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Thorpe in the Glebe medieval settlement, including church site and open field system

A Scheduled Monument in Thorpe in the Glebe, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 52.8249 / 52°49'29"N

Longitude: -1.0999 / 1°5'59"W

OS Eastings: 460748.782767

OS Northings: 325637.110506

OS Grid: SK607256

Mapcode National: GBR 9LH.YJ4

Mapcode Global: WHFJQ.28J7

Entry Name: Thorpe in the Glebe medieval settlement, including church site and open field system

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1969

Last Amended: 23 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017743

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29917

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Thorpe in the Glebe

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the medieval
settlement of Thorpe in the Glebe. The monument is situated on a ridge running
south east to north west approximately 80m above sea level with the ground
falling away to the north and south. The earthworks surround Church Site Farm
which is a Listed Grade II building.
Thorpe in the Glebe is first documented in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it
is recorded that `Torp' was in the ownership of the King and Roger de Busli.
The total value of the land was given as four shillings. The largest part of
the village, which was owned by the King, was a berewick (settlement which was
physically separate from the village where the lord lived but was still
governed as part of the manorial estate) of Upper Broughton. Towards the end
of the 11th century the King granted his part of the land to Hugh de
Avranches, Earl of Chester and it remained part of the Honour of Chester until
the early 13th century, when a break in the male lineage resulted in the land
being assigned to Hugh de Aubigny, Earl of Arundel. Roger de Busli granted his
portion of the land to his knight Roger de Luvetot and it remained within his
family until the middle of the 13th century. William de Luvetot, the third
generation of the family in England, was the founder of Worksop Priory in 1120
and as a direct result of his grants to the priory Thorpe became a parish. In
1291 the church was valued at six pounds, thirteen shillings and four pennies.
By 1310, and for the first time in its history, Thorpe had one major landowner
and a single manor under the Mowbray, later Dukes of Norfolk. Tax returns of
1333/4 show the village was small and the parish not very wealthy. The Darley
family, who were by this time the tenant lords of the manor, were the main tax
payers within the village, contributing 38% of the total. It was around
this time that the village became known as Thorpe in the Clottes or Glebe.
Clottes and glebe both mean `clods' which is probably a reference to the poor
boulder clay soils of the parish.
In 1349 the Black Death took its toll on what was already a small village with
40% of the population falling victim. John de Darley died between 1348
and 1352 and after his death the manor was once again split into two. Half
went to his daughter Margaret and the other half to a Nicholas Darley.
Margaret married Robert Armstrong and by 1400 there were two major estates,
the Armstrongs and the Darleys, the latter of which were resident at Thorpe
In 1442 a decision to enclose and convert the Armstrong's land to sheep
rearing was taken. The land was rented to a husbandmen William Repton at a
rent of forty-six shillings and eight pennies. The remaining land was
converted to enclosure in 1491 and by the early 16th century the Armstrong
family became directly involved as flock masters and ceased to lease out
Thorpe. On the evidence of timbers dated to 1535 it is possible that Church
Site Farm was built by the Armstrong family at this time. At neither stage of
enclosure is there mention of depopulation, which would suggest that the
village was already deserted; certainly by the middle of the 17th century all
that remained of the village was a single house and the church.
The monument survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains. The
village is laid out along a main street with enclosures or tofts along both
sides. The street, aligned north west to south east, is evident as a broad
gully measuring between 10m and 20m wide and can be traced for 430m. The line
of the street is now marked by a hedgerow. A sunken track at the back of the
enclosures defines the northern edge of the settlement. This runs almost
parallel to the main street and would have provided a back lane for access to
both the enclosures and the fields to the north. Behind some of the enclosures
on the southern side of the main street is another sunken track. From the west
this track runs eastwards for approximately 50m before it is truncated by a
trackway running north to south. At its northern end this trackway links with
the main street and, although it is now truncated, appears to have originally
extended north of the main street to the back lane. From the main street the
trackway runs south for 110m before turning east for approximately 50m. Here
it is once again truncated by a north to south aligned trackway which runs
from the main street south to the stream which marks the southern boundary of
the monument. Another track running east to west is evident just west of
Church Site Farm and, although it is not visible within the farm complex, it
re-emerges in the south east corner of the monument.
A total of 23 enclosures line both sides of the main street and are defined by
banks which survive up to 1m in height. The size of the enclosures vary from
approximately 20m by 30m to 40m by 40m but the form and layout of the internal
features are very similar in the majority of cases, particularly in those
north of the main street. Each enclosure contains at least one raised platform
for a building or croft and a sunken yard which, taken as a whole, represents
a small homestead. Eleven enclosures are evident on the north side of the main
street, the largest of which is situated at the eastern end. This enclosure is
