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Medieval farmstead and field system, 530m south east of The Grange

A Scheduled Monument in Linton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0576 / 54°3'27"N

Longitude: -1.997 / 1°59'49"W

OS Eastings: 400291.269172

OS Northings: 462402.123049

OS Grid: SE002624

Mapcode National: GBR GPHJ.F7

Mapcode Global: WHB6W.988Q

Entry Name: Medieval farmstead and field system, 530m south east of The Grange

Scheduled Date: 3 April 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019312

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31366

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Linton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of an early medieval
farmstead and a sample of the adjacent medieval field systems. It is located
in undulating land to the south of the River Wharfe, 1km east of the village
of Linton. In the medieval period this area of the Dales supported a number of
nucleated settlements, but the wider landscape demonstrates a dispersed
pattern of small farmsteads and hamlets.
The remains of the farmstead survive as substantial earthworks up to 1m high,
situated on a north facing slope in the north eastern area of the monument.
The farmstead took the form of an irregular grouping of buildings with
associated yards and enclosures, some located on terraces cut into the slope.
It extends over an area approximately 170m east to west by 140m north to
south. At the top of the slope there are two east-west aligned level platforms
measuring up to 20m by 6m which would have supported wooden buildings. A
similar building platform lies within the north east of the farmstead. The
remains of an 18th century field wall extends north-south across the centre of
the farmstead; this stands on the top of an earlier stone bank. Near the
southern end of this bank there are the earthwork remains of two rectangular
stone-footed buildings measuring approximately 3m by 6m which are aligned
north-south. These lie to the west of the bank so that it forms their eastern
walls. At least two more substantial earth and stone banks also extend north-
south. The space between these banks is subdivided by slighter banks extending
east-west, which thereby divide the ground immediately around the farmstead
buildings into large enclosures. To the west of the farmstead there is a
further set of prominent banked enclosures built on terraces. The banks are up
to 0.75m high and 2m wide and the enclosures measure up to 20m by 10m. The
eastern side of the farmstead is formed by a large earthen bank 5m wide and
1.5m high which also extends 150m to the south.
The adjacent villages of Linton and Thorpe were both in existence by the time
of the Domesday Survey of 1086. The farmstead lay within the medieval township
of Linton. The form of the buildings on the site, particularly the indication
of long narrow timber buildings, is similar to known Viking period farmsteads
in the Dales and suggests that the settlement may have originated at this
time, and thus well before Domesday. Fragments of 10th century sculptured
stones in the nearby church at Burnsall indicate that the area was certainly
settled at this time. Post-medieval activity on the farmstead is indicated by
a number of small stone quarries and associated spoil heaps. The fields to the
south and west of the farmstead retain significant earthwork remains of a
medieval field system associated with the township of Linton.
Only a sample of well preserved field system remains are included in the
monument to preserve their relationship to the farmstead. The field system
includes wide terraces which are constructed on the slope to provide level
ground. There is a prominent series of such terraces up to 8m wide extending
east-west in the southern area of the monument and some smaller north-south
aligned examples further to the north. Elsewhere, the field system includes
large blocks of parallel linear earthworks known as ridge and furrow which are
subdivided by headlands and balks. Analysis of the alignment and form of the
earthworks shows different stages of construction which represent the
development of the field system over time. In common with other parts of the
Dales the medieval field system seems to overlie an earlier prehistoric
system. The latter is known as a co-axial system because the main fields were
defined by parallel banks which extend for great distances across the
landscape. The medieval system is overlain and in places obscured by the post-
medieval enclosure fields which dominate the landscape today.
Some of the post-medieval walls which form the enclosure landscape incorporate
earlier boundaries in their construction and, therefore, the foundations of
the walls are included in the scheduling.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these include all
gates, fences, tree guards and the posts and stays for overhead powerlines,
although the ground beneath these features is included. The foundations of the
field walls are included in the monument, but not the walling above.

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
evolved gradually during the past 1500 years or more.
The Craven Block local region, including the Askrigg Block, encompasses the
high moorlands south of Stainmore. Away from the `specialist nucleations' of
post-medieval date (the clusters of houses associated with mining and the
railways), dispersed settlement includes both seasonal and permanent
farmsteads, as well as specialist sheep and cattle ranches. The latter were
normally outlying dependencies of larger settlements or estate centres located
in adjacent regions. In these upland environments, dating settlements can be

Farmsteads, normally occupied by only one or two families and comprising small
groups of buildings with attached yards, gardens and enclosures, were a
characteristic feature of the medieval rural landscape. They occur throughout
the country, the intensity of their distribution determined by local
topography and the nature of the agricultural system prevalent within the
region. In some areas of dispersed settlement they were the predominant
settlement form; elsewhere they existed alongside, or were components of more
nucleated settlement patterns. The sites of many farmsteads have been
occupied down to the present day but others were abandoned as a result of, for
example, declining economic viability, enclosure or emparkment, or epidemics
like the Black Death. Farmsteads are a common and long-lived monument type;
the archaeological deposits on those which were abandoned are often well-
preserved and provide important information on regional and national
settlement patterns and farming economies, and on changes in these through
In the medieval period there was a communal system of agriculture based on
large, unenclosed open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into
strips(known as landes) 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 landes were laid out in groups known as furlongs defined by terminal
headlands at the plough turning-points and lateral grass balks. Furlongs were
in turn grouped into large open fields. Well-preserved ridge and furrow,
especially in its original context adjacent to village and farmstead
earthworks, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian
life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the historic
landscape. It is usually now covered by the hedges or walls of subsequent
field enclosure. Coaxial field systems are a form of land management
introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700BC). They form elaborate complexes
of fields and field boundaries. They consist of simple linear stone banks
used to mark out discrete territories, some of which can be many kilometres in
extent. Their relationship with other monument types provide important
information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and
farming practices amongst communities. They show considerable longevity as a
monument type, sometimes surviving as part of medieval and later field
patterns. Coaxial field systems are also known to date from the early medieval
period and follow broadly the same pattern as their prehistoric antecedents.
The remains of the farmstead and adjacent field system 530m south east of The
Grange survive well and significant archaeological evidence is preserved. The
possible early date for the farmstead is particularly significant. The remains
provide important scope for the study of early agriculture and settlement
in the Dales and the impact of such development of the landscape into the
medieval period and beyond.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Moorhouse, , Project research design, (1996)
ANY 314/8, (1987)
Letter to MPP Archaeologist, Cale K, Archaeological watching brief Linton to Burnsall O/H line, (2000)
Moorhouse S, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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