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Medieval settlement including a moated site and open field system, immediately north east and south of Hall Farm

A Scheduled Monument in West Markham, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 53.2441 / 53°14'38"N

Longitude: -0.9208 / 0°55'14"W

OS Eastings: 472116.621481

OS Northings: 372440.735732

OS Grid: SK721724

Mapcode National: GBR QZ0X.GS

Mapcode Global: WHFGN.TQQC

Entry Name: Medieval settlement including a moated site and open field system, immediately north east and south of Hall Farm

Scheduled Date: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018263

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29930

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: West Markham

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Markham Clinton (West Markham)

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the deserted areas
of West Markham medieval settlement, a moated site and a sample of the
associated open field system. The monument is interpreted as the manorial
centre of the medieval village and is in two areas of protection on a north
facing slope of the River Maun valley.
West Markham is first documented in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it is
recorded that the village, at that time called `Westmarcham', was owned by
Roger de Busli and held by his tenant, Claron. By 1780, an estate map and
terrier records that most of the village and its associated fields belonged to
the master, fellows and scholars of the College of Saint John the Evangelist
in the University of Cambridge. The college leased the land to the Duke of
Newcastle, the owner of the remainder of the village, although it was proposed
in the terrier that the duke's land would be given `in exchange to the
college'. The college continued to hold parts of the village into the late
20th century.
The parish of West Markham was, and continues to be, served by All Saints
Church which lies on the northern edge of the modern village. The church is
first mentioned in 1189 in a documented agreement between the church and the
chapel of Tuxford relating to tithes.
In 1824 a licence was granted to the vicar and church wardens of the parish of
West Markham to take down the church and to rebuild it on `a more convenient
and elevated situation'. The Duke of Newcastle, the patron of the vicarage and
the parish church of West Markham (then called Markham Clinton, the latter
being the family name of the dukes of Newcastle), at his own cost, built a new
church known as the `Mausoleum,' approximately 700m to the north west of All
Saints Church. The medieval church was never removed and in 1949 once again
became the parish church of West Markham. The Mausoleum became redundant.
All Saints medieval church remains in ecclesiastical use and is not included
in the scheduling. The Mausoleum church is also not included in the
The monument survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains to the
south of the church. Some of the surviving remains are most clearly visible in
aerial photographs where they show as cropmarks.
In the first area of protection in the centre of the village, a number of
interlocking ditches define a complex series of rectangular enclosures and
platforms. From the north east corner of the area of protection a wide, deep,
ditch-like feature runs in a south westerly direction. The ditch survives to a
depth of up to 2m, is slightly curved in plan and widens towards its northern
end. Here, the ditch aligns with the lane which runs along the west side of
the church. At its southern limit the ditch ends abruptly but is linked, via a
more narrow and shallow ditch, to other features lying to the south. The main
ditch is interpreted as a sunken trackway. Approximately halfway along its
length the ditch narrows to give the impression that it is divided into two,
but early aerial photographs indicate that this is probably the result of
relatively recent levelling.
The southern end of the trackway is linked to two large, rectangular
enclosures and a moated platform. The northernmost enclosure, which measures
approximately 35m by 30m, lies to the south west of the trackway and is
defined on all sides by a shallow ditch. The ditch is linked to the trackway
at its north east corner. To the south of this enclosure lies a clearly
defined rectangular platform which is surrounded by a moat and external bank.
The platform measures approximately 35m by 40m and retains evidence of
internal features. A rectangular feature, in the eastern half of the platform,
shows as a cropmark and is interpreted as the remains of a medieval building.
The moat is approximately 10m wide and survives to a depth of up to 1.5m. The
eastern arm of the moat extends beyond the northern arm and is linked by a
relatively narrow and shallow ditch to the eastern boundary ditch of the
northern enclosure and, subsequently, to the trackway. The eastern arm of the
moat is separated from the southern arm by a narrow causeway across the moat.
This would have provided access to the central platform and may have acted as
a divider to enable different arms of the moat to be managed as fishponds. The
relationship between the western and southern arm is more difficult to
determine because the yard of Hall Farm has encroached on this corner of the
moat and aerial photographic evidence indicates that some levelling of the
earthworks has taken place in this area of the monument in modern times. This
moated platform is interpreted as a homestead and probably represents the site
of the medieval manor house. A well lies to the east of the moated platform.
To the south of the moated site a second rectangular enclosure is defined by
low banks. Along the western edge of this area a wide gully extends to the
south before curving to the south east and terminating at the lane which runs
along the southern edge of the existing village. This is interpreted as
another sunken trackway.
More earthworks and cropmarks are evident to the east of the enclosures and
moated site and to the west of the northern trackway. These are less clearly
defined but suggest the existence of two more rectangular enclosures or
To the south of Hall Farm and the modern road leading to East Markham, in the
second area of protection, are the well preserved remains of the open field
system of agriculture associated with the medieval village. The surviving
remains are visible as part of a single furlong (a group of lands or
cultivation strips), which is aligned north to south and is 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 approximately 0.5m.
To the south of the ridge and furrow is evidence of two rectangular enclosures
(or tofts). These have been terraced into the natural slope of the land and
each are defined, on their eastern side, by large banks which survive to a
height of up to 0.75m. At their southern end the banks have been truncated by
the construction of modern farm buildings.
All modern fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these 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 Pennine Slope sub-Province of the Central Province,
which embraces the varied scarp and vale topography flanking the higher
portions of the southern Pennines, where narrow escarpments of limestone and
sandstone and softer shale vales give a distinct north-south grain to the
landscape. Dispersed settlement increases from extremely low to medium
densities in the south east of the sub-Province to high densities at the north
west. With the exception of Sherwood Forest, the region is well stocked with
nucleated settlements, some old but others the result of 18th- and 19th-
century industrial developments. Anglo-Saxon `wood' names are common among
placenames, and the area was well wooded in 1086.
The West Sherwood Forest local region is identified on the basis of few
nucleations and extremely low densities of dispersed settlements. A Royal
Forest by the 13th century, the name `shire-wood' suggests the long survival
of ancient woodland. The 19th-century pattern of great houses, parklands,
woodland blocks and open heath overlies older structures, including medieval
lodges and parks and specialist stock farms.

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.
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 and buried remains of the abandoned areas of West Markham
medieval settlement are particularly well preserved and retain significant
archaeological deposits. The earthworks and aerial photographic evidence
provide an indication of the village layout and its position in the wider
agricultural landscape. Deposits preserved in the silts of the ditches and
beneath the banks will provide important information relating to the local
environment during the medieval period. Taken as a whole the medieval
settlement of West Markham will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding
of the development of medieval settlement in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gilbert, D C, West Markham and the Church of All Saints
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire, (1910)
Neg. no. 7721, West Markham,
Neg. no. 94 155/4 C. Cox Cambridge, West Markham, (1994)
Title: Plan of an estate in Markham and Milnton belonging to the master
Source Date: 1780
Held at St Johns College Cambridge Un

Source: Historic England

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