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Kirby Grindalythe medieval settlement earthworks immediately south west of St Andrew's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Kirby Grindalythe, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.095 / 54°5'41"N

Longitude: -0.6209 / 0°37'15"W

OS Eastings: 490289.820911

OS Northings: 467444.350717

OS Grid: SE902674

Mapcode National: GBR SP32.CT

Mapcode Global: WHGCW.FBKK

Entry Name: Kirby Grindalythe medieval settlement earthworks immediately south west of St Andrew's Church

Scheduled Date: 21 July 1976

Last Amended: 14 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017069

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32640

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Kirby Grindalythe

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kirby Grindalythe St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of that part of the
medieval settlement of Kirby Grindalythe which lies adjacent and to the south
west of the parish church of St Andrew.
The earliest evidence for settlement in the village is provided by the five
fragments of 9th and 10th century Anglian and Anglo-Scandinavian carved stone
crosses found in the 19th century and built into the internal wall faces of
the church tower. The Domesday Book of 1087 records that the land holding in
Kirby Grindalythe was simplified after the Norman Conquest when the manors of
Ketilbjorn, which included parts of Thirkleby and Low Mowthorpe, and Thorfinnr
both passed to Count Robert Mortain, the half brother of William the
Conqueror. The much smaller land holding belonging to Uglubarthr passed to the
king. In 1293-4 Geoffrey Aguyllun is recorded as holding the manor in Kirby
Grindalythe with rights to small game hunting. Only four people were listed
for the 1297 Lay Subsidy, a tax levied on people with assets in excess of 9
shillings. The settlement as a whole was taxed 38 shillings for the 1334 Lay
Subsidy which was slightly higher than the average for the area. In 1311 the
church, along with some land in the parish, was granted to the Augustinian
priory at Kirkham. This holding, which was increased by subsequent gifts,
passed into the hands of the Crown in 1539 at the Dissolution of the
Monasteries and was granted in part to Richard Foster in 1606. Surviving legal
documents from the 17th and 18th centuries chart changes in ownership of not
just the manor, but of other properties in the village and the neighbouring
townships of Duggleby, Mowthorpe and Thirkleby. In 1755 the medieval style
open fields of Kirby Grindalythe and the neighbouring township of Mowthorpe
were enclosed and the land ownership was rationalised by agreement. The
enclosure map shows that in 1755 the area of the monument was in at least
three separate ownerships and was amalgamated into a single land holding.
There are few sources of water on the free draining chalk of the Yorkshire
Wolds. As a result the Gypsey Race has long acted as a focus for settlement
and in the medieval period there was a continuous string of settlements along
the course of the stream, many of which have since then contracted to a single
farm or have been abandoned entirely. Kirby Grindalythe was and still is the
main settlement in the upper part of the Gypsey Race valley, the site of the
church and centre of the parish. It is thought that the village was originally
centred on the parish church and the manor house to its east. The area of the
monument includes the part of the settlement to the west of the church which
is thought to have been abandoned in stages from the late medieval period
All of the features within the area of the monument shown on the 1755
enclosure map can be identified as earthworks. A trackway or lane runs south
eastwards from where Low Road bends south west, down the hill to the Gypsey
Race, the stream in the base of the valley. Two trackways lead off this lane.
The first can be seen as a ramp that heads ENE towards the south door of the
church and is now blocked by the churchyard wall. The second trackway is a bit
further downhill and runs south westwards a short distance before opening up
into a broader area 20m wide and 40m long shown as a yard on the 1755 map. The
map shows three rectangular buildings in this yard, one on the north side, one
to the south and one on the south side of the entrance to the yard. These were
shown as `old foundations' on the 1890 Ordnance Survey map and still survive
as earthworks. The northern building appears to have been 10m by 6m with a
doorway in its southern wall and two further bays open to the south extending
5m and then 8m from the east wall. It is built into the base of a small chalk
quarry at the foot of a steep slope. The earthworks of the southern building
are 26m by 7m with opposed entrances 2m wide midway along its length. At the
east end of this there is a raised platform some 12m by 15m which incorporates
stone wall footings and is the site of the third building shown on the 1755
map. Opposite this, on the north side of the entrance to the yard, there are
the earthworks of a 5m by 8m building which was not depicted in 1755 and is
thought to have been demolished by this time. The yard and the buildings are
thought to have been owned by Robert Snowball who was one of the eight owners
involved in the enclosure and the only one listed as a yeoman, a small owner
farmer, rather than as a gentleman or member of the clergy. A small area to
the west was noted as Snowball's Garth and two thirds of the area between the
yard and the modern road to the north as Snowball's Backyard. The remainder of
this area, adjacent to the modern road and the top end of the lane, is still
defined by a low earthwork bank and was labelled as Lane Head Garth. Opposite
this, defined by the track to the church, the lane, modern road, and
churchyard wall was H Webster's Garth. To the south of the two trackways
leading off either side of the lane and extending to the stream were two
further areas both labelled as Elliot's Garth. None of these areas retained
buildings in 1755, although surviving earthworks show that there were earlier
buildings, medieval in style, on both sides of the lane. The clearest
earthworks lie in Webster's Garth, which appears to have been originally
divided into two properties. Immediately north of the track to the church,
fronting onto the lane, there are the low earthworks of a two roomed 12m by 5m
building, with a main room 8m long at the northern uphill end. This is
identified as a peasant longhouse. At right angles to this, on the north side
of the small level area to the rear of the longhouse there are the earthworks
of an outbuilding 8m by 5m which was also divided into two cells. Fronting
onto the lane in the northern half of Webster's Garth there are the remains of
a second longhouse with a third opposite in Lane Head Garth. To the south of
this, in the eastern part of Snowball's Backyard, the hillside has been
quarried back for chalk. Further earthworks of small buildings can be
identified either side of the southern end of the lane and additional buried
remains, such as rubbish and storage pits, retaining evidence of earlier
phases of settlement are considered to survive throughout the area of the

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.
The earthworks and buried remains to the south west of Kirby Grindalythe
church lie adjacent to the most important settlement focus in the parish and
will complement other medieval settlement remains within the valley. They will
retain some of the earliest evidence of habitation in the village along with
later remains which will provide valuable insights into the evolution of Kirby
Grindalythe through the medieval and post-medieval periods. The identification
of features shown on the 1755 enclosure map adds further interest to the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Lang, J , Corpus of Anglo Saxon Stone Sculpture, (1990), 150-52
Offprints, N Yorkshire SMR, Kirby Grindalythe parish file,
Title: Kirby Gindalythe and Mowthorpe Enclosure Plan
Source Date: 1755
Ref P12098

Source: Historic England

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