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Stock medieval settlement and part of its associated medieval open field system

A Scheduled Monument in Bracewell and Brogden, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.9357 / 53°56'8"N

Longitude: -2.2031 / 2°12'11"W

OS Eastings: 386763.076869

OS Northings: 448862.794573

OS Grid: SD867488

Mapcode National: GBR FQ1X.TX

Mapcode Global: WHB7C.4B5N

Entry Name: Stock medieval settlement and part of its associated medieval open field system

Scheduled Date: 15 October 1980

Last Amended: 14 March 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020367

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32843

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Bracewell and Brogden

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Stock medieval
settlement together with part of its associated medieval open field system.
The settlement is located on undulating ground north east of Stock Beck, while
the field system spreads over Hawber Hill to the south of the village. The
monument has been identified by a combination of field survey and aerial
photography, the latter of which highlights crop marks indicative of buried
archaeological features. Although the date of the first settlement at Stock is
unknown its abandonment is thought to have coincided with the onset of
climatic deterioration and the Black Death during the 14th century. The plan
at Stock is unusual in that it does not exhibit a defined form, such as two
rows of houses facing onto a village green as is common in many post-Conquest
villages in north west England. Instead the remains at Stock appear to
represent a less structured and more piecemeal development. However, Stock
still contains many features familiar to medieval villages, including house
platforms (or tofts), associated allotments (or crofts), enclosures or
paddocks, hollow ways, wells, and a communal medieval open field system.

To the west of Stock House are the earthwork remains of a street or hollow way
flanked by three house platforms with crofts and numerous small enclosures of
various sizes frequently separated by narrow hollow ways. North of Stock House
barn and sheep shed there is a sub-rectangular enclosure containing the
earthwork remains of a house platform and croft in its northern corner. To the
east of this enclosure, adjacent to a sinuous hollow way, are a group of
earthworks cut into an artificial bank which have been interpreted as the
remains of industrial features associated with lime burning. To the west of
the sub-rectangular enclosure, aerial photographs show crop marks representing
the buried remains of additional features interpreted as enclosures, some
containing traces of small crofts and/or house platforms. A horseshoe-shaped
earthwork considered to represent the buried remains of a kiln also lies close
by. A short distance to the south, and immediately to the north of the
footpath to Bracewell, are a group of earthworks cut into the hillside which
are also interpreted as originally having an industrial function - possibly
further remains of kilns associated with lime burning. Further south, between
the path to Bracewell and a stream, there are two adjacent house platforms and
three sub-rectangular crofts or small enclosures. A short distance south of
Stock Cottage is another house platform with an adjacent well, while between
this and Stock Green there are various earthworks interpreted as hollow ways,
ditches, and two possible house platforms or small enclosures. On rising
ground to the east of Stock Green there are two adjacent house platforms, a
sub-rectangular enclosure, and an enclosure with a croft at its eastern end.
Narrow hollow ways separate these features and also flank the eastern edge of
this group of earthworks. Immediately east, and higher up the hillslope, there
is a narrow belt of well-preserved ridge and furrow. Aerial photographs
clearly show that buried remains of features including enclosures, hollow ways
and a well lie in the area north of Stock Green and east of Stock House. To
the south of the medieval village remains stands Hawber Hill, the summit of
which is crowned by a square building platform. On the slopes of the hill, and
partly crossed by a later bank and ditch, are the earthworks of the associated
medieval communal open field system where the crops were grown. These
earthworks consist of the well-preserved remains of ridge and furrow produced
by oxen-drawn ploughing teams.
Stock House and its barn and associated outbuildings, Stock Cottage and the
barn to the north of Stock Cottage, Stock Green and its associated
outbuildings, all modern walls, fenceposts, gateposts, telegraph poles,
stiles, septic tanks, the surface of all farmtracks and the surfaces of all
paths and access drives 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 past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Lancashire Lowlands sub-Province of the Northern and
Western Province, an area extending from the moorlands of the western Pennines
to the coastal plain with its villages and hamlets. The southern part of the
sub-Province supports high densities of dispersed settlements, but there are
much lower densities further north, in the Craven Lowlands, the Ribble Valley
and the areas around Morecambe Bay. In the Middle Ages the larger, lowland
settlements were supported by `core' arable lands, communally cultivated, with
enclosed fields around them. The uplands contained sheep and cattle farms and
seasonally occupied `shieling' settlements.
The Craven Lowlands local region is drained both eastwards and westwards by
the Aire and Ribble valleys. Now densely settled with small towns, villages,
hamlets and scattered farmsteads, it had a similarly mixed pattern of
settlement in the Middle Ages, as evidenced by the earthworks of isolated
halls, single farmsteads, hamlets and deserted villages.

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 Northern and Western Province of England
medieval villages occurred infrequently amid areas of otherwise dispersed
settlement and good examples are therefore proportionally infrequent. Thus
their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources for
understanding rural life in the five centuries or more following the Norman
Medieval villages 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 where it survives the resultant `ridge and furrow' is
the most obvious physical indication of the open field system. Individual
strips or lands were laid out in groups known as furlongs defined by terminal
headlands at the plough turning points and lateral grass banks. Furlongs were
in turn grouped into large open fields. Well-preserved ridge and furrow,
especially in its original context adjacent to village earthworks, is both an
important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive
contribution to the historic landscape. It is usually now covered by hedges or
walls of subsequent field enclosure.
Despite being partly overlain by post-medieval buildings, a substantial
proportion of the earthworks of Stock medieval settlement and its open field
system survives well. It is a good example of this class of monument in the
Craven Lowlands local region and will add greatly to our understanding of the
wider settlement and economy during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


In Lancs SMR No. 3299, Turner, R C, Stock, (1979)
In Lancs SMR No.3299, Turner, R C, Stock, (1970)
In Lancs SMR No.3299, Turner, R C, Stock, (1970)
Lancs SMR No.3299 AP No1375/55, 57, Olivier, A, Stock, (1979)
Lancs SMR No3299 AP No1375/55, 57, Olivier,A., Stock, (1970)

Source: Historic England

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