separated from the road by a bank which also shelters the west and east sides.
Within the enclosure are two rectangular platforms, the largest measuring
approximately 30m by 18m adjacent to the west bank of the enclosure and the
smaller one approximately 10m by 20m adjacent to the east bank. Between these
is a sunken yard which opens on to the back lane. The smallest enclosure,
towards the west end of the street, measures only 20m by 30m and contains two
small platforms. Both platforms are less than 10m wide, the western one is
approximately 12m long and the eastern one about 17m long. In general, the
platforms stand 0.5m above the floor level of the yard and the enclosing banks
0.5m above the platforms.
The fourth enclosure in from the eastern end of the monument is unusual in
form. A single, central platform measuring 12m by 16m is associated with two
sunken yards, one to the west opening northwards and the other to the east
opening on to the main village street to the south. North of this enclosure is
a bank 65m long running east to west. The bank stands to a height of 1.5m
above the level of the sunken road. At its western end the bank joins another
bank running north to south. This bank forms the eastern boundary of another
enclosure but extends beyond the enclosure to the south, crossing the main
street until it terminates at a deep pond. In effect this blocks the main
village street and implies that either one end of the village had gone out of
use by the time the bank was constructed or that the main route through the
village was diverted, perhaps to one of the back lanes.
To the south of the main street the layout of the enclosures is less regular
and the internal features more varied in form and size. The westernmost
enclosure measures approximately 30m by 16m with small platforms to the east
and west and a sunken yard opening on to the main street. To the south of this
enclosure is a large platform measuring 30m by 35m which reaches the sunken
track to the south. A narrow gully partly separates this from the next
enclosure to the east where a pond and a slight, oval depression are situated.
These are believed to be post-medieval in date. The next enclosure to the east
measures approximately 90m in length and 45m wide and is bounded on all sides
by sunken tracks. This is divided into two long, narrow enclosures with a
shared sunken yard to the north where two small rectangular platforms front on
to the main street. Another square platform 15m by 15m is located in the south
east corner.
East of the north to south trackway is another long narrow enclosure with a
sunken area at the northern end and another larger hollow at the southern
end. The northern hollow may be the result of post-medieval quarrying but the
southern hollow appears to be part of the original enclosure and may
represent a pond. To the east of this enclosure is a large sunken area
measuring approximately 40m by 25m which has in each of its four corners a
rectangular platform. The two platforms to the north front onto the main
village street; the two to the south are served by another sunken track which
runs east to west. This track begins in the south west corner of the enclosure
and runs eastwards for approximately 65m before it is truncated by the
boundary fence of Church Site Farm. About half way along its length another
track joins it running south for approximately 48m before turning east for
another 20m where it is again truncated by the boundary fence of the farm. To
the east of the boundary fence another platform is defined by a low bank but
its internal characteristics are difficult to determine. Approximately 75m
north of this enclosure and abutting the main village street is a large raised
enclosure which stands about 1.5m above the street level. In the centre of
this enclosure is a clearly defined rectangular platform which stands about
0.5m higher still. This is the site of the parish church and churchyard which
was still in use in 1730, but is shown in a sketch to have been in ruins by
1790. Human bone has been recovered from the southern banks of the churchyard
enclosure. To the east of Church Site Farm and south of the main street are
three more enclosures. These have been degraded slightly by modern land use
but appear in form to be similar to those north of the main street with two
platforms either side of a sunken yard.
To the north and south of the main village earthworks are the well preserved
remains of part of the open field system.
Modern fences and metalled surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath these fratures is included.
The modern Church Site Farm and its yards and buildings is totally excluded
from the scheduling.

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 about 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 deserted medieval settlement of Thorpe in the
Glebe are particularly well preserved and retain significant archaeological
deposits. The earthworks and archaeological survey evidence provide a clear
picture of the village layout and how it fitted within the wider agricultural
landscape. The extensive historical documentation provides evidence of the
status of the settlement, how it was administered and ultimately clues to its
desertion. Taken as a whole, the deserted settlement of Thorpe in the Glebe
will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the development of
medieval settlement in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire, (1910), 253-265
Throsby, J, Thorotons History of Nottinghamshire, (1797), 73-76
Cameron, A, OBrien, C, 'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in Deserted Medieval Village Of Thorpe In The Glebe, Nottinghamshire, (1981), 56-67
Cameron, A, OBrien, C, 'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in Deserted Medieval Village Of Thorpe In The Glebe, Nottinghamshire, (1981), 56-67
Information from Occupier-Mr Scott, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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