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Brauncewell medieval village

A Scheduled Monument in Cranwell, Brauncewell and Byard's Leap, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.0604 / 53°3'37"N

Longitude: -0.4373 / 0°26'14"W

OS Eastings: 504826.107

OS Northings: 352597.6969

OS Grid: TF048525

Mapcode National: GBR FPZ.48F

Mapcode Global: WHGK0.8B1Q

Entry Name: Brauncewell medieval village

Scheduled Date: 11 June 1976

Last Amended: 29 September 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018397

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22740

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Cranwell, Brauncewell and Byard's Leap

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Leasingham St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the remains of the village of Brauncewell, a medieval
settlement established before 1086. It prospered during the 12th and 13th
centuries and did not begin to fall into decline until the middle of the 14th
century. Gradual depopulation followed, although there was some recovery in
the 16th century when the church was rebuilt; by the beginning of the 18th
century, however, only one family is recorded. A few houses remained standing
in the mid-19th century when parts of the church were again rebuilt. The
remains of the village include an extensive series of earthworks located
adjacent to the north, east and west of Manor Farm. Manor Farm itself is not
included in the scheduling.

The remains of the village of Brauncewell are situated at the bottom of a
shallow valley and are aligned with it approximately north east to south west.
The remains take the form of substantial earthworks, standing up to 0.8m in
height, which represent a planned settlement laid out along a single street.
In the eastern part of the monument the street survives as a hollow way
extending over 200m in length; on each side of it are the earth covered
remains of buildings, including stone foundations, representing houses and
outbuildings which were laid out along it in regular plots. Running at
right angles both north and south of the hollow way are a series of earth
covered banks, including stone walls, which represent plot boundaries. These
plots would have included enclosures for small animals and vegetable gardens,
and archaeological remains of these features will survive in the form of
buried deposits. The settlement is thought to have developed on a regular plan
in the 12th and 13th centuries.

In the northern part of the monument the plot boundaries extend across an
infilled linear depression, running roughly parallel with the hollow way,
representing a former course of the stream which now runs further to the
north. The diversion of the stream is believed to have taken place in the
medieval period after the village plots were laid out, in order to achieve
some regularity in plot size and in the provision of a water supply. The
remains of part of this later water channel and an associated pond are
included in the north western part of the scheduling.

In the western part of the monument, crossed by the present track leading to
Manor Farm, are further earthworks representing enclosures and other features
extending southward from the former stream bed. On the south side of the
track is an approximately square enclosure bounded by a stone wall about 0.5m
in height. Within this enclosure stands All Saints Church, a 16th century
Grade II Listed Building in the care of the Lincolnshire Old Churches Trust.
It is believed that this church stands on the site of an earlier medieval
church. The standing building is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath it, where buried remains of the earlier church will be located,
is included. The churchyard wall is surrounded by a ditch and bank and beyond
these features on the west side of the churchyard, are the remains of a linear
depression which may represent a further hollow way or track leading to the
church and to the buildings which formerly stood to the south west of it. This
group of buildings is represented by substantial earthworks, including buried
stone walls, standing up to 2m in height. Some of these buildings were still
standing in the 19th century and are thought to have included a vicarage.

The area to the south and east of the church, known in the 19th century as
Home Close, includes a series of small rectangular enclosures and a large oval
pond. Although they may overlie buried remains of the early settlement at
Brauncewell, these features are thought to have developed later in the
medieval period in association with the manor, including enclosures for
keeping animals and for horticulture, and to have been reused in the
post-medieval period as features of the manor gardens. In the southern part
of the monument are the remains of a linear pond and ditches which are thought
to be medieval in origin, separating the village enclosures from the adjacent
area of ridge and furrow cultivation, a sample of which is included in the

The 16th century church and all modern fences and gates are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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.
The Lincoln Edge local region comprises a long, narrow limestone ridge, flat-
topped and running north to south. Chains of medieval village settlement
sites, some deserted and some still occupied in whole or part, are found often
at intervals of about 1.5km. They line the foot of the scarp to the west and
the dip-slope to the east.

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 centuries following the Norman Conquest.

The remains of the medieval village of Brauncewell survive well in the form of
a substantial series of earthworks. The remains of houses and house plots
have been little altered since they were abandoned, with the result that
underlying archaeological deposits will survive relatively intact, and
evidence for domestic and agricultural activites on the site will therefore be
preserved. Artefactual and ecofactual remains will provide a valuable insight
into the lifestyle of the inhabitants and the appearance of the landscape in
which they lived, together with evidence for the establishment, development
and gradual depopulation of the settlement throughout the medieval and
post-medieval periods.

Source: Historic England

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