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Lubbesthorpe medieval settlement remains at Abbey Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Lubbesthorpe, Leicestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.605 / 52°36'18"N

Longitude: -1.2008 / 1°12'2"W

OS Eastings: 454220.925816

OS Northings: 301106.283169

OS Grid: SK542011

Mapcode National: GBR F0X.01

Mapcode Global: WHDJH.JSF8

Entry Name: Lubbesthorpe medieval settlement remains at Abbey Farm

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017213

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30274

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Lubbesthorpe

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Enderby with Lubbesthorpe St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

Details

The monument includes the remains of the medieval settlement of Lubbesthorpe
and a sample of its adjacent field systems at Abbey Farm.

The remains take the form of earthworks and buried features which represent
areas of abandonment caused by the contraction and eventual desertion of the
settlement. A series of between 12 and 14 building platforms in the area south
of the present Lubbesthorpe bridle road are defined by low sub-rectangular
mounds, with short boundaries and trackways consisting of linear depressions
and ridges visible between them. The house platforms at the eastern and
western sides of the settlement are abutted by evidence of medieval ridge and
furrow agricultural remains. The fields are aligned on an approximately north
to south axis and have broader parallel ditches dividing them into groups and
defining their northern terminals. Up to five terraced rectilinear enclosures
or paddocks identified on aerial photographs immediately south of the stream
have been obscured by soil tipping. The enclosures were a maximum of 100m in
length and 50m in width with their long axes orientated approximately north
west to south east. A pond and further building platforms situated between the
enclosures have similarly been obscured, but all of these features survive as
buried deposits.

Archaeological evaluations north and north east of Abbey Farm in 1975 and 1982
in advance of pipeline construction revealed evidence of medieval settlement
in the form of stone building foundations, post holes and large quantities of
pottery dated to between the 13th and 16th centuries.

At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 the settlement of Lubestorp had six
ploughlands and five oxgangs which were valued at four pounds and were held by
Pagen under William Peverel. In 1253 the manor of Lobesthorp was granted to
William de Cantilupe, passing through marriage to the la Zouch family, and in
1302 Roger la Zouch was granted a chapel dedicated to St Peter. During the
reign of Henry VIII Sir Richard Sacheverell purchased the manor for 1300
marks, which was inherited in 1534 by his grandson Francis Lord Hastings.
Hastings, later Earl of Huntingdon built `a very fair and gallant house',
which was sold in 1615 to Sir George Manners of Haddon. An account dated to
1807 says `the old chapel has long been desecrated, and very few remains of
that or the manor house are now to be seen, though some persons yet living
remember the walls of the chapel standing, and also the manor-house being
inhabited by three or four families. All the ruins have lately been taken away
to mend the roads with, except one small fragment of a wall, and a barn is
built upon the site of the chapel'.

All fences, feed troughs, cattle grids, walls and the modern surfaces of all
paths and trackways are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath all 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 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 the organised agricultural communities, sited at the
centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land,
meadow and woodland. Village plans vary 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. 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 or lands 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 building of fishponds began in the medieval period and peaked in the 12th
century. The difficulty in obtaining fresh meat in winter and the value placed
on fish in terms of its protein content and as a status food may have been
factors which favoured the development of fishponds and which made them so
valuable. The practice of constructing fishponds declined after the
Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, although in some areas it
continued into the 17th century. Documentary sources provide a wealth of
information about the way fishponds were managed. The main species of fish
kept were eel, tench, pickerel, bream, perch and roach. Most fishponds were
located next to villages, manors or monasteries.

Lubbesthorpe medieval settlement remains at Abbey Farm survive well as a
series of substantial earthworks and buried deposits. The areas of settlement
have remained largely undisturbed since their abandonment with the result that
the survival of archaeological deposits relating to their occupation and use
is likely to be good. These deposits will contain information about the
dating, layout and status of the medieval hamlet. In addition, waterlogging in
the area of the pond adjacent to the stream suggests a high potential for the
survival of organic remains which will provide a useful insight into the
economy of the site, and the environment in which it was constructed. Together
with contemporary documents relating to the settlement, this will provide a
good opportunity to understand the mechanisms behind the development, decline
and eventual abandonment of the hamlet.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of Central Leicestershire, (1989)
Nichols, J, The History and Antiquity of the County of Leicester, (1807)
Other
Farnham, G., Leicestershire Medieval Village Notes, 1935,
Leicestershire County Council, SK 50 SW H,
RCHME, NMR Printout: SK 50 SW 4,

Source: Historic England

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