of the track and is defined by steep banks surviving up to approximately
1m in height. A sunken track runs in a north easterly direction from the
northern corner of this platform. The other crofts and tofts are defined by
much lower banks and are visible in the paddocks to the south east of Rags
Plantation but extend into the plantation itself.
Another sunken track runs from the main street, between two platforms on the
south east side of Rags Plantation. This would have provided a back lane to
the fields which abut the crofts to the south east. The track is still used as
access to paddocks and is defined by a double field boundary. The track
continues in a straight line on the north side of the main street along the
alignment of a field boundary. The southern edge of the track has been
degraded by the development of Parkswood Stud but the track is still visible,
particularly at its northern end where it turns to the north east and links
with a second group of crofts and tofts situated on the northern edge of the
area of protection. The tofts and crofts are well preserved and survive as
earthworks standing to a height of approximately 0.75m. Within this group six
crofts containing tofts are aligned with a wide, sunken track which runs from
north west to south east along the field boundary which marks the northern
edge of the area of protection. Both ends of the track have now been truncated
by the boundary fence.
To the west and south west of these crofts and to the south east and north
west of those adjacent to the Main Street are the remains of part of the
medieval open field system. The surviving remains are visible as parts of 11
furlongs (groups of lands or cultivation strips) marked by headlands. The
cultivation strips collectively form ridge and furrow which is curved in the
shape of an elongated reverse `S'. This shape developed over the years from
the need to swing the plough team out at the end of a strip to enable it to
turn and to continue ploughing in the opposite direction. The remains survive
to a height of 0.75m.
The church is situated in the landscaped grounds of Barton Hall approximately
30m north of the hall itself and is contained within a separate area. The
medieval church, which is Listed Grade II, was rebuilt in 1714 and again in
1845 using medieval masonry. The building is constructed of course squared
sandstone and ashlar with a plain tile roof. The lower courses of the walls
are of medieval origin and a blocked doorway on the north side of the building
is also a remnant of the medieval structure. The interior is mainly 19th
century with a plaster ceiling but the church contains a 14th century effigy
and a late medieval font.
Approximately 150m south west of Barton Hall is the site of a decoy pond. The
main body of the pond measures approximately 100m in length and 60m in width
and accommodates an island of approximately 25m by 25m. At the northern end of
the pond a long, narrow, slightly curving, channel or `pipe' extends to the
north for approximately 50m. A short extension to the south of the pond may be
the remains of a second pipe although this is truncated by a dam. The pond is
fed by a spring which is situated approximately 450m to the north. The stream
runs in a south westerly direction, through a weir, to a water inlet channel
which meets the pond at the northern end of the pipe. Water leaves the pond at
the dam on the southern side and is channelled away along what is now a field
drain. The pond would have been dug from the natural clay and as such is
unlikely to have required additional revetting or lining. The island and
enclosing woodland would have provided ideal natural resting and breeding
areas for wildfowl and particularly ducks. The ducks would then be enticed up
the pipe by the scattering of bait or by a small dog. The pipe would be
covered in netting and once the birds were in the narrower end of the pipe the
netting would be dropped and the birds trapped.
All modern fences, gates, farm buildings, metalled surfaces and the windpump
building are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all
these features 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 West Midland Plateau sub-Province of the Northern
and Western Province, which is marked by a series of low plateaux and
escarpments, often with rather sandy soils, and great clay vales containing
alluvial and gravel terraces. Still well wooded in 1086, the area embraced
forests such as Kinver, Feckenham, Cannock and Arden. Compared with the land
to the east, the area had significantly lower numbers of nucleations and, with
the exception of the Severn valley, carried a mixture of medium to very high
densities of dispersed settlement. This included diverse hamlets, common-edge
scatters of small farms and cottages, and isolated larger farmsteads,
generally moated, many being of medieval foundation.
The Upper Trent and Dove local region is marked by varied terrain. The
alluvial tracts and terraces of the Trent and Dove mask a core clay lowland,
with Needwood Forest forming the watershed, while to the north and south are
the rising lands of Cannock Chase and the southern Pennines. It has low
densities of nucleated settlement, and medium and high densities of dispersed
settlement. Placenames indicate much woodland in the early Middle Ages.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre
of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and
woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as
earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks,
platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed
crofts and small enclosed paddocks. They frequently include the parish church
within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages
include one or more manorial centres which may also survive as visible remains
as well as below ground deposits. In the central province of England, villages
were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life, and their archaeological
remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural
life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest.
Medieval villages were supported by a communal system of agriculture based on
large, unenclosed open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into
strips (known as lands) which were allocated to individual tenants. The
cultivation of these strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen-teams produced
long, wide ridges and the resultant `ridge and furrow' where it survives is
the most obvious physical indication of the open field system. Individual
strips or lands were laid out in groups known as furlongs defined by terminal
headlands at the plough turning-points and lateral grass baulks. Furlongs were
in turn grouped into large open fields. Well preserved ridge and furrow,
especially in its original context adjacent to village earthworks, is both an
important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive
contribution to the character of the historic landscape. It is usually now
covered by the hedges or walls of subsequent field enclosure.
The tradition of constructing decoy ponds began in the medieval period but
gained popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries when large numbers were
built. Most examples which survive in a near complete state of preservation
will be considered of national importance and worthy of protection.
The earthwork remains of the abandoned areas of Barton Blount medieval
settlement and the standing remains of St Chad's Church are particularly well
preserved and retain significant archaeological remains. The archaeological
and historical documentation along with aerial photographic records combine to
provide a detailed picture of the layout, development, economy and decline of
the settlement. As a whole, the medieval settlement of Barton Blount will add
greatly to our knowledge and understanding of medieval settlement in the area
and the wider agricultural landscape.
The decoy pond is also well preserved. The silts in the main pond and the
pipes provide key contexts for the preservation of artefactual, ecological and
environmental evidence. These offer a valuable source of information about
everyday life and the changing environment from the construction to the
decline of the decoy pond.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beresford, G, Medieval Clay-land village: Excavations at Goltho and Barton1-106
Beresford, G, The Medieval Clay-Land Village1-106
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Derbyshire, (1905), 339
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Derbyshire, (1905), 339
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Derbyshire, (1978), 85
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Derbyshire, (1978), 85
Auden, Rev A M, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Barton Blount and the Civil War, , Vol. Vol43, (1921), 1-18
Auden, Rev A M, 'Derbyshire Archaeology Journal' in Barton Blount and the Civil War, , Vol. Vol 43, (), 1-18
Wright, S, 'Medieval Archaeology: Journal of the Society of Medieval Studies' in Barton Blount: Climatic or economic change?, , Vol. 1976, (1976), 148-152

Source: Historic England

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