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Medieval settlement remains at Shillingthorpe Park

A Scheduled Monument in Braceborough and Wilsthorpe, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 52.6897 / 52°41'22"N

Longitude: -0.4152 / 0°24'54"W

OS Eastings: 507213.628099

OS Northings: 311400.075697

OS Grid: TF072114

Mapcode National: GBR FVG.9V5

Mapcode Global: WHGLR.LNHC

Entry Name: Medieval settlement remains at Shillingthorpe Park

Scheduled Date: 27 October 1967

Last Amended: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018685

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22745

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Braceborough and Wilsthorpe

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Braceborough St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the remains of Shillingthorpe, a small medieval
settlement first recorded in the early 14th century and largely deserted by
the middle of the 16th century. The remains take the form of a series of
earthworks and buried deposits including associated trackways and ridge and
furrow cultivation

The monument is situated on a south-facing slope on the north bank of the West
Glen River. Near the centre of the monument, where the slope begins to level
out, a series of low earthworks represent the remains of a small group of
rectangular house plots aligned in a short east-west row. In the low-lying
area immediately to the south of these features are the remains of a
rectangular moated enclosure measuring approximately 45m by 55m; the remains
of three further ditched enclosures, each approximately 25m by 30m, lie to the
west of it.

The medieval settlement is adjoined on the west and north by its associated
fields. In the western part of the monument are the earthwork remains of ridge
and furrow cultivation, representing the surviving parts of two furlongs
separated by a broad hollow way which runs east-west towards the house plots.
On the east side of the north western furlong is a further hollow way, running
north-south, separating it from another furlong which adjoins the house plots
on the north side. In the northern part of the monument are two surviving
parts of another furlong. Along the eastern edge of the monument is a linear
bank and ditch representing a field boundary which formerly separated these
surviving areas of ridge and furrow cultivation from further furlongs to the
east, now levelled.

Shillingthorpe was deserted in the early post-medieval period and the area of
the settlement, together with adjacent fields, was later emparked in
connection with the construction of Shillingthorpe Hall immediately to the
north, now demolished. At that time a raised carriageway was constructed
across the eastern part of the monument, roughly parallel with the earlier
field boundary; a short track, also raised, which crosses the field boundary
about halfway along the eastern edge of the monument, formerly gave access to
a pair of cottages which stood to the east of it but have now been destroyed.
Also of later date is a trackway which runs north-westward across the medieval
fields towards the grounds of the hall.

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 East Midlands sub-Province of the Central Province,
an area characterised in the Middle Ages by large numbers of nucleated
settlements. The sites of many of these settlements are now occupied by modern
villages, but others have been partially or wholly deserted and are marked by
earthwork remains. Most of these settlements were first documented in the 11th
century, in Domesday Book. The southern part of the sub-Province has greater
variety of settlement, with dispersed farmsteads and hamlets intermixed with
the villages. Whilst some of the dispersed settlements are post-medieval,
others may represent much older farming landscapes.
The Soar Valley and Nene Plateau local region comprises the low hill country
of the Soar Valley and, to the south east, a low plateau dissected by the
tributaries of the Nene and Welland. Nucleated villages and hamlets dominate
the region, but gaps are found within the pattern in Rockingham Forest, in
Rutland and in High Leicestershire where they are linked to the location of
woodland in and before the 11th century.

Medieval settlements 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
paddocks. As the remains of organised agricultural communities, such
settlements were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life in central
England, 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 settlements 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, which were in turn
grouped into large open fields. Well preserved ridge and furrow, especially
in its original context adjacent to settlement earthworks, is both an
important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive
contribution to the character of the historic landscape.

The remains of the medieval settlement of Shillingthorpe and its open field
system survive well in the form of earthworks and buried deposits. The
remains of house plots and enclosures will preserve valuable evidence for
domestic and economic activities on the site, giving an insight into the
lifestyle of the inhabitants. As a result of the survival of associated
cultivation remains, evidence is also preserved for the interrelationship
between the settlement and its open field system, and their functioning as a
unit in the wider medieval landscape.

Source: Historic England

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