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Croom medieval settlement and cultivation terraces

A Scheduled Monument in Sledmere, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0797 / 54°4'46"N

Longitude: -0.574 / 0°34'26"W

OS Eastings: 493388.415832

OS Northings: 465803.130586

OS Grid: SE933658

Mapcode National: GBR SPF8.J9

Mapcode Global: WHGCX.4QX9

Entry Name: Croom medieval settlement and cultivation terraces

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016859

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32635

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Sledmere

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Sledmere St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument, which lies in three areas of protection, includes buried and
earthwork remains of the medieval settlement of Croom, together with a set of
terraces originally used by its inhabitants for arable cultivation. The
original settlement is now partly overlain by the buildings of Croome House
The Domesday Book of 1087 records that at the time of the Norman Conquest,
Croom was split into a number of holdings, possibly all administered by manors
in other settlements. Nearly half of Croom was part of Weaverthorpe Manor held
by the Archbishop of York. The land of three individuals, also nearly
totalling half of Croom, passed to the king. The remaining small land holding
was part of a large manor in Buckton Holms held by Berenger of Tosny and is
thought to have later formed part of the honour of Settrington. In 1279-81 it
is recorded that both Robert Salveyn and the prior of Bridlington held land in
Croom, the prior's attorney being Brother Thomas de Croom. In 1297, only two
people were listed as having assets over nine shillings in Croom and thus
liable to be taxed for the Lay Subsidy, which would not have included
ecclesiastical holdings. However, five years later, for another tax known as
the Knight's Fees, 13 tenants were named, which was significantly more than
for most neighbouring settlements. By 1334 Croom was assessed at 30 shillings
for another Lay Subsidy; this was a little below the average for the area, but
the village is thought to have been badly hit by the Black Death, which
reached Yorkshire in 1349, because it was given 50% relief from the Lay
Subsidy in 1354. The settlement was last recorded in 1585, but may have been
depopulated by this time as the Council of the North was noted as having made
an award in 1555 with respect to the overcharging of pastures. Croom's open
fields were finally enclosed by Act of Parliament in 1775.
The monument extends westwards up the hillside from the base of a shallow dry
valley which runs north-south to the east of the modern farm buildings. It
continues in the field to the west of the farm complex, north of Croome House,
with a third protected area, including the cultivation terraces, lying on the
north east facing hillside on the west side of Croome Road. The medieval
village is considered to have been essentially a twin row settlement with
individual holdings arranged either side of an east west trackway, which is
partly preserved by the track on the north side of Croome House. A further
section of this track, flanked by low banks up to 0.3m high, can be seen
crossing the base of the valley. Either side and at right angles to the
trackway there are a series of breaks of slope and low banks which mark the
boundaries between individual properties, with level areas typically partly
cut into the hillside forming platforms for buildings. Running up the hill to
the south of Croome House there is a shallow ditch up to 3m wide, continued in
places as a break of slope, which is thought to mark the southern boundary of
the settlement. The northern boundary survives as a low bank 2m-3m wide to the
east and west of the farm buildings. Other earthwork features of particular
note include those of a row of three twin roomed buildings which lie
immediately on the north side of the trackway at the base of the valley. These
remains, which stand up to 0.3m high, are typical of longhouses, the usual
medieval form of peasant housing. Immediately up hill and to the north west of
these building remains there is an area 50m east west and 100m north south.
This is subdivided into a set of square and rectangular enclosures terraced
into the hillside and further defined by substantial banks. Towards the centre
of this area there is a set of earthworks which because of their larger scale
and layout are considered to be the remains of a small range of higher status
buildings. In the field to the north of Croome House, there are a number of
platforms 5m to 10m across which are typically roughly rectangular and partly
cut into the rising ground. These are considered to be the building platforms
for peasant houses and associated buildings. There is also one platform which
is not terraced into the hillside, but raised up at least 0.1m above the
surrounding ground. It is approximately circular in area, 12m across and is
considered to be the remains of a stack stand for storing fodder. Throughout
the area of the medieval settlement, there will be additional buried remains,
including rubbish pits, building foundations, and spreads of material like
smithing wastes and yard surfaces which will not be seen as upstanding
earthworks. To the north of the stack stand, beyond the settlement's boundary
bank, there is a sharp break of slope. This is part of a cultivation terrace
which has been cut through by the later Croome Road.
Further up hill, to the west of the road, there is a set of five parallel
terraces each 10-20m wide. These are considered to be the result of medieval
arable agriculture ploughing strip-like fields roughly along the contours. The
lynchets, the steps between terraces, are typically around 1m high.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these include all
modern fences, styles and gates, water troughs and the platforms that they
stand on, and telegraph poles; although the ground beneath these features is
included. Fence lines defining the boundaries of the monument lie immediately
outside the protected area.

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.
The Yorkshire Wolds local region is a soft, rolling, chalk landscape with deep
valleys. Dispersed farmsteads, usually impressive creations of the late 18th
and 19th centuries, are present in small numbers. The earlier pattern of
medieval nucleated settlements - villages and hamlets - still dominates the
archaeological landscape as either deserted settlement sites or sites still
occupied by rural communities.

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.
Cultivation terraces are a distinctive landscape feature of the Yorkshire
Wolds. Many are thought to have been established before the collapse in the
rural population in the 14th century, and to have been the result of the
poorly developed market economy forcing villages to be self sufficient in
grain and thus requiring the cultivation of steep hill sides.
Croom is of particular significance, because although thriving in the early
14th century, it is thought to have been abandoned as a village relatively
early. It will thus preserve information about earlier medieval rural life
with less disturbance from later intensive occupation.

Source: Historic England


Record cards, Sites & Monuments Record, 3327, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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