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Medieval settlement and early post-medieval garden earthworks around Barlow Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Barlow, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.7528 / 53°45'10"N

Longitude: -1.0249 / 1°1'29"W

OS Eastings: 464391.3005

OS Northings: 428934.5316

OS Grid: SE643289

Mapcode National: GBR PT81.XG

Mapcode Global: WHFD3.7X6X

Entry Name: Medieval settlement and early post-medieval garden earthworks around Barlow Hall

Scheduled Date: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018403

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30130

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Barlow

Built-Up Area: Barlow

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Brayton St Wilfrid

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of part of the medieval
settlement of Barlow to the north of the present Barlow Hall farmhouse,
together with the earthworks of the gardens. These were constructed for the
16th century Barlow Hall, which extended to the north, south and west of the
modern farmhouse. The monument is divided into two areas of protection.
Barlow was recorded as Berlai in the Domesday Book and was at that time part
of the same manor as Drax to the south east, lying within the Wapentake
(medieval administrative area) of Barkston Ash. The manor is thought to have
been held by the de Berley family, to which several medieval references are
known. These include a deed of land transfer in Drax from Henry de Berley in
c.1205, the temporary forfeiture of the manor to the crown in 1323 (following
Richard de Berely's part in a rebellion against Edward II) and a further land
transfer within Berley in 1380. The settlement was assessed for 40 shillings
for the 1334 Lay Subsidy (the same amount of tax as Tadcaster and four
shillings higher than the average for the Wapentake). By the 16th century
the manor was in the hands of the Twisleton family who built the Elizabethan
hall, the chapel opposite and laid out the surrounding gardens. In 1629 George
Twisleton was made a baronet but died without an heir. The manor then passed
to the Thompsons by marriage, who held it into the 19th century.
Running roughly parallel with, and about 35m to the south of Marsh Lane, is
a depression marking a former village street. Either side of this
depression there are a number of tofts, plots for houses and associated out
buildings, separated from each other by slight changes in ground level or by
banks or depressions marking boundaries. Each toft contains at least one
slightly raised area, typically 6m-8m across, marking the location of a
medieval peasant's house. At the west end of the trackway there is an 18m by
14m area surrounded by a low bank. The position and design of this small
enclosure is consistent with that of a pinfold, or animal pound. To the west
of this pound there is further evidence of early farming practices with a
section of broad, flat topped ridge and furrow with 14m wide ridges flanked by
6m wide depressions orientated north-south. To the south of the east end of
the trackway, just north of a still maintained but meandering drain, there is
a rectangular depression about 0.4m deep. This is identified as the silted
remains of a medieval pond, with a second such pond 40m to the west. To the
south of these ponds there are the much more substantial earthworks of the
Elizabethan gardens. To the east of the Barlow Hall farmhouse, which was built
in the 1980s, there is an irregular star shaped depression 30m-40m across
which shows a number of similarities to duck decoy ponds, which are artificial
ponds designed to attract wildfowl and aid their capture. To the west of the
modern farm house, cutting through earlier ridge and furrow, there is a `T'
shaped depression 0.4m deep with a small island at its northern end, at the
crossing of the `T'. This is a more formal ornamental pond which has a ramped
walkway ending at a 1.5m high prospect mound on its western side. A second
raised walkway lies just to the north which runs eastwards leading to the
western side of the star shaped pond. North of the `T' shaped pond, to the
north of the walkway, there is a rectangular area with a further bank on its
north side which is considered to be a small sunken garden. On the south side
of Barlow Hall farmyard there are further garden features. One of these is
an ornamental canal, typical of early post-medieval gardens. It is about 110m
long, 8m wide and 1.2m deep with brick revetments, slightly raised banks on
either side and a semicircular bay midway on its west side. At its south end,
it is linked by a broader, flat bottomed ditch which runs eastwards to a 10m
wide, 1m deep ditch which extends northwards, curving eastwards. To the east
of this, running parallel with and approximately 35m west of the road, there
is a slight, narrow ditch which is considered to be a shallow ha-ha, a
particular design of boundary often used in gardens. The site of the
Elizabethan hall, demolished in the early 1970s to make way for a small
bungalow, lies just to the east of this boundary. The foundations of the hall
are considered to survive under and around this modern house and are included
in the scheduling. The brick boundary wall next to the road has been patched
in modern times, but is considered to be mainly part of the original garden
boundary and is thus also included in the scheduling. Further garden
earthworks survive to the east of the road, mainly to the south and east of
the church. These include broad walkways and ramps together with depressions
of further ponds and garden areas all surviving as earthworks up to 0.5m high.
The church, which was also built by the Twisletons, would have also been part
of the overall design of the gardens. However, this is still in ecclesiastical
use and is thus not included in the scheduling.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are the modern
bungalow, all modern fences and walls, all stiles, gates and telegraph poles,
and all water troughs and the platforms that they stand, although the ground
beneath all 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.
This monument lies in the Humber-Tees sub-Province of the Central Province
which comprises a great fertile lowland, with many local variations caused by
slight differences in terrain, but generally dominated by market towns,
villages and hamlets. The dispersed farmsteads between these are mainly of
post-medieval date, created by movement out of the villages and onto newly
consolidated holdings following enclosure. Some, however, are more ancient
disposals, the result of manors, granges and other farmsteads being moved out
of villages in the Middle Ages; others have become isolated by the process of
village depopulation, which has had a substantial impact in the sub-Province.
The Vale of York local region is a rich agricultural lowland dominated by a
dense pattern of villages and hamlets founded in the Middle Ages, about one in
four of which have since been deserted. It contains low and very low densities
of dispersed settlements, some of which are isolated medieval moated manor
houses. The landscape was formerly dominated by communal townfields which were
mainly enclosed in the 18th century.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, generally 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 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.
Many early houses had gardens associated with them, and the major development
in gardening took place in the late medieval and early post-medieval periods
when the idea of the garden as a `pleasure ground' developed. Early gardens
take a variety of forms. Some involved significant water-management works to
create elaborate water-gardens which could include a series of ponds and even
ornamental canal systems. At other sites flower gardens were favoured, with
planting in elaborately shaped and often geometrically laid out beds. Planting
arrangements were often complemented with urns, statues and other garden
furniture. Such sites were often provided with raised walkways or prospect
mounds to provide vantage points from which the garden layout could be seen
and fully appreciated. Whilst gardens were probably a common accompaniment to
high status houses of the late medieval to early post-medieval period,
continued occupation and subsequent remodelling of gardens in response to
changing fashions means that early garden designs rarely survive undisturbed.
Gardens provide a valuable insight into contemporary aesthetics and views
about how the landscape could be modified to enhance the surroundings. Their
design often mirrors elements of the design of the associated house,
particularly following the symmetry of the buildings. In view of their rarity,
great variety of form, and importance for understanding high status houses and
their occupants, all surviving examples of an early date will be identified to
be of national importance.
The earthworks of the Elizabethan gardens at Barlow are very well preserved,
retaining a wide range of features with a large number of different types of
pond, taking advantage of the low lying nature of the land. The survival of
earthworks of part of the earlier medieval settlement of Barlow, which is
believed to have been shifted to make way for the gardens, adds additional
importance to the monument. Buried deposits, especially rubbish pits, will
provide valuable information about the life and economy of the medieval

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Morrell, W, The History of Selby, (1867), 320-3
SMR, 9343,

Source: Historic England

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