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Anglo-Saxon cemetery and medieval manorial centre including fishponds and part of the open field system adjacent to St Peter's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Addingham, Bradford

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Latitude: 53.9429 / 53°56'34"N

Longitude: -1.8715 / 1°52'17"W

OS Eastings: 408534.654098

OS Northings: 449652.051554

OS Grid: SE085496

Mapcode National: GBR HQCV.MB

Mapcode Global: WHC8N.7524

Entry Name: Anglo-Saxon cemetery and medieval manorial centre including fishponds and part of the open field system adjacent to St Peter's Church

Scheduled Date: 14 January 1974

Last Amended: 11 August 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021088

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29996

County: Bradford

Civil Parish: Addingham

Built-Up Area: Addingham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Addingham St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes the buried remains of an Anglo Saxon cemetery and
the earthwork and buried remains of the medieval manorial centre of
Addingham. The latter includes fishponds and part of the associated open
field system. The monument is situated on a gravel ridge overlooking the
River Wharfe but extends to the south on gently sloping ground towards
Town Beck.

Addingham is one of few places in West Yorkshire to have been documented
before the Norman Conquest. It is recorded that Addingham was the
westernmost part of an Anglo-Saxon estate, centred on Otley, which
belonged to the Archbishops of York. In the 11th century Symeon of Durham
records how Archbishop Wulfhere of York sought refuge there in AD867. By
the end of the tenth century the Archbishop was dispossessed of Addingham
and several other vills in the Otley estate. Pre-Conquest activity appears
to have focussed in the area now occupied by St Peter's Church. The church
is thought to have had Anglo-Saxon origins. It certainly contains carved
cross shafts of this date. The settlement to which Wulfhere fled probably
also lay close to the church. By 1066 Addingham was divided between two
separate estates which in 1086, were attributed to Bolton in Cravescrie
and Burghshire. This division of Addingham continued throughout the Middle
Ages but both halves of the vill belonged to a single mesne lord William
Vavasour in 1166. The Vavasours continued to hold manorial rights until
they sold the lordship of the manor in 1714.

The earliest evidence of occupation of the site comes from an excavation
carried out in 1971 across the eastern slopes of the gravel ridge. The
excavation identified a recut asymmetrical ditch which produced pottery
dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries. It is thought that the ditch
was largely infilled by the 15th century but may originally have been cut
as early as the pre-Roman Iron Age as a defensive work. The later recut is
interpreted as a boundary feature. It would appear from this evidence that
the gravel ridge currently occupied by the church and Old Rectory has been
the focus of occupation for at least 2500 years.

The buried and earthwork remains of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery are situated
to the west of the church in a small enclosure now containing the church
hall, and in the field further to the west. Burials were first discovered
in 1869, to the east of the church hall enclosure, when the churchyard was
extended. The Anglo-Saxon cemetery was partly excavated during 1989 and
1990 in advance of an extension to the church hall, during which a total
of 55 graves were investigated recovering the remains of approximately 80
individuals. On the evidence of radiocarbon analysis these can be dated to
the eighth to tenth centuries. Immediately west of the excavated part of
the cemetery a series of parallel linear features were identified as a
result of geophysical survey and are thought to represent the buried
remains of more grave cuts. The most visible earthwork is a curvilinear
bank which runs roughly east to west, just south of the churchyard wall,
and north to south through the western edge of the current churchyard.
Only the section of the bank lying to the south of the churchyard wall is
included in the monument. A 19th century plan for the purchase of part of
Church Orchard, a field which lies to the west of the churchyard, shows
the pre-existing west wall of the burial ground following the course of
the earthwork bank. This indicates that the pre-1869 burial ground was
oval in shape. Such a shape is characteristic of early ecclesiastical
sites. St Peter's Church is largely a 15th century structure re-cased in
the 18th century although it does contain fragments of Norman
chevron-decorated stonework. Part of a cross shaft thought to be 10th
century in date was found in the field to the south of the churchyard in
the 1940s. The church hall and part of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery are
situated in the field known as Church Orchard. The name Orchard was
already attached to this piece of ground in 1622 when it was conveyed in
the form of two closes to Thomas Hardwicke of Addingham. A survey of the
manor in 1612 names the Hall Orchards among the demesne lands and a lease
drawn up in 1547 includes the Lords Orchards. It is thought that the
present Church Orchard is the site of the medieval manorial orchards, the
name change reflecting a change in ownership. Documentary sources indicate
that the manorial homestead was also in this field. An account of
Addingham written by Henry Johnson in 1669 records that the `Maner house
stood neer the church, upon Wharfe Brow, and the land being worne away by
the river the Hall fell, so that there is nothing now remaining of it.' A
map of 1600 appears to show a circular plan dovecote lying approximately
90m west of the church. Dovecotes are often situated close to manor

