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Medieval settlement and moated site at Bruton

A Scheduled Monument in Admington, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.1132 / 52°6'47"N

Longitude: -1.702 / 1°42'7"W

OS Eastings: 420505.940628

OS Northings: 246135.216412

OS Grid: SP205461

Mapcode National: GBR 4MS.GJZ

Mapcode Global: VHBYD.G43W

Entry Name: Medieval settlement and moated site at Bruton

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016923

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30045

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Admington

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Whitchurch St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the moated site and
settlement at Bruton within two areas of protection. Bruton was a hamlet
within the parish of Whitchurch, which included four other hamlets or small
villages, which either remain occupied, or have been lost.
This settlement pattern of small hamlets is unusual in this part of
Warwickshire where larger villages predominated. Bruton was included in
surveys of the 13th century and was under the lordship of the De Valle family
in the 14th century and later the Burdets in the 15th century. It is believed
to have been depopulated and converted to pasture by the 16th century.
The moat lies to the north of the settlement, in the gentle river valley at
the confluence of the Humber Brook and a tributary. It is thought to be the
original site of the medieval manor house associated with the settlement.
The moat is compact, sub-rectangular and complete in the moat's circuit. It is
orientated east to west and measures approximately 80m by 60m. The arms of
the moat are quite uniform measuring 6m to 10m across, except on the eastern
side which is wider, measuring up to 15m across. The moat appears to have been
fed by a leat from the Humber Brook in the moat's south eastern angle, with an
outlet returning to the river from the north eastern angle of the moat. The
moat is not usually water-filled, but the entire area is subject to periodic
flooding, and remains waterlogged.
The moated island is raised 1m to 2m above the surrounding ground level and is
undulating, with earthworks representing possible building remains in the
north western portion of the island.
To the south east of the moat is a large low-lying enclosure, bounded on all
sides by rising ground. The enclosure includes the remnants of an extensive
levelled platform, orientated north west to south east and measuring
approximately 60m by 25m. Other small irregular platforms also survive to the
south of the moat. These are believed to represent the site of agricultural
and ancillary buildings associated with the manor.
To the north of the moat a shallow hollow way measuring up to 0.75m deep and
1.5m wide runs northwards towards the confluence of the streams.
The buried and earthwork remains of the medieval settlement of Bruton, within
a second area of protection, lie 200m south of the road to Quinton which
separates the site of the settlement from the moat to the north. The
settlement also lies in the valley of the Humber Brook and its tributary.
The village remains include a series of irregular house enclosures (or tofts)
and gardens and allotments (crofts), laid out on one side of the stream which
runs along the east side of the settlement. The village remains are surrounded
on their south, west and northern sides by broad, deep ditches or hollow ways,
measuring 6m wide and up to 3m deep. These hollow ways, together with the
stream, define the roughly square area of the settlement, covering an area
approximately 250m by 250m.
Within the settlement there is an irregular grid system of banks and hollow
ways which define the property boundaries. The tofts are believed to have run
parallel with the stream, orientated roughly east to west. An area of
irregular platforms in the centre of the settlement is thought to represent
building platforms, and two rectangular buildings in particular are well-
defined, measuring approximately 12m wide by 20m long. Further irregular
enclosures defined by ditches are thought to represent yards and stock
enclosures. The settlement is surrounded on the north, west and south sides by
broad, curving ridge and furrow cultivation remains, a sample of which is
included in the scheduling in order to preserve the relationship between the
village and its fields.
The modern post and wire fences and wooden gates and stiles which surround the
moat and settlement are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath 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 past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Inner Midlands sub-Province of the Central Province,
an area characterised by large numbers of nucleated settlements, both
surviving and deserted, many of which are thought to have been established in
Anglo-Saxon times. Most of the sub-Province's thinly scattered dispersed
settlements were created in post-medieval times, but some of the local regions
are characterised by higher proportions of dispersed dwellings and hamlets,
which probably mark the patchy survival of older landscapes.
The Stour-Avon-Soar Clay Vales local region is dominated by village and hamlet
settlements. It was once characterised by large townfields under communal
cultivation, traces which survive as ridge and furrow earthworks. It contains
the sites of many depopulated villages and hamlets, perhaps up to one third of
the total number of such settlements which existed in the 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 included the parish church within
their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages included
one or more manorial centres which may survive also as visible remains as
wellas below ground deposits. In the central province of England, villages
were the most distinctive aspect of rural 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 landes) 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 landes were laid out in groups known as furlongs defined by terminal
headlands at the plough turning-points and lateral grass balks. 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
contibution to the character of the historic landscape. It is usually now
covered by the hedges or walls of subsequent field enclosure.
The medieval settlement at Bruton is unusual as a hamlet or small settlement
in an area of predominantly large nucleated settlements. It survives well
with little recent disturbance. The buried earthwork remains of a variety of
settlement features are expected to preserve the remains of the domestic
dwellings and the ancillary and agricultural buildings, including remains of a
variety of buildings of different status, from the moated manor to the village
peasant housing and possibly the poorest cottages. These will provide
information about the relative wealth and activities of the members of the
community, changing methods and forms of housing and building techniques, as
well as the development of the technologies of agriculture and changing
patterns of subsistence. The standards of living and the sources of materials
used in every day items will also be illuminated through examination of
domestic artefacts and environmental deposits which are believed to be
preserved in and around the buildings. Household remains will provide a range
of dating evidence as well as insights into the range of spheres of influence,
social contacts and trading mechanisms of the inhabitants of the manor
throughout its history.

Source: Historic England


Prof C. Dyer., Bruton, 1996, unpublished research report.
Prof C. Dyer., Bruton, 1996, unpublished research report.

Source: Historic England

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