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Medieval settlement immediately north and 170m south of St John the Baptist's Church, Lower Shuckburgh

A Scheduled Monument in Upper and Lower Shuckburgh, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.26 / 52°15'35"N

Longitude: -1.2854 / 1°17'7"W

OS Eastings: 448872.272468

OS Northings: 262665.609721

OS Grid: SP488626

Mapcode National: GBR 7QK.CTQ

Mapcode Global: VHCV9.NGVB

Entry Name: Medieval settlement immediately north and 170m south of St John the Baptist's Church, Lower Shuckburgh

Scheduled Date: 28 January 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020787

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35102

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Upper and Lower Shuckburgh

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Lower Shuckburgh St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the medieval
settlement of Lower Shuckburgh, which is within two separate areas of
protection. The settlement is located upon either side of the main A425
Southam road. Lower Shuckburgh is situated upon the north facing lower
slopes of a rolling upland wold landscape, on fertile soil and close to a
number of springs. It is associated with the remains of the medieval
settlement at Upper Shuckburgh, 1.4km to the south east, which is the
subject of a separate scheduling.
The settlement is first recorded in the Domesday survey together with the
adjacent settlement of Upper Shuckburgh. By the 13th century the hundred
rolls identified 31 households in the settlement. However, these had
dropped to only five by the 1330s, and in 1564 the settlement was so
small that it was assessed with two other neighbouring villages. The
settlement survived, but underwent several phases of depopulation and
reorganisation. It began its recovery during the mid-17th century, and by
1664 there were 31 houses, and 39 by 1730. The census of 1801 records
that the population of Lower Shuckburgh had recovered to 144 people, whilst
that of Upper Shuckburgh was only 28, being largely employees of the
great house. It is believed that the revival of the fortunes of Lower
Shuckburgh was linked to the final depopulation of nearby Upper Shuckburgh
when it was emparked during the 17th century. Also, during the 18th and
19th centuries, the north Oxford Canal and main turnpike roads cut through
Lower Shuckburgh attracting development, including a busy private wharf.
Canal stables, an office and a weighbridge relating to the wharf survive
to the west. These are not included in the scheduling.
The first area of protection lies in a roughly triangular plot of land
between the A425 and the Oxford Canal, adjacent to the Church of St John
the Baptist. The shallow earthworks of at least eight irregular platforms,
defined by slight ditches set out along two deeper hollow ways and arranged
in an irregular grid system, lie in the field immediately to the north and
east of the churchyard. To the west of the churchyard are the remains of a
pond, which remains waterlogged, and several further large irregular
platforms defined by deep ditches. A hollow way crosses the settlement from
north to south, deviating around the west side of the churchyard, forming
part of a modern footpath. Parallel with this, stone edgings to a former
path can be seen in situ below the turf on the edge of a large platform. The
platforms are believed to include the remains of buildings and allotments.
Their layout suggests a number of small regular dwelling plots to the east
of the church, with one or two larger irregular groups of buildings such
as farmsteads to the west, possibly relating to two or more phases of
development of the settlement.
The second area of protection lies to the south of the A425 and the church
and immediately east of Glebe Farm. Here the land slopes gently to the north
and east and is defined on the east by a stream. A number of irregular
depressions along the stream are the remains of medieval ponds used for stock
watering and animal dipping. A wide shallow hollow way runs parallel with the
stream, midway along the field, forming the main street of the settlement.
Three further narrow hollow ways run east at right angles from the main
street to the stream. Measuring between 0.5m and 1m deep and between 2m to
3m wide these hollow ways define a series of platforms, arranged along the
course of the stream. The platforms vary from 14m to 45m wide, and are
believed to be garden enclosures sloping up from the stream, with buildings
indicated by disturbed ground, located at the western ends adjacent to the
main street.
The ground rises more steeply to the west of the street and includes a number
of depressions and terraced platforms believed to be the sites of further
buildings. Immediately adjacent to Glebe Farm and the A425 is a large
flattened area with a single irregular platform at its southern edge. This is
believed to represent a single, possibly later holding, as it disrupts the
more regular settlement pattern aligned along the stream, and cuts off the
route of the main street. A sample of the medieval ridge and furrow
cultivation remains are included in the scheduling.
All modern post and wire fences, telegraph poles and animal feed troughs
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 Inner Midlands sub-Province of the Central Province,
an area characterised by large numbers of nucleated settlements, both
surviving and deserted, many of which are thought to have been established in
Anglo-Saxon times. Most of the sub-Province's thinly scattered dispersed
settlements were created in post-medieval times, but some of the local regions
are characterised by higher proportions of dispersed dwellings and hamlets,
which probably mark the patchy survival of older landscapes.

The medieval settlement of Lower Shuckburgh immediately north and south
of St John the Baptist's Church and the remains of its open field system
survive as a series of well-preserved earthworks and associated buried
deposits. The remains of house plots will preserve valuable evidence for
domestic and economic activity on the site through both the medieval and
post-medieval periods, giving insight into the lifestyle of the inhabitants.
The association of the village remains with those of its open fields provides
evidence for the economy of the settlement and its place in the wider medieval
landscape. Waterlogging in parts of the site will preserve organic remains
such as artefacts made from wood, cloth and leather. Preservation of plant
remains will also provide valuable information about the natural environment
and climate at the time the village was occupied, as well as for horticultural
and agricultural activity in the area. These will contribute to our
understanding of the way in which medieval settlements functioned as
components of a wider social and economic landscape. The settlement at Lower
Shuckburgh is well-documented, adding to our understanding of its development.
The association with the remains of the medieval settlement at Upper
Shuckburgh will help us to understand the dynamics of settlement formation,
and survival or desertion within a particular parish.

Source: Historic England

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