The site of the manor house and associated structures survive as a series
of earthwork and buried remains to the east, south and west of St Peter's
Church and churchyard. The core of the present village lies approximately
800m further to the west. In the north east corner of the monument a
series of gullies and ditches were identified as a result of a geophysical
survey and are thought to represent the buried remains of the manor house.
This may be substantiated by the survival of a series of earthworks which
lie either side of the approach track to the church and church hall. These
survive to a height of approximately 0.5m and are interpreted as a series
of fishponds. Fishponds are often associated with high status residences,
including manor houses. To the east of the fishponds are the remains of
part of the medieval open field system. This is visible as part of one
furlong (a group of lands or cultivation strips) marked by a headland. The
cultivation strips collectively form ridge and furrow and survive to a
height of approximately 0.35m. The cemetery excavations also uncovered a
major linear ditch which bisected the excavated area. The ditch was
constructed at right angles to the River Wharf and was at its base 1.3m
below the present ground level and 2.6m wide. The construction of the
ditch disturbed 18 graves. Pottery from the ditch dates it to between the
12th and 15th centuries. The ditch is interpreted as a boundary marker and
cut through a deposit which sealed the graves below. The formation of this
deposit post-dates the last use of the cemetery and pre-dates the later
medieval features. It probably represents the formation of a thin topsoil
sometime during the tenth to thirteenth centuries. A corn drying kiln was
also discovered with evidence of industrial or processing activity. It is
unclear when the manorial centre fell out of use but the river erosion
recorded in the late 17th century implies the site was abandoned before
this time.

The church hall, all modern field boundaries, track surfaces and gates 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

Beginning in the fifth century AD, there is evidence from distinctive burials
and cemeteries, new settlements, and new forms of pottery and metalwork, of
the immigration into Britain of settlers from northern Europe, bringing with
them new religious beliefs. The Roman towns appear to have gone into rapid
decline and the old rural settlement pattern to have been disrupted. Although
some Roman settlements and cemeteries continued in use, the native Britons
rapidly adopted many of the cultural practices of the new settlers and it soon
becomes difficult to distinguish them in the archaeological record. So-called
Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are dated to the early Anglo-Saxon period, from the
fifth to the seventh centuries AD. With the conversion to Christianity during
the late sixth and seventh centuries AD, these pagan cemeteries appear to have
been abandoned in favour of new sites, some of which have continued in use up
to the present day. Burial practices included both inhumation and cremation.
Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemeteries consist predominantly of inhumation burials
which were placed in rectangular pits in the ground, occasionally within
coffins. The bodies were normally accompanied by a range of grave goods,
including jewellery and weaponry. The cemeteries vary in size, the largest
containing several hundred burials. Around 1000 inhumation cemeteries have
been recorded in England. They represent one of our principal sources of
archaeological evidence about the Early Anglo-Saxon period, providing
information on population, social structure and ideology. All surviving
examples, other than those which have been heavily disturbed, are considered
worthy of protection.

Manorial centres were important foci of medieval rural life. Local
agricultural and village life was normally closely regulated by the Lord
of the Manor and thus the inhabitants of these sites had a central
interest in many aspects of rural life. Manorial sites could take many
forms but the key focus was the manor house which was often an elaborate
building reflecting the importance of the manorial lord. In addition to
the manor house the complex would have included stables and other
buildings, including store rooms for agricultural and other produce.
Dovecotes used to keep doves as a food source were also common as were
fishponds. A chapel also existed at many sites either within a room of the
main manorial building or as a separate building. 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 wealthier members of the village community, in addition to
regulating the communal agricultural system, often maintained fishponds
for their own private supply of fish. Both fishponds and dovecotes were an
expression of wealth and status during the medieval period and later and
are usually attached to monastic institutions or the main manorial

The building of fishponds began in the medieval period and peaked in the
12th century. The difficulty of obtaining fresh meat in the winter and the
value placed on fish in terms of its protein content and as a status food
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 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 or within parks so that a watch could be kept on them to
prevent poaching. Archaeologically fishponds are important for their
association with other classes of medieval monument and in providing
evidence of site economy.

The earthwork and buried remains of the manorial complex and Anglo-Saxon
cemetery at Addingham are well-preserved and retain significant
archaeological remains. The earthworks, excavations and documentation
combine to provide an historical context and picture of the layout of the
settlement. As a whole, the monument will add greatly to our knowledge and
understanding of the continuity and change in the use of Addingham as a
settlement and its position in the wider landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, , Addingham Church Hall West Yorkshire, (1990), 1-7
West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, , Addingham Church Hall West Yorkshire, (1990), 1-4
Adams, M, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Excavation of a pre-conquest cemetery at Addingham West Yorkshie, , Vol. 40, (1996), 151-183

Source: Historic England

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