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Medieval settlement of Croxton

A Scheduled Monument in Croxton, North Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.596 / 53°35'45"N

Longitude: -0.3427 / 0°20'33"W

OS Eastings: 509780.808257

OS Northings: 412323.022177

OS Grid: TA097123

Mapcode National: GBR VV1V.LN

Mapcode Global: WHGGB.QW03

Entry Name: Medieval settlement of Croxton

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016858

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32629

County: North Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Croxton

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Croxton St John

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of the medieval settlement
of Croxton, together with the surviving part of the village's open field
system. The monument lies within two areas of protection separated by the
Croxton Road which runs south east to Kirmington.
There are five entries in the Domesday Book for Croxton. These provide an
insight on the change of land ownership caused by the Norman Conquest. Of the
five landholders in 1066, only one remained in 1087, and then as a vassal of
Roger of Poitou. Two landholdings were merged and passed to Hugh, son of
Baldrick, with the remaining two smaller land holdings passing to the Bishop
of Lincoln and the king. Political unrest, poor harvests and epidemics in
livestock in the early part of the 14th century, followed by the Black Death
after 1348, caused a widespread collapse in the population; this coincided
with social and land holding changes and the contraction in the size of many
villages. Parish records show that Croxton was affected by the plague again in
1593 with 11 deaths recorded for the year compared to an average of 4.4
previously. The open fields of Croxton were enclosed in the early 19th
century. The 1810 working plan for the enclosure shows that the area of the
monument was already enclosed by this date.
The main area of earthworks lies to the east of Croxton Road, bounded by the
lane to Ulceby Chase to the north and the railway to the south. Two former
village streets, represented by parallel hollow ways approximately 100m apart,
run north eastwards from Croxton Road. The southern street was still shown on
the 1810 map as a trackway. Arranged at right angles to these streets there
are a number of low banks marking former property boundaries, hollow ways of
cross streets and boundaries of the open field system. Between the two
parallel streets, centred 300m from Croxton Road, there is a water filled pond
just over 100m across, shown on the 1810 map. The area between the streets to
the south west of the pond is divided into at least eight parallel tofts by
low banks. These tofts were individual building plots for peasant houses and
contain levelled areas for houses and associated outbuildings. This area is
labelled Shop Closes on the 1810 map. A further two tofts lie to the east of
the pond with a hollow way beyond which links the two parallel streets. To the
south of the southern street there is a further row of tofts with a ditched
enclosure at the western end of the row, the southern part of which is
overlain by the railway. The area to the north of the northern street is not
split into tofts. It is crossed by two hollow ways, one running NNW from the
north western corner of the pond, in line with the modern field boundary to
the north of the monument, and the second running about 100m from, and
parallel to Croxton Road. In between these two cross streets there is an area
about 180m long which contains a level platform and a rectangular area 30m by
50m bounded by a slight bank which lies alongside the eastern cross street.
The western cross street, a back lane to tofts along the eastern side of
Croxton Road in an area now occupied by modern farm buildings, can be seen to
continue as a crop mark feature to the north of the road to Ulceby Chase.
Within the area of the monument between this street and Croxton Road there are
further low earthwork features which, given their position opposite the
church, are considered to indicate a medieval manor house. To the north and
east of the pond there are the earthworks of ridge and furrow left by medieval
ploughing. Most run NNW to SSE, measuring 6m-7m between furrows, with one set
at right angles running from the eastern end of the row of tofts between the
two parallel streets. The lane to Ulceby Chase cuts across the ridge and
furrow and is thus not medieval in date.
There is a smaller area of earthworks to the west of Croxton Road and to the
west of the church and the houses to its south. This is divided up by low
banks into small, roughly rectangular enclosures, typically 40m by 50m, some
of which are shown on the 1810 map. Some contain level areas typical of
building platforms. These are considered to be crofts, which were small
paddocks and enclosures owned by some villagers.
Not included in the scheduling is the area of the medieval settlement which is
still occupied by standing buildings and associated gardens, nor the medieval
church and surrounding churchyard which is still in ecclesiastical use,
although important buried remains are expected to survive in these areas. The
areas where the earthworks have been removed by agriculture or road and
railway construction are also not included.
All modern fencing, as well as feeding and water troughs 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 Lincolnshire Scarp and Vale sub-Province of the
Central Province, which comprises a succession of scarps and vales in which
clay vales with alluvial deposits and a chalk ridge, together with associated
glacial deposits, form the structural framework of the landscape. There is a
very dense scatter of nucleated settlements, many of which are situated in
lines along favoured scarp-foot and dip-slope locations. Large numbers of
medieval village sites now lie wholly or partially deserted. Densities of
dispersed farmsteads are very low.
The Scarp and Vale Country local region is divided by the Lincoln Edge from
the broad Vale of Trent to the west. Chains of ancient village settlements,
some now deserted, are characteristic of the region. They occur where soils
change and springs appear. Densities of dispersed farmsteads are uniformly
low.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, generally sited at
the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land,
meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but where 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 paddocks. They frequently included the parish church
within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system, most villages
included 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 divided 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 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.
The medieval settlement earthworks at Croxton are very well preserved and
extensive and provide important information about the layout of the medieval
village. The buried remains will include the complete ground plans of medieval
houses with their associated outbuildings. Rubbish pits, yard surfaces and
spreads of deposits such as smithing wastes will provide valuable information
about medieval village life. The pond indicates that the area will also retain
waterlogged deposits which are expected to include organic remains such as
timber and leather items which rarely survive on drier sites.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
3 oblique black & whites held by SMR, AUI 20, AUI 21, AUI 22, (1968)

Source: Historic England

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