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Medieval farmstead 330m north west of Water Knott

A Scheduled Monument in Hunderthwaite, County Durham

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.5561 / 54°33'21"N

Longitude: -2.1208 / 2°7'14"W

OS Eastings: 392286.830457

OS Northings: 517876.486294

OS Grid: NY922178

Mapcode National: GBR FHMR.NK

Mapcode Global: WHB49.DRB3

Entry Name: Medieval farmstead 330m north west of Water Knott

Scheduled Date: 22 December 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021093

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35951

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Hunderthwaite

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Details

The monument includes a medieval farmstead which lies on the south side of
Balderhead Reservoir in Baldersdale. It occupies a ridge between two
streams. The farmstead consists of the remains of two buildings and
associated banks and ditches.

The most substantial of the banks and ditches runs from stream to stream
across the ridge, separating most of the farmstead from the open moor to
the west. The remains of both buildings lie east of this cross ridge
boundary. The westernmost of the two buildings lies close to the boundary,
approximately 250m NNW of Water Knott, and with its longer side at
right-angles to it. The walls of the building survive as stony banks 1m
wide and 0.2m high. The building is 29m long and 7m wide, with opposing
entrances on the north and south sides. This building is interpreted as a
medieval long house.

The second building lies a little further east. Its walls are visible as
stony banks 2.5m wide and 0.4m high. In places these banks have a marked
depression down their centre, representing a stone robbing trench. This
eastern building is 21m long and 9m wide and has a probable entrance in
its south side.

The cross ridge boundary runs approximately north-south on a slight curve.
It lies under a drystone wall marked on the 1:10000 map for part of its
length. It has a bank up to 5m wide and 1m high, with a ditch 5m wide and
0.2m deep on its west side. This substantial boundary is an example of the
medieval boundaries characteristic of Baldersdale. The northern end of the
cross ridge boundary has a complex of banks attached to it, but these have
been partly eroded at the edge of the reservoir.

A small bank and ditched enclosure is attached to the cross ridge boundary
on its western side, protruding onto the west side of the modern dry stone
wall. This bank is smaller, being 2.5m wide and 0.2m high, with the ditch
visible as a slight depression on the inside.

The drystone wall is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.
This monument lies in the Northern Pennines sub-Province of the Northern and
Western Province, an area characterised from the Middle Ages by dispersed
settlements, with some nucleations in more favoured areas. The sub-Province is
formed by discontinuous high moorland landscapes; agricultural settlement has
been episodic, in response to the economic fortunes of adjacent sub-Provinces.
Other settlements have been associated with the extraction of stone and other
minerals.

In some areas of medieval England settlement was dispersed across the
landscape rather than nucleated into villages. Such dispersed settlement
in an area, usually a township or parish, is defined by the lack of a
single (or principle) nucleated settlement focus such as a village, and
the presence instead of small settlement units (small hamlets or
farmsteads) spread across the area. These small settlements normally have
a degree of interconnection with their close neighbours, for example, in
relation to shared common land or road systems. Dispersed settlements
varied enormously from region to region, but where they survive as
earthworks their distinguishing features include buildings such as barns,
enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In areas where stone was used
for building, the outline of building foundations may still be clearly
visible. Communal areas of the settlement frequently include features such
as bakehouses, pinfolds and ponds. Areas of dispersed medieval settlement
are found in both the South Eastern Province and the Northern and Western
Province of England. They are found in upland and also some lowland areas.
Where found, 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.

This medieval farmstead 330m north west of Water Knott and its associated
banks and ditches survive well. They will contribute to an understanding
of the development and diversity of medieval settlement and enclosure in
the North Pennines.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
White, F, Earthwork Survey of Site at Balderhead Reservoir, (1996), 8

Source: Historic England

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