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Medieval village of Hunton and field system

A Scheduled Monument in Hunton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3313 / 54°19'52"N

Longitude: -1.7075 / 1°42'26"W

OS Eastings: 419119.300135

OS Northings: 492903.282973

OS Grid: SE191929

Mapcode National: GBR JLJC.43

Mapcode Global: WHC6S.RD3C

Entry Name: Medieval village of Hunton and field system

Scheduled Date: 25 February 1998

Last Amended: 21 August 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018380

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29534

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Hunton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes the remains of the medieval village of Hunton. Included
in the scheduling are earthwork remains of building platforms, associated
yards and enclosures, tracks and hollow ways and a pair of fishponds. Also
included is a section of the medieval field system.
The medieval village is visible as a series of earthworks located on the top
and southern slope of a hillside to the north of the current village of
Hunton. The medieval village lies to the east of a street, now preserved as a
hollow way, which extends from the south east to north west across the centre
of the monument. A row of rectangular platforms extends east-west at the top
of the slope and represents the remains of medieval houses. A back lane runs
east to west at the rear of these properties. Further to the south are the
foundations of buildings visible as low platforms, mounds and small
enclosures. Associated with these earthworks and sometimes attached to them
are a series of larger enclosures interpreted as crofts or small allotments.
To the north of the village, on the top of a hill, are two large rectangular
fishponds seperated by a low bank. To the west of the hollow way, on more
level ground, are areas of ridge and furrow cultivation, forming discrete
blocks separated by balks and headlands. The medieval field system would
originally have been more extensive but changing patterns of landuse mean that
little now remains identifiable.
Little is known of the history of Hunton, except that it existed in the
medieval period and, in common with other settlements in England, became
deserted, although it is not known exactly when or why this occurred. It was
deserted by the 14th century and it is thought that the Black Death in 1349
and raids by the Scots earlier in the century were responsible.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all walls,
fences, gates, feeding troughs, concrete footings and telegraph poles; the
ground beneath these features is, however, 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 past 1500 years or more.
The Yorkshire Dales local region is broadly an extension of the lowlands into
the hill mass of the Pennines, but increasing environmental constraints have
ensured that each dale has developed particular and often wholly local
characteristics. The villages and hamlets on the valley side terraces of the
lower and middle dales appear to be of medieval foundation, while the
surrounding farmstead sites vary greatly in date, from early medieval to 19th

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 where 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 survive as visible remains as
well as below ground deposits. In the lowlands east of the Pennines, 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. The cultivation of these fields produced
long, wide ridges, and the resultant ridge and furrow where it survives is the
most obvious physical indication of the open field system. 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 landscape.
In addition to the field system at Hunton two fishponds also survive. A
fishpond was an artificial pool of slow moving water constructed to cultivate,
breed and store fish to provide a constant and sustainable supply of food.
The medieval village of Hunton and the remains of its field system are well
preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. The village is a
good example of its type which will add greatly to our knowledge and
understanding of medieval settlement in the region.

Source: Historic England


CUC CIB 24, (1979)

Source: Historic England

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