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Deserted medieval settlement at Filgrave, immediately west of Rectory Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Tyringham and Filgrave, Milton Keynes

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Latitude: 52.1272 / 52°7'37"N

Longitude: -0.7193 / 0°43'9"W

OS Eastings: 487766.364974

OS Northings: 248423.943252

OS Grid: SP877484

Mapcode National: GBR CZ5.QXN

Mapcode Global: VHDSN.HS2P

Entry Name: Deserted medieval settlement at Filgrave, immediately west of Rectory Farm

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1975

Last Amended: 26 November 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021372

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35358

County: Milton Keynes

Civil Parish: Tyringham and Filgrave

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Tyringham with Filgrave

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the buried and visible remains of the medieval
settlement of Filgrave, located some 600m to the east of the modern village
of Filgrave.
The medieval settlement occupies an area of pasture and woodland sited on
high ground immediately to the west of Rectory Farm and overlooking the
village of Emberton to the north east. The settlement, which is believed to
have been abandoned by the late 16th century, included a church and
graveyard, a manor house, other settlement remains such as tofts and crofts,
a hollow way, a fishpond and cultivation earthworks in the form of ridge and
The main focus of the settlement is a roughly triangular raised platform at
the north end of the site which is thought to represent the buried remains of
the medieval church of St Mary. The church, which originally consisted of a
chancel, nave and tower, was available for use in 1585, though by this time
services had ceased `through neglect of the rector'. By 1636 there was
apparently no roof, and trees were growing on the walls. In 1730 only the
tower and part of the side walls were still standing and by 1758 the
remaining parts had been removed to repair a local mill. Shortly after this
the foundations are recorded as being dug up by the rector to repair the
The graveyard associated with St Mary's Church occupies an embanked enclosure
immediately to the east of the church site. It continued in use for burial
for some time after the church was pulled down.
To the west and south side of the church site are a series of enclosures
subdivided by ditches, banks and trackways which represent the remains of
crofts (yards and paddocks associated with medieval buildings). The largest
of these enclosures, towards the north west corner of the monument, has been
interpreted as representing the location of the manor house. Immediately to
the west of this large enclosure, and separated from it by a shallow bank, is
a linear area of woodland known as Buryorchard Spinney. Within the wood is a
north-south aligned fishpond, measuring over 15m in length and with a bank on
its west side.
Immediately to the south of the croft and tofts and north of the Filgrave
Road are the remains of the medieval field system visible as ridge and furrow
cultivation. These open fields were divided into furlongs which were
cultivated in narrow strips, or lands, to ensure drainage and allow an equal
division of the available soil conditions among the various tenants and
A trackway which runs along the eastern edge of the site, extends northwards
from the Filgrave Road and to the west of Rectory Farm. At the south east
corner of the church site it becomes a broad and deep hollow way and changes
direction to curve around the southern and western edge of this platform. It
then continues northwards as a trackway beyond the scheduling, in the
direction of Emberton.
Between the cultivation earthworks and the north-south trackway is an area
where there are few earthworks which may represent enclosed fields for the
grazing of animals. Two irregularly shaped ponds here are believed to be
There is no separate mention of Filgrave in Domesday records, however it was
surveyed as part of Tyringham manor and valued at ten hides. The manor is
believed to have belonged to the Bishop of Coutances but was returned to the
Crown when his lands were confiscated. In the late 12th century Henry II gave
the manor to Halenod de Bidun and when the Bidun property was divided up the
manor of Filgrave was passed to William de Briwere and then to Baldwin Wake.
In 1221 a fine of lands in Filgrave was passed between William Fitz Roland
and Simon le Curtvalice and in 1257 a fine was levied between John de
Tyringham and John le Blake and Felicia his wife, of messuages and lands in
Filgrave, to the use of John de Tyringham. There were several proprieters of
land in Filgrave but the main owners were the Tyringhams who continued to own
Filgrave along with the Tyringham Estate.
In 1160 the advowson of the church at Filgrave was given to the abbey of nuns
dedicated to St Mary de la Pre, near Northampton. Following the Reformation,
either the advowson was sold to the Tyringham family or the churches of
Tyringham and Filgrave were united. It is possible that the parishioners
abandoned Filgrave church for the one at Tyringham in the late 16th century
after the roof had fallen in.
All road surfaces, fences, stiles, goal posts, gates, mangers, cattle feeders
and horse jumps 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.
The South Midlands local region is large, and capable of further subdivision.
Strongly banded from south west to north east, it comprises a broad succession
of clay vales and limestone or marlstone ridges, complicated by local drifts
which create many subtle variations in terrain. The region is in general
dominated by nucleated villages of medieval origin, with isolated farmsteads,
mostly of post-medieval date, set in the spaces between them. Depopulated
village sites are common, and moated sites are present on the claylands.

Medieval manorial settlements, comprising small groups of houses with
associated gardens, yards and paddocks, supported communities devoted
primarily to agriculture, and acted as the foci for manorial administration.
Although the sites of many of these settlements have been occupied
continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were
abandoned at some time during the medieval and post-medieval periods,
particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. The reasons for desertion
were varied but often reflected declining economic viability, changes in
land-use such an enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a
result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of
their abandonment, these settlements are frequently undisturbed by later
occupation and contain welll-preserved archaeological deposits, providing
information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming
economy and on the structure and changing fortunes of manorial communities.
The site of the medieval settlement of Filgrave is clearly represented by an
area of well-defined earthworks, in which evidence for the nature of the
settlement will be preserved. The crofts and building platforms will contain
buried evidence for houses, barns and other structures, accompanied by a
range of boundaries, refuse pits, wells and drainage channels, all related to
the development of the settlement. Artefacts buried in association with these
features will provide further insights into the lifestyle of the settlement's
inhabitants and assist in dating the changes to the settlement through time.
Environmental evidence may also be preserved, illustrating the economy of the
settlement and providing further information about its agricultural regime.
Although there is no detailed evidence documenting the settlement, it is
likely that its decline was due to enclosure of the fields by the local lords
at Tyringham. The focus of the settlement in the form of the remains of the
church of St Mary and the medieval manor are thought to survive as buried
features and will retain important information pertaining to the development
of the settlement. The church, abandoned in the 17th century, will retain
evidence for the nature of this principal building. Burials dating from the
earliest phases of the church will survive within the embanked enclosure of
the graveyard and these will provide information relating to the medieval
community. The site of the manor will provide evidence for the status of the
settlement. The fishpond is believed to date from medieval times when those
who could afford the cost of their construction and maintenance, created
fishponds to ensure a constant food supply.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of, (1905), 318,340
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of, (1905), 485
Ratcliffe, O , History and Antiquities of the Newport Pagnell Hundreds, (1900), 153-155
Ratcliffe, O , History and Antiquities of the Newport Pagnell Hundreds, (1900), 153-155
Kelke, W H, 'Records of Bucks' in Desecrated Churches of Bucks, (1860), 199-205
Kelke, W H, 'Records of Bucks' in Desecrated Churches of Bucks, (1860), 199-205

FX 0033, CUCAP (St. Joseph), Filgrave DMV and church site, (1951)
Owner in 1950's, Rossiter, T,
SAM 130, West, JJ , Filgrave Deserted Medieval Village, (1975)
SAM 130, West, JJ, Filgrave Deserted Medieval Village, (1975)
Title: Map of the Parish of Tyringham cum Filgrave
Source Date: 1839
BRO: 392
Title: Ordnance Survey 1st Edition Map
Source Date: 18

Title: Tyringham cum Filgrave
Source Date: 1837
BRO: AR 79/83 No.3

Source: Historic England

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