Ancient Monuments

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Mugginton medieval settlement and part of an open field system

A Scheduled Monument in Weston Underwood, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 52.9844 / 52°59'3"N

Longitude: -1.58 / 1°34'47"W

OS Eastings: 428295.229979

OS Northings: 343091.927159

OS Grid: SK282430

Mapcode National: GBR 5BM.WY1

Mapcode Global: WHCFF.P7TX

Entry Name: Mugginton medieval settlement and part of an open field system

Scheduled Date: 8 September 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020945

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35604

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Weston Underwood

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Mugginton and Kedleston All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the abandoned areas
of the medieval settlement of Mugginton and part of the associated field
system. The monument is situated on a west facing slope leading down towards
Hungerhill Brook.

Mugginton is first mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 where it is
documented that Gamel held enough land for six ploughs, the lordship had land
for one plough and eight villagers and eight smallholders held enough for two
ploughs. There was a church, a priest, a mill, and three acres of meadow and
pasture one and a half leagues long and one league wide. At the time of the
survey the settlement was valued at 20 shillings.

It is not clear when or why parts of Mugginton were abandoned but a document
dated to March 1710 lists a number of tenants who were turned out of their
homes and a number of buildings which were `ruined, pottdown and wasted'. The
monument survives as a series of earthwork and buried remains. Running north
to south along the western edge of Beeches Farm house and yard is a wide
sunken gully which is interpreted as a sunken track or hollow way. The hollow
way is approximately 10m wide and is visible from the northern edge of the
monument to just east of Wellcroft where it appears to have been distorted by
a relatively modern field drain gully. Abutting the eastern side of the hollow
way are two, large, terraced platforms which are defined by low banks. The
largest of these is situated between Beeches Farm and Wellcroft and occupies
an area approximately 50m by 60m. Evidence from aerial photographs suggests
this enclosure was once divided into two. Further earthworks on the surface of
this platform indicate the site of at least one medieval building or toft.
The second terraced enclosure is situated at the junction between Taghole Lane
and Church Lane, just south of Wellcroft. The platform measures approximately
50m by 40m but appears to have been truncated by the southern boundary of
Wellcroft. The platform is clearly terraced and marked by low banks on the
western side and earthworks are evident on the surface suggesting the site of
another building.

A third terrace is located adjacent to Taghole Lane on the southern boundary
of the monument. This is sub-rectangular in shape, smaller than the other two
at approximately 30m by 35m and steeply banked with a sharp drop on the
western side. The bank defining the terrace is only evident on the western and
northern sides but the terrace appears to represent another building platform.
The positions of all the enclosures and building platforms conform to the
linear development of the existing village along Church Lane. Taghole Lane
itself is a sunken road and once continued to the west to link with the
southern edge of Ravensdale Deer Park which lies 1 km to the west.

To the west of the hollow way and extending over the remainder of the field
are the earthwork remains of part of the medieval open field system associated
with the village. These are visible as furlongs (groups of lands or
cultivation strips) marked by headlands. The cultivation strips collectively
form ridge and furrow and survive to a height of at least 0.3m. Running north
to south through the field system, approximately 50m west of the hollow way,
is another wide gully which is again interpreted as a hollow way. This
probably acted as a back lane and provided access to the fields.

All modern fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling although the
ground beneath them 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 last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the West Midland Plateau sub-Province of the Northern
and Western Province, which is marked by a series of low plateaux and
escarpments, often with rather sandy soils, and great clay vales containing
alluvial and gravel terraces. Still well wooded in 1086, the area embraced
forests such as Kinver, Feckenham, Cannock and Arden. Compared with the land
to the east, the area had significantly lower numbers of nucleations and, with
the exception of the Severn valley, carried a mixture of medium to very high
densities of dispersed settlement. This included diverse hamlets, common-edge
scatters of small farms and cottages, and isolated larger farmsteads,
generally moated, many being of medieval foundation.
The Upper Trent and Dove local region is marked by varied terrain. The
alluvial tracts and terraces of the Trent and Dove mask a core clay lowland,
with Needwood Forest forming the watershed, while to the north and south are
the rising lands of Cannock Chase and the southern Pennines. It has low
densities of nucleated settlement, and medium and high densities of dispersed
settlement. Placenames indicate much woodland in the early Middle Ages.

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 include the parish church within
their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages include one
or more manorial centres which may also survive as visible remains as well as
below ground deposits. 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.

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 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 defined by terminal
headlands at the plough turning-points and lateral grass baulks. 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 character of the historic landscape. It is usually now
covered by the hedges or walls of subsequent field enclosure.

The earthwork and buried remains of the abandoned part of Mugginton medieval
settlement, including parts of its open field system, are relatively well-
preserved and retain significant archaeological remains. The earthworks
conform to the layout of the existing settlement, illustrating the linear
layout and piecemeal abandonment of parts of the village. As a whole,
Mugginton will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of medieval
settlement in the area and its position in the wider landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Morgan, P, Domesday Book Derbyshire, (1978)
Mugginton, (1999)
ref. 187/27/1, Halllowes Papers, (1710)

Source: Historic England

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