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Greetwell medieval village, cultivation and post-medieval garden remains

A Scheduled Monument in Greetwell, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.2321 / 53°13'55"N

Longitude: -0.4822 / 0°28'55"W

OS Eastings: 501409.55282

OS Northings: 371636.342487

OS Grid: TF014716

Mapcode National: GBR FMS.BXG

Mapcode Global: WHGJ6.K1L1

Entry Name: Greetwell medieval village, cultivation and post-medieval garden remains

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017332

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22748

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Greetwell

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Cherry Willingham St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the earthworks remains of the village and the post-
medieval gardens which partly overlay it, together with the surviving parts of
the medieval fields which formerly surrounded the village. The medieval
settlement of Greetwell was established before the late 11th century. The size
of the village is thought to have remained fairly constant through most of the
medieval period, at about 20-30 households, until the early 15th century when
it had declined to ten. In 1475 the manor was granted to the Dean and Chapter
of Lincoln and the population subsequently increased. By 1603, when the
Dallison family were established as tenants at Greetwell Hall, the population
appears to have numbered over 100; however, it had declined again by the mid-
17th century when the Dallisons were no longer resident and much of the parish
had been enclosed. In the mid-19th century only four households are recorded;
at this time the railway was cut through the site and the area to the south of
it was planted as a park.

The monument is in two areas of protection separated by the railway line. To
the south of the railway is an extensive area of earthworks including, in its
north eastern part, a group of substantial ditched enclosures terraced into
the top of the slope. Within these enclosures are the earth-covered remains
of former houses and outbuildings, possibly including those of the medieval
manor house of Greetwell. The enclosures are grouped around a series of
hollow ways representing former village streets. The principal hollow way
extends southwards down the hill through an area of more regular terraced
enclosures, thought to represent a part of the village which was overlain by
gardens associated with Greetwell Hall in the late 16th or early 17th century.
A depression at the southern end of the main hollow way, and another above it
near the eastern boundary of the monument, represent the remains of small
quarries dating from the mid-19th century. From the lower pit the course of
the hollow way continues southwards as a raised causeway, extending from the
natural scarp at the bottom of the hill across the remains of a broad embanked
enclosure which was artificially raised above the floodplain of the River
Witham, probably for cultivation or animal enclosure. In early modern times
the causeway gave access to a ferry across the river.

Immediately to the south of All Saints Church are the earth-covered remains of
a large walled enclosure, with a trackway running along its western side; the
buried remains of further enclosures extend onto the low-lying area to the
south. In the southern part of the large enclosure are the buried foundations
of a large rectangular stone building believed to represent one of two barns
recorded in 1650 in an area known as Hall Garth. The enclosure is associated
with Greetwell Hall, which was established in the late 16th century, probably
on the site of an earlier vicarage. The area of the hall, together with its
present gardens and outbuildings, is not known to include archaeological
remains of national importance and is totally excluded from the scheduling.
The church and churchyard of All Saints are in ecclesiastical use and are also
totally excluded from the scheduling.

The course of the village's principal hollow way continues on the north side
of the railway line, where it is represented by a linear depression extending
northwards into the area of the village's former open fields. On the south
and west sides of the hollow way is a series of levelled, ditched enclosures
representing further remains of house plots and animal enclosures. Some of
these features partly overlie the remains of medieval ridge and furrow
cultivation, indicating a later medieval or post-medieval expansion of the
village onto former fields. Adjacent to the north and east of the settlement
remains is an area of surviving ridge and furrow; further remains of ridge
and furrow extend to the north west and south west of Greetwell Hall. These
areas represent the only surviving remains of the formerly extensive open
fields which were established around the village in the medieval period.

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.
The Scarp and Vale Country local region is divided by the Lincoln Edge from
the broad Vale of Trent to the west. Chains of ancient village settlements,
some now deserted, are characteristic of the region. They occur where soils
change and springs appear. Densities of dispersed farmsteads are uniformly

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 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. 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 village at Greetwell survive well as a series of
earthworks and underlying buried deposits. As a result of detailed
archaeological survey and historical research they are quite well understood.
The remains of house plots and hollow ways will preserve valuable evidence for
domestic and economic activities on the site, giving an insight into the
lifestyle of the inhabitants and the way in which the settlement evolved
through the medieval, post-medieval and early modern periods, including the
establishment of gardens and a park. The association of the village remains
with those of its open fields preserves evidence for the economy of the
village and its place in the wider medieval landscape.

Source: Historic England

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