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Apley medieval settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Apley, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.2593 / 53°15'33"N

Longitude: -0.3398 / 0°20'23"W

OS Eastings: 510841.675334

OS Northings: 374877.880461

OS Grid: TF108748

Mapcode National: GBR VZ2R.7B

Mapcode Global: WHGJ2.RBCN

Entry Name: Apley medieval settlement

Scheduled Date: 16 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016981

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22764

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Apley

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Bardney St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the remains of the medieval settlement of Apley, a small
hamlet established by the late 11th century. After the foundation of
Stainfield Priory in the mid-12th century the settlement was granted to the
nunnery and managed as a monastic manor or grange. Documentary references to a
priest at Apley occur from the early 13th century onwards. The population of
the settlement, which remained low throughout the medieval period, declined
after the Dissolution when `Apley Grange' was granted with the rest of the
Stainfield Priory estate to Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, who enclosed large areas of
land for sheep pasture. The medieval church at Apley remained standing until
the beginning of the 18th century; the present St Andrew's Church, which
stands on an adjacent site and is not included in the scheduling, was
constructed in 1871. The remains of the medieval settlement of Apley and the
surviving parts of its open fields are visible as earthworks with associated
buried remains and lie in two separate areas of protection.

About 50m to the south of the present St Andrew's Church is a raised mound
about 30m square and 1m high representing the site of the medieval church and
churchyard at Apley. The buried foundations of the church are preserved
within the mound.

About 150m to the west of the church site is an area of earthworks, including
a block of rectangular ditched enclosures which are raised above the
surrounding ground level. This block is bounded on the south by a deep hollow
way, part of which has later been redug to create a pond, on the west by a
ditch, and on the north and east by less substantial hollow ways. These
enclosures are believed to represent paddocks and gardens of the monastic
manor or grange at Apley, which was established on part of the site of the
earlier hamlet after the mid-12th century. Adjacent to the north side of this
block are the remains of a hollow way extending northwards, together with part
of a roadside enclosure in which dwellings were formerly located. Adjacent to
the north west, south and south east of the grange are the remains of medieval
ridge and furrow cultivation. To the south the ridge and furrow cultivation
lies within a series of larger ditched enclosures which are also thought to be
associated with the monastic manor or grange. A group of narrow enclosures
adjacent to the main hollow way may represent earlier settlement enclosures
later incorporated into the adjacent complex. The cultivation remains, which
extend both west and south of Apley Manor, represent the only surviving parts
of the large open fields which once surrounded the settlement.

All gravestones, fences, gates and modern hard standing are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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 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.

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 also survive as
visible remains as well as below ground deposits. 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 remains of the medieval settlement of Apley, including those of a monastic
manor or grange and associated ridge and furrow cultivation, survive well as a
series of substantial earthworks and associated buried deposits. As a result
of detailed archaeological survey and historical research they are quite well
understood. Buried building remains, including the foundations of the medieval
church, will preserve valuable evidence for domestic, economic and religious
activity in the settlement, giving an insight into the lifestyle of the
inhabitants. The remains of the monastic manor or grange will contribute to
our understanding of the way in which medieval monastic holdings functioned as
components of the local and regional community. 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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