Ancient Monuments

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Nucleated medieval settlement east of Waldridge Manor

A Scheduled Monument in Dinton-with-Ford and Upton, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.7585 / 51°45'30"N

Longitude: -0.8641 / 0°51'50"W

OS Eastings: 478493.525501

OS Northings: 207254.050603

OS Grid: SP784072

Mapcode National: GBR C23.QBL

Mapcode Global: VHDVH.Z218

Entry Name: Nucleated medieval settlement east of Waldridge Manor

Scheduled Date: 6 April 1956

Last Amended: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017520

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29414

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: Dinton-with-Ford and Upton

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Stone with Dinton and Hartwell

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the buried and visible remains of a small medieval
village situated within the Vale of Aylesbury between the modern villages
Owlswick and Ford, some 4km to the north west of Princes Risborough and the
Chiltern Escarpment.

The settlement earthworks are largely contained within a pasture of
approximately 14ha located between Waldridge Manor and the Ford to Meadle road
to the east. The central feature of the settlement is the main street, a broad
hollow way which traverses the gentle north facing slope across the centre of
the field before turning to the south and running parallel with Stockwell
Lane. The area contained within the angle of the hollow way (some 5.5ha)
is divided into an irregular pattern of rectangular enclosures separated by
shallow ditches and worn trackways. The majority of these enclosures follow a
north east-south west alignment and are considered to represent stock
enclosures and paddocks, although the site of at least one former building is
marked by a more pronounced enclosure set within the bend in the hollow way.
The ditch, or moat, surrounding this small enclosure measures up to 8m in
width and 1.8m in depth, and the slightly raised and embanked interior
contains minor undulations believed to indicate the presence of buried
structural remains. Other buildings may be represented by five or six smaller
and less distinct enclosures and terraces arranged along the northern side of
the main hollow way to the south of the moated site, although evidence for
habitation is more clearly defined on the opposite side of this street. Four
crofts (enclosures which contained buildings, working areas and paddocks) can
be identified on this side, the structures represented by low platforms
flanking the street frontage.

Low undulations, representing the continuation of the settlement area, can be
identified to the south of the main pasture, within the narrow area of
improved grassland to either side of the driveway to Waldridge Manor. This
however, appears to coincide with the southern limit of habitation, as aerial
photography has shown only evidence of the medieval open field system
continuing southwards in the presently cultivated fields. From the air, this
system, a patchwork of furlongs of ridge and furrow cultivation, can also be
identified extending north east and south east from the settlement site, and a
partial furlong (not included in the scheduling) remains visible on the ground
to the north west. A small area of surviving ridge and furrow in the pasture
to the north east of the hollow way is of particular interest and is included
in the scheduling. The earthworks in this area are thought to be a remnant
from an early furlong, which aerial photography has shown to have been
isolated by the final development of the field pattern to the north. The
denuded appearance of cultivation earthworks in this area may have resulted
from the conversion to pasture during the lifetime of the settlement, and this
possibility is supported by traces of enclosures superimposed over the pattern
of ridges, or lands.

The settlement is poorly documented, although the history of the manor to
which it was attached is better recorded. The manor of Waldridge is known to
have been held by two sokemen (free tenants) prior to the Norman Conquest, one
of whom owed allegiance to Alveva, the sister of Earl Harold. After the
Conquest the land was granted to the Bishop of Bayeux, and held throughout the
medieval period by a number of under tenants, beginning with the bishop's
steward and continuing under the later overlordship of the Munchesney family
and the Earls of Pembroke.

The date and cause of the settlement's demise is similarly obscure, although
it may have been related to the construction of Upper Waldridge Farm (now
Waldridge Manor) in the early 17th century. By the time William Serjeant died
- seised of the capital messuage (the principal dwelling of the manor) in 1615
the settlement may have already declined, perhaps as a result of the expansion
of sheep farming which caused depopulation in many other Aylesbury Vale
settlements during the previous century. The last (and only) record of
property rents from the manorial lands dates from 1622.

All fences, gates, horse jumps and water troughs 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 site of the medieval village near Waldridge Manor is clearly defined by an
area of earthworks in which evidence for the nature of the settlement remains
very well preserved. The crofts and building platforms will contain buried
evidence for houses, barns and other structures, accompanied by a range of
features such a boundaries, refuse pits and drainage channels. Artefacts found
in association with these features will provide insights into the date and
duration of occupation, the lifestyle of the inhabitants and the economy of
the settlement. Environmental evidence may also be recovered, illustrating the
appearance of the landscape in which the settlement was established and
providing further information about its agricultural regime.

The South Midlands local region is large, and capable of further subdivision.
Strongly banded from south west to north east, it comprises a broad succession
of clay vales and limestone or marlstone ridges, complicated by local drifts
which create many subtle variations in terrain. The region is in general
dominated by nucleated villages of medieval origin, with isolated farmsteads,
mostly of post-medieval date, set in the spaces between them. Depopulated
village sites are common, and moated sites are present on the claylands.

Many modern villages in the local region have medieval origins, although in
most cases later development has obscured much of the archaeological evidence
for earlier settlement. Depopulated examples, such as that to the east of
Waldridge Manor, provide valuable opportunities to study the nature of these
earlier communities and, in areas such as the Vale of Aylesbury, where the
abandoned settlements are comparatively common, opportunities to examine and
compare the reasons for their failure.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beresford, M, Lost Villages of England, (1983), 342
Beresford, MW, Hurst, JG, Deserted Medieval Villages , (1971), 184
Clinch, G, The Victoria History of the County of Buckinghamshire, (1908), 277-8
Clinch, G, The Victoria History of the County of Buckinghamshire, (1908), 277-78
Lipscomb, , History and Topography of Bucks, (1847), 166
AM7 Bucks Monument 70, Deserted Village (site of) near Upper Waldridge Farm, (1978)
CAO's comments based on CUCAP APs, Farley, M, 0327, (1975)
Oblique monochrome, CUCAP, BSC-152, (1974)
Oblique monochrome, CUCAP, BSC-152, (1975)
Oblique monochrome, St Joseph, J K S (CUCAP), NY 55-59, (1955)
Oblique monochrome, St Joseph, J K S (CUCAP), PA 56, (1956)
Oblique monochrome, St Joseph, J. K. S., NY 55-59, (1954)
Oblique monochrome, St Joseph, J. K. S., PA-56, (1955)
Ordnance Survey surveyor's report - no plan, BRS, SP 70 NE 1, (1970)
RCHME, Inventory of the Historic Monuments in Buckinghamshire, (1912)
RCHME, Inventory of the Historic Monuments in Buckinghamshire, (1912)
sketch based on AP info & fieldwork, Went, D, SM:29414 Nucleated medieval settlement east of Waldridge Manor, (1997)
SMR: records of site visits, Pike, A, 0327 (House platforms, Medieval village, moated site, pottery), (1978)
Waldridge (Buckinghamshire 642/59), Wrathmell, S, Monuments Protection Programme Database (Medieval Settlements), Buckinghamshire, (1995)
Wrathmell, S, Class Definition for Medieval Dispersed Settlements, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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