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Langford medieval village, including moat and open field system, 450m north west of Elmtree Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Langford, Nottinghamshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1193 / 53°7'9"N

Longitude: -0.7736 / 0°46'24"W

OS Eastings: 482175.587688

OS Northings: 358711.071659

OS Grid: SK821587

Mapcode National: GBR CL3.H6X

Mapcode Global: WHFHB.2VXL

Entry Name: Langford medieval village, including moat and open field system, 450m north west of Elmtree Farm

Scheduled Date: 8 March 1956

Last Amended: 23 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017739

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29910

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Langford

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Langford

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham

Details

The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the abandoned areas
of Langford medieval village, a moat and a sample of the associated open field
system. The site is situated approximately 450m north west of Elmtree Farm on
a low, flat terrace to the east of The Fleet (an old course of the River
Trent) which runs along the length of the monument on the western side.
Langford is first documented in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it is recorded
that the village, at that time called Landeforde, was owned by Geoffrey de
Wirce. It is documented that the village had a church, resident priest, two
mills, a fishery and 100 acres of meadow in total valued at four pounds. The
population was in the region of 150 people. Early in the 12th century Henry I
granted the land to Nigel de Albany, an ancestor of the Mowbrays and from him
the Langford estate passed to the influential family of D'Auville. In the mid-
13th century Richard de Grey took possession of most of the village and this
part remained within the same family until the 15th century. Since 1316
another part of the village had been in the possession of the Pierpoint family
but in 1550 was purchased by Sir Francis Leek. Not long after this the whole
of the lordship was bought by the Earl of Shrewsbury.
A statement of church property dated to 1593 records that a Mr Philpott, the
munificent alderman of Newark, once held the parsonage of Langford but the
lord of the manor Sir Francis Leek quarrelled with him about tithes. The
result was that Leek made the property of so little value by `dispeopling the
town' that Philpott was glad to give in to his opponent. This event may
account for the small number of houses in the village today and the large
abandoned area between the church and the surviving village.
The monument survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains. The layout
of the village is based on at least four sunken trackways running east to
west, three of which terminate at The Fleet. The fourth trackway forms the
northern boundary of the monument and crosses the river to the west of the
church. This road, now called Holme Lane, is still in use and separates the
church from the main village earthworks. The other three trackways survive as
gullies between 3m and 5m wide and up to 2m deep. The name of the village
suggests that one or more of these sunken tracks would have led to a ford
across The Fleet. The southernmost trackway, located to the west of Fleet
Cottage, turns south at its eastern end but cannot be traced beyond the
southern boundary of Eliza Cottage and the northern boundary of the adjacent
property.
The second trackway to the north west of Little Farm Cottage leads to an
enclosure at its eastern end. The enclosure measures approximately 35m square
and is defined by low banks. A low bank runs from the north east corner of the
enclosure in a northerly direction, parallel to the existing road, for
approximately 175m. The north west corner of the enclosure marks the beginning
of a shallow gully which runs in a westerly direction for approximately 175m
until it meets with The Fleet. This gulley forms the southern arm of a moat
which surrounds a roughly square platform. The moat is not a discreet
monument; it is fed and drained by a network of gulleys which run from each
of the four corners in different directions, linking the moat to various other
archaeologically important earthwork features. The platform itself is
approximately 28m square with a narrow lip extending from the north west
corner. The enclosing ditches are of varying widths. The north and west arms
of the moat are wide and survive to a depth of approximately 1m. The northern
arm narrows towards the eastern end before linking to the eastern arm of the
moat. The northern arm continues west for approximately 25m beyond the western
arm of the moat before turning south for a short distance and narrowing in
width. Here it is linked to a narrow gulley which runs to the west until it
meets with The Fleet. The eastern arm of the moat continues north for
approximately 65m beyond the platform, leading to more village earthwork
features. Another narrow gully meets this approximately 25m north of the moat
and runs west again until it meets with The Fleet. It is possible the moat
relates to the fishery documented in the Domesday Book; the varying widths of
the ditch would have created ponds in which fish could be managed. Although
dry it is evident from the vegetation in the bottom of the ditches that there
is some sub surface waterlogging. This will have facilitated the preservation
of important environmental evidence. The central platform may have been the
site of a homestead. No remains are visible on the surface but evidence will
survive beneath the surface. The enclosures created by the various gullies
running off to the north, east and west are quite regular in size and form.
Most are roughly square, measuring between 28m and 35m with flat central
platforms. These are possibly the sites of other medieval homesteads.
The third sunken trackway, again running east to west, terminates at The Fleet
approximately 115m south of The Old Hall (Manor House on the Ordnance Survey
1:10000 map). At the east end, the northern bank of the trackway terminates
leaving a wide, open area. A gulley runs north from the north east corner of
this opening. The southern bank of the track turns south linking to the low
bank which runs parallel to the existing road. Earthworks along the road side
have been degraded by later quarrying but a rectangular platform is evident in
the north east corner of this field, south of the cattle grid. Various other
important archaeological features are visible between the sunken trackway and
the existing driveway leading to The Old Hall.
Approximately 125m north east of The Old Hall is a short stretch of a sunken
track running north west to south east. The northern end of the trackway is
truncated by Holme Lane but the line of the track continues north of Holme
Lane and provides access to the church. The southern end of the track widens
out into an open flat area bounded on the east by a large pond. East of the
pond and south of the open area are the well preserved remains of the open
field system of agriculture associated with the medieval village.
The remains of the open field system cover most of the area between the
driveway to The Old Hall and Holme Lane. The surviving remains are visible as
parts of six medieval furlongs (groups of lands) marked by headlands. The
cultivation strips form ridge and furrow. The ridge and furrow is curved in
the shape of an elongated reverse `S'. The remains survive to a height of
approximately 0.5m.
All modern fences, gates, metalled surfaces, telegraph poles and drains are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features are
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 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 included the parish church within
their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages included
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 about rural life in the
five or more centruies 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 balks. 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.
Moated sites consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water filled, partly
or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood
domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the platforms were used for
horticulture or as safe areas for the management of wildfowl. The majority of
moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences
with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a
practical military defence. Moated sites were built throughout the medieval
period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of
diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval
monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth
and status in the countryside.
The earthwork remains of the abandoned areas of Langford medieval settlement
are particularly well preserved and retain significant archaeological
deposits. The earthworks 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 and clues to
its abandonment. Taken as a whole Langford medieval settlement will add
greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the development of medieval
settlement in the area.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire: Volume I, (1906), 282
Leake, E G, History of Collingham, (1867), 82-96
Page, W (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire, (1906), 282

Source: Historic England

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