Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Medieval settlement and associated field system immediately south of Ballidon village

A Scheduled Monument in Ballidon, Derbyshire

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 53.0871 / 53°5'13"N

Longitude: -1.6969 / 1°41'48"W

OS Eastings: 420398.093713

OS Northings: 354469.443209

OS Grid: SK203544

Mapcode National: GBR 47Z.HSK

Mapcode Global: WHCDS.XN4R

Entry Name: Medieval settlement and associated field system immediately south of Ballidon village

Scheduled Date: 8 February 2003

Last Amended: 15 April 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021244

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33886

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Ballidon

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Bradbourne All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Derby

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of a medieval
settlement at Ballidon and the well-preserved remains of its associated
field system. It lies in two separate areas of protection. The village's
history is well documented. An Anglo-Saxon estate charter defines land at
Ballidon granted by King Edgar in AD 963 to one Aethelferth. The estate
consisted of 5 hides (units of land equivalent to the amount needed to
keep a family self-sufficient) and had been in royal hands. It later
became a chapelry of the early parish centered on the minster of
Bradbourne. The extent of the land granted in this charter corresponded
broadly to the extent of the civil parish of Ballidon in 1866. Ballidon
appears in the Domesday Book as Belidene and the place name appears to
mean `the valley shaped like a sack', which is a good description of its
topography at the head of a steep sided valley.
The remains of the earlier village survive as earthworks lying over two areas
to the east and west of the road leading into the centre of the present hamlet
from the south. The first area, to the east of the road, has a small,
restored, Anglo-Norman bicameral church at its centre. To the north of the
church (which is Listed Grade II) there are the earthwork remains of at
least three farmhouses, each in its own enclosure. There is a vestigial
enclosure around the church itself. A hollow way goes up the hillside from
the church heading eastwards towards Brassington. To the south there are the
remains of field boundaries and extensive ridge and furrow cultivation
systems.
On the west side of the road, the second area has traces of an older road on
the floor of the valley, including earthwork remains of farmhouses and the
associated enclosures of at least two, and possibly three, small farms. Again,
there is an extensive system of ridge and furrow cultivation to the west and
south of the farms.
There was a substantial population of farmers at the time of Domesday, with
land for four ploughs valued at 60 shillings before the assessment. By
1563, a census shows as many as 90 inhabitants in the village. It is
believed that the monastic grange at Roystone had partly supported this
population through their hire of labour from the 12th century up until the
Dissolution. The church building, all field walls and post and wire fences,
as well as the surface of the trackway to the east of the church are excluded
from the scheduling, but the ground beneath all these features, including the
church, is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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. Place names 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 barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed
paddocks. Medieval villages were supported by a communal system of agriculture
based on large unenclosed open arable fields. These fields were subdivided
into strips which were allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of
these strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen produced long wide ridges,
and the resultant `ridge and furrow' is the most characteristic indication
of the open field system. Well-preserved `ridge and furrow', especially
when found in its original context adjacent to village earthworks, is both an
important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a
distinctive feature of the historic landscape.
The remains of the medieval settlement and associated field system at Ballidon
are well preserved. In addition, an Anglo-Saxon charter and other medieval
documents have provided the historical context for these remains.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hodges, R, Wall to Wall History, (1991), 96
Hodges, R, Wall to Wall History, (1991), 113

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.