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Medieval settlement remains immediately north east and 210m south east of White House Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Melton Dorian, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.7554 / 52°45'19"N

Longitude: -0.9095 / 0°54'34"W

OS Eastings: 473693.311217

OS Northings: 318085.165066

OS Grid: SK736180

Mapcode National: GBR BP1.BVM

Mapcode Global: WHFK6.005H

Entry Name: Medieval settlement remains immediately north east and 210m south east of White House Farm

Scheduled Date: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018834

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30250

County: Leicestershire

Electoral Ward/Division: Melton Dorian

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Melton Mowbray Team

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the settlement of
Eye Kettleby in two areas of protection immediately north and 210m south east
of White House Farm.

In the first area of protection the remains take the form of a series of
earthworks and buried features located in relation to a north-south hollow way
originally forming the main thoroughfare through the medieval settlement. The
hollow way survives as a linear depression a maximum of 75m in length, 8m in
width and 3m in depth and has been truncated at its southern end by digging
for sand. A series of up to three agricultural enclosures and paddocks
abutting the western side of the hollow way are defined by faint linear banks
and scarps. A trackway leaves the western side of the hollow way at its
northern end and continues for approximately 40m before splitting into two.
The two trackways turn sharply southwards and gradually converge, forming
either side of a large paddock measuring 40m east to west and 80m north to
south. Immediately to the south east of the hollow way, on the easterly slope
overlooking the stream are a series of house platforms and associated garden
or agricultural enclosures covering an area approximately 180m by 80m. The
house platforms survive as sub-rectangular mounds and depressions. The
irregular enclosures surrounding them are defined by faint banks. The location
of a fording point over the stream to the east of the house platforms is
defined by a linear depression in the western bank approximately 10m in width,
with a corresponding depression on the opposite bank.

Immediately east of the stream are a complex series of water control features,
the largest of which are two fishponds defined by parallel sub-rectangular
waterlogged depressions. The eastern pond is up to 80m in length, 26m in width
and 1m in depth, with its long axis aligned north-south. It is linked at its
southern end to the western pond by a broad leat. The location of a further
pond immediately to the north east is defined by a waterlogged depression up
to 40m in length, 5m in width and 0.5m in depth. A narrow channel on the
northern side of this pond links it to an adjacent drainage ditch which is in
turn connected to the northern end of the eastern fishpond. The western pond
is approximately 120m in length and a maximum of 30m in width. A leat running
from its southern end towards the stream is defined by a curvilinear
depression approximately 60m in length and 6m in width. A second broader leat
ran from the western side of the pond, also linking it to the stream.

In the second area of protection the remains take the form of earthworks and
buried features defining the location of a large house platform, the trackway
leading to it and its surrounding gardens and paddocks. The platform consists
of a low square mound up to 25m across and 0.45m in height with traces of a
raised trackway or causeway joining it from the south. Linear banks
immediately to the east define a rectangular enclosure measuring approximately
50m east to west and 20m in width, which is abutted to the south by a second
enclosure within which are faint traces of medieval agriculture in the form of
ridge and furrow.

During the reign of Edward the Confessor the lordship of Eketilby or Eye
Kettleby, containing eight ploughlands and six acres of meadow, was held by
Leuric Fitz Leuin as part of the manor of Melton. Following the Norman
Conquest it was given to Goisfrid de Wirce, passing in turn to Nigell de
Albini and Roger de Mowbray before being granted to the latter's brother, Hamo
Beler by Henry II in about 1160. The manor was purchased by Sir John Digby in
the reign of Henry VII, and a clear reference to the fishponds is made in a
will dated to 1533 in which the latter bequeathed his manor house, park, mill
and ponds to his next male relative following the death of his son. The
reference to a park is significant because it is believed that the settlement
had been largely abandoned by this time as a result of enclosure. Poll tax
returns for 1379 list 41 inhabitants, but accounts for the hay subsidy of 1524
record that there was by then only one taxpayer.

Documentary sources also show the existence of a medieval chapel. The
antiquarian, John Nichols recorded in 1800 that the chapel had been standing
in 1569, that only one of its walls remained by 1750, and that it had
subsequently disappeared completely. A map dated to 1885 shows the area
immediately west of the stream to have been called Chapel Close.

Excavations in advance of development immediately to the west in 1996 located
an extensive area of Saxon settlement and a series of field boundaries
associated with the subsequent medieval hamlet.

All fences, bridges, feed troughs and the surfaces of all pathways are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is

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 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 vary 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. 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 building of fishponds began in the medieval period and peaked in the 12th
century. The difficulty of obtaining fresh meat in winter and the value placed
on fish as a food-source and for status may have been factors which favoured
the development of fishponds and which made them so valuable. The practice of
constructing fishponds declined after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in
the 16th century, although in some areas it continued into the 17th century.
Documentary sources provide a wealth of information about the way in which
fishponds were managed. The main species of fish kept were eel, tench,
pickerel, bream, perch and roach. Most fishponds were located close to
villages, manors or monasteries. Archaeologically fishponds are important for
their association with other classes of medieval monument and in providing
evidence of site economy.

The remains of the areas of abandoned medieval settlement and fishponds at Eye
Kettleby survive particularly well in the form of a series of substantial
earthworks. Both areas of protection have remained largely undisturbed with
the result that the preservation of buried deposits relating to the occupation
and use of the sites will be good. As a result of both the survival of
historical documentation relating to the settlement and archaeological survey
the remains are very well understood and provide a good opportunity for
understanding the mechanisms underlying its development, decline and eventual
abandonment. Waterlogging in the area of the fishponds suggests a high
potential for the survival of organic deposits which will contain important
information about the economy of the settlement and the contemporary
environment. Evidence from extensive excavations on the preceding Saxon
settlement immediately to the west provide an extremely rare opportunity to
study an apparently unbroken sequence of occupation on the site lasting over
1000 years.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-East Leicestershire, (1987)
Nichols, J, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicestershire, (1800)
Farnham, G.F., Leicestershire Medieval Village Notes, 1933,
Farnham, G.F., Leicestershire Medieval Village Notes, 1933,
Geonex, 1:10000, (1991)
Leicestershire County Council, 71 NW. AY,
Title: Ordnance Survey 25" Series
Source Date: 1885

Source: Historic England

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