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Broxholme medieval settlement and cultivation remains

A Scheduled Monument in Broxholme, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.29 / 53°17'24"N

Longitude: -0.6347 / 0°38'4"W

OS Eastings: 491109.25522

OS Northings: 377878.252457

OS Grid: SK911778

Mapcode National: GBR SZ0D.DB

Mapcode Global: WHGHR.7K1M

Entry Name: Broxholme medieval settlement and cultivation remains

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016797

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22760

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Broxholme

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Saxilby St Botolph

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes the known extent of the surviving earthwork and buried
remains of the medieval village of Broxholme and its former open fields. The
settlement is thought to have expanded during the medieval period from an
original core near the church, and historical sources indicate that it
retained its size throughout the post-medieval period. By 1600 there were 25
house plots in the village. During the post-medieval period the present Main
Street was established over an earlier open field, and in the 1840s the
village was entirely replanned with the abandonment of a large area of former
settlement. The church and rectory were also rebuilt in the 19th century and
are not included in the scheduling. The surviving earthwork remains of the
medieval village are situated on the east side of Main Street between the
church and Manor Farm.

In the north western corner of the settlement are the remains of a large
rectangular enclosure; on the south it is bounded by a broad hollow way
representing the main road through the medieval village, and on the east by a
ditch marking the course of a former track. Early maps indicate that this was
one of the principal properties in the village, and the buried remains of a
number of different buildings, fronting on various sides of the enclosure,
survive within it. Adjacent to the east are a series of depressions which
mark the remains of further house plots fronting onto the main hollow way and
the track running north from it. To the south of these features is a linear
depression running roughly east-west and representing a hollow way which is
thought to indicate the southernmost extent of the earliest part of the
medieval village.

In the central part of the settlement the main hollow way extends on a
north-south alignment roughly parallel with Main Street. Along its eastern
side are a series of small rectangular enclosures representing house plots
which were occupied throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods. Small
depressions along the street frontage mark the remains of former dwellings.
Earthworks on the south side of a modern drain indicate the position of a
group of buildings which remained standing until the 20th century.

The western and southern areas of the settlement are occupied by the
substantial earthwork remains of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation. These
represent the only surviving remains of a large open field which extended to
the west of the medieval settlement and was cut through in the post-medieval
period by the present Main Street. The ridges, which are aligned east-west,
stand up to 0.3m in height and are bounded on the east by a headland which
stands up to 2m above the adjacent hollow way. Near the centre they have been
cut into by a later pond. The hollow way extends to the south and was formerly
adjoined on the south east by further settlement enclosures; these features,
which are thought to have marked a relatively short-lived expansion of the
village onto earlier arable land, are no longer evident and are not included
in the scheduling.

All modern fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 Trent sub-Province of the Central Province, where
the broad Trent valley swings in a great arc across midland England. Underlain
by heavy clays, it is given variety by superficial glacial and alluvial
deposits. Although treated as a single sub-Province, it has many subtle
variations. Generally, it is characterised by a great number of villages and
hamlets which cluster thickly along scarp-foot and scarp-tail zones, locations
suitable for exploiting the contrasting terrains. Throughout the sub-Province
there are very low and extremely low densities of dispersed farmsteads, some
of which are ancient, but most of which are 18th-century and later movement of
farms out of earlier villages.

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. Villages were the most distinctive aspect
of medieval life in central England, 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 settlements 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, which were in turn
grouped into large open fields. Well-preserved ridge and furrow, especially
in its original context adjacent to settlement earthworks, is both an
important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive
contribution to the character of the historic landscape.

The medieval settlement remains at Broxholme, and those of its open field
system, survive well as a series of substantial earthworks. As a result of
detailed archaeological survey and documentary research, made possible by the
preservation of an outstanding series of historic maps, they are unusually
well understood. The remains of house plots conserve valuable evidence for
domestic and economic activities on the site through both the medieval and
post-medieval periods, giving an insight into the lifestyle of the
inhabitants. The association of the village remains with those of its open
fields will also preserve evidence for the economy of the settlement and its
place in the wider medieval landscape.

Source: Historic England

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