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Braunstonbury deserted medieval village, moat and fishpond

A Scheduled Monument in Braunston, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.2866 / 52°17'11"N

Longitude: -1.2194 / 1°13'9"W

OS Eastings: 453343.151205

OS Northings: 265675.001474

OS Grid: SP533656

Mapcode National: GBR 8RL.QHJ

Mapcode Global: VHCV4.TS6F

Entry Name: Braunstonbury deserted medieval village, moat and fishpond

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1967

Last Amended: 13 February 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017580

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13640

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Braunston

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Braunston All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


The monument consists of the deserted medieval village of Braunstonbury, which
incorporates both a moated site and a large manorial fishpond.
The earthworks of the deserted medieval village of Braunstonbury cover an area
measuring approximately 275m x 350m. Banks and ditches up to 1m high indicate
the location of hollow ways and tracks which ran through the village, and
raised rectangular areas beside the tracks are the sites of building
platforms. A hollow way 1m deep runs from the north east of the site towards
the south and two village greens lie beside this roadway. On the
western edge of the village, just to the south of the moat, the outline of a
small building with two rooms can be seen. A depression to the south of this
building platform is probably the site of a crew yard, for keeping animals.
The site lies in an area called Chapel Field and probably refers to a chapel
which lay close to the manor house.
The moated site covers an area about 75m x 60m and lies in the north west
corner of the deserted medieval village. The four sided moat island is of
irregular shape and is completely surrounded by a ditch. The moat may be the
site of the manor house of the village, or a homestead farm. To the north of
the moated site and the village, in an area called Fish Weir Field, is an
extremely large fishpond, of which the banks still stand up to 2m high. The
fishpond is about 420m long and 88m wide, and is connected to the moated site
by a water channel. At present a stream runs east from the River Leam between
the moat and the fishpond, and this originally supplied the water system for
the ponds and moat. The whole site is surrounded by the ridge and furrow field
system which completes the medieval landscape.
The village was a manor which belonged to Lilleshall Abbey in Shropshire, and
was still tenanted in 1421. At the Dissolution these lands were sold to the
Earl of Rutland. About 200m to the west of the village lies a second deserted
village of Wolfhampcote, Warks.
All buildings and made up roadways and paths on the site are excluded from the
scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets,
paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community
devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant component of the rural
landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages
provided some services to the local community and acted as the main focal
point of ecclesiastical, and often of manorial, administration within each
parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied
continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were
abandoned throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly
during the 14th and 15th centuries. As a result over 2000 deserted medieval
villages are recorded nationally. The reasons for desertion were varied but
often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land use such as
enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread
epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their abandonment
these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain
well-preserved archaeological deposits. Because they are a common and
long-lived monument type in most parts of England, they provide important
information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming
economy between the regions and through time.

Braunstonbury deserted medieval village is recorded as a site of manorial
status occupied until the Dissolution. The earthworks of the village are
extensive and are very well preserved. The remains therefore have considerable
archaeological potential relating to the construction and development of the
manor house, peasant dwellings and farm buildings.
The proximity of the second village at Wolfhampcote demonstrates the unusual
density of settlement, prior to desertion, in this area of Northamptonshire in
the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Allison, K J, Beresford, M W, Hurst, J G, The Deserted Villages of Northamptonshire, (1966), 36
Beresford, M W, St Joseph, J K S, Medieval England: An Aerial Survey, (1979), 126-7

Source: Historic England

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