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Whimpton Moor medieval village and moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Ragnall, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 53.2557 / 53°15'20"N

Longitude: -0.8166 / 0°48'59"W

OS Eastings: 479047.918487

OS Northings: 373837.0062

OS Grid: SK790738

Mapcode National: GBR QZRS.0N

Mapcode Global: WHFGQ.FFDH

Entry Name: Whimpton Moor medieval village and moated site

Scheduled Date: 13 February 1953

Last Amended: 15 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017567

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29906

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Ragnall

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: East Drayton with Dunham-on-Trent, Darlton, Ragnall and Fledborough

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of Whimpton Moor
medieval village, including a moated site. The site straddles the A57 trunk
road, approximately 700m north of Farhill Farm, and is in two areas of
protection. Whimpton is first mentioned in 1086 in the Domesday Book where it
is recorded that `Wimentun' was one of four berewicks of the king`s manor of
Duneham (Dunham). A berewick was a settlement which was physically separate
from the village where the lord lived but was still governed as part of the
manorial estate.
That Whimpton survived long after Domesday is documented in various Pipe Rolls
(the annual records of the Exchequer) of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries.
These make reference to both land and inhabitants of the village. A decree of
1414 in the register of the chapter of Southwell states `there shall be an
able chaplain provided dwelling in the town of Dunham and Whimpton, and the
inhabitants of the same to be restored to their former situation'. This
obviously makes reference to the fact that the tenants of the village had been
moved from their homes on a previous occasion. This movement may mark the
beginning of the desertion of the village. The village was undoubtedly
deserted by 1547 when a post-mortem inquest of the property of Robert Newyll
lists Whimpton as nothing more than a field name.
The monument survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains. In the
field to the south of the A57 road, a well defined roadway runs east to
west across the centre of the monument following the ridge of the hill. The
width of the road varies from 23m in the centre of the monument to 7.5m at its
eastern and western extremes. Two sunken roads join the main sunken road and
run downslope to the north. That to the west skirts around a rectangular
platform and continues to the hedgerow bordering the second road, that to the
east, also skirts around a rectangular enclosure and continues north, east of
a pond (now dry). At this point the road has been truncated by the A57
road. Slight earthworks in the field to the north of the A57 indicate the
continuing line of this road to the east with a sharp turn before heading
north. The road terminates at the south west corner of a large rectangular
enclosure surrounded by a wide ditch. The rectangular platform of this
enclosure measures 38m east to west and 23m north to south. The surrounding
ditch 7.5m wide survives as a slight hollow in a currently ploughed field
north of Kipps Court (on Field Farm). This ditched enclosure is interpreted as
a moated homestead. Remains of structures will survive beneath the ground
surface on the platform.
In the south east corner of the southern area of protection to the south of
the east-west sunken road are a series of rectangular enclosures or tofts.
These are aligned north to south and are marked by low banks and ditches. Each
contains a small raised rectangular platform which mark the foundations of
medieval houses. The low banks defining the platforms are created by the
buried remains of walls. Other rectangular tofts with evidence of house
platforms are visible in the north west corner of the settlement with the
house platforms fronting on to the A57 road. It is possible that the western
sunken road turned west along the line of the A57 road to provide access to
these properties. This would also have continued the roughly symmetrical
layout of the village which is particularly apparent from aerial photographs.
To the north of the central road and between the two north-south sunken
roads are another series of rectilinear enclosures which are less regular in
shape. The largest measures approximately 61m east to west and 46m north to
south and faces on to the widest point of the east-west sunken roads. The
enclosure is marked by low banks on its north, east and west sides and, with
the exception of two sub-circular shaped hollows in the centre, which are
interpreted as ponds, no evidence of structural remains is visible. It is
suggested that this was an open area, possibly a green in the centre of the
village. This interpretation is substantiated by the fact that further tofts
lie to the north of it with evidence of house platforms adjacent to the green.
To the east of the green are two more enclosures. These are sub-square in
shape but again show evidence of house platforms adjacent to the main east-
west sunken road.
To the east of the western sunken road and at the junction with the main
east-west sunken road is a raised platform 36.5m in length and 21m wide. Its
northern face is steeply scarped and survives to a height of 1.5m above the
roadway. Further enclosures with possible house platforms are located in the
north east corner of the field but the precise layout of these is more
difficult to determine.
A number of irregular shaped hollows are visible around the monument. The
largest, a kidney shaped hollow, situated just south of the A57 road and to
the west of the eastern sunken road was recorded in 1907 as a pond and was
depicted on a plan of the earthworks as containing water (it is now dry).
Further hollows south of, but following the line of the A57 road were also
shown as ponds on the early plan but these were dry at the time of the survey.
A further two ponds are visible along the southern boundary and appear to be
attached to water management channels but these are overlain by ridge and
furrow. This indicates that more than one phase of occupation or at least
cultivation is represented on the site.
To the east, south and west of the monument are the well preserved remains of
part of the open field system. The surviving remains are visible as parts of
five medieval furlongs (groups of lands or cultivation strips) marked by
headlands. The cultivation strips collectively form ridge and furrow. The
ridge and furrow is curved in the shape of an elongated reverse `S'. This
shape developed over the years from the need to swing the plough team out at
the end of a strip to enable it to turn and to continue ploughing in the
opposite direction. The remains survive to a height of 0.5m.
All fences, gates, feeding troughs and modern metalled surfaces 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 last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Trent sub-Province of the Central Province, where
the broad Trent valley swings in a great arc across midland England. Underlain
by heavy clays, it is given variety by superficial glacial and alluvial
deposits. Although treated as a single sub-Province, it has many subtle
variations. Generally, it is characterised by a great number of villages and
hamlets which cluster thickly along scarp-foot and scarp-tail zones, locations
suitable for exploiting the contrasting terrains. Throughout the sub-Province
there are very low and extremely low densities of dispersed farmsteads, some
of which are ancient, but most of which are 18th-century and later movement of
farms out of earlier villages.

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 include the parish church
within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages
include 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 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 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 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. It is usually now
covered by the hedges or walls of subsequent field enclosure.
The earthwork remains of the medieval settlement of Whimpton Moor are
particularly well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits.
The earthworks and the aerial photographic evidence provide a clear picture
of the village layout and how it fitted within the wider agricultural
landscape. The historical documentation provides evidence of the status of the
settlement, how it was administered and clues to its desertion.
Taken as a whole the remains of the settlement of Whimpton Moor will add
greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the development of medieval
settlement in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Davies Pryce, T, Dobson, F W, An Ancient Village Site. Whimpton, Nottinghamshire, (1907), 139-144
Page, W (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire, (1906), 266
Davies Pryce, T, Dobson, F W, 'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in An Ancient Village Site. Whimpton, Nottinghamshire, , Vol. 1907, (1907), 139-144
155/1296/10a and 11a, Held in Nottinghamshire SMR, Whimpton, (1996)
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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