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Clipston medieval settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Clipston, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.4314 / 52°25'53"N

Longitude: -0.9602 / 0°57'36"W

OS Eastings: 470793.3874

OS Northings: 282002.6177

OS Grid: SP707820

Mapcode National: GBR BSV.J1Z

Mapcode Global: VHDR5.94RX

Entry Name: Clipston medieval settlement

Scheduled Date: 23 May 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1418334

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Clipston

Built-Up Area: Clipston

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Clipston All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


Medieval village of Clipston, first documented in Domesday Book of 1086.

Source: Historic England


This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 01/09/2014.

The village is located on Boulder Clay on a mainly south facing slope, to the west of the River Ise, the river cutting through the south-east corner of the area of assessment. A natural spring on the western side of the village flows into the river south-east of Langdale House. The scheduled areas include fields to the north, east, south-east, south-west, west and north-west of the village of Clipston.

The scheduled monument includes the earthworks and buried archaeological remains of the medieval village of Clipston comprising tofts, crofts, enclosures and areas of medieval ridge and furrow. These remains surround the currently inhabited core of Clipston village. It is not possible to say if the extensive remains represent the maximum expansion of the village at any one time or are the results of changes in location and layout spread over a long period. There are two main areas of the settlement which appear to have been occupied by dwellings. The first and most concentrated is at the western end of the village, centred around Pegs Lane, and the second is in the paddocks lying between Chapel Street and Harborough Road. These two areas are linked by earthworks and the remains of the medieval field system including ridge and furrow and embanked enclosures, both characteristic of the medieval rural economy. At the east end of the village enclosures defined by low banks and scarps are clearly evident to the east of Kelmarsh Road and Church lane, but few show sign of tofts suggesting they were never occupied by dwellings but were possibly for the purpose of stock enclosure.

At the western end of the village, particularly north, south and west of Pegs Lane and the properties along Pegs Lane, extensive settlement remains appear to be based on two hollow ways (sunken tracks). One extends from the bend in Pegs Lane, north of the property known as The Limes, running to the north-west where it joins the second hollow way running roughly north to south either side of Pegs Lane, beneath a property known as Cherrywell on the south side and adjacent to a large agricultural building on the north side. On both sides of these hollow ways are many small closes or crofts, some with identifiable house sites (tofts) within them. Both tofts and crofts are evident as low banks and scarps which in plan depict the crofts as rectangular enclosures measuring up to c.70m by 20m with the tofts c.20m by 30m adjacent to the hollow ways which themselves survive up to a depth of c.1.2m. To the west of Pegs Lane, further tofts and crofts are evident amongst other old embanked closes which do not appear to have been occupied by dwellings.

To the rear (north) of crofts on the north side of Pegs Lane a wide gulley, possibly a back lane, separates the crofts from the ridge and furrow to the north. This gulley aligns with a similar feature in the paddocks located between Chapel Lane and Harborough Road; at its eastern end it links with the main north to south-running hollow way which runs parallel to the aforementioned roads. Together these earthworks are believed to be part of the second phase of village expansion or change in layout of the village. This hollow way survives up to 1.5m deep. Again tofts and crofts abut the hollow way indicating the positions of former dwellings and east of Harborough Road further earthworks are evident adjacent to the existing road.

At the east end of the village the evidence is slightly different. Here enclosures defined by low banks and scarps are clearly evident to the east of Kelmarsh Road and Church Lane but few show signs of tofts suggesting they were never occupied by dwellings but were possibly for the purpose of stock enclosure, an important element in the economy of the village. There is evidence of some relatively recent (possibly late C20) ground disturbance at this end of the village. The river has been realigned and straightened in parts and the construction of a sewage works may also be related to some of the work carried out here.

The common fields of Clipston were apparently enclosed by an Act of Parliament in 1776. Some of the agricultural fields representing the most important element of the economy of the village have been destroyed but much of the layout is recoverable either on the ground or from aerial photographs (English Heritage, October 2013). Many of the earthworks are of considerable size, with ridges surviving up to 0.75m high in places. The remains are particularly well pronounced to the north, south-west and south-east of the existing settlement. The furlongs are often short and interlocked in response to the broken nature of the landscape, but there are also groups of end-on furlongs particularly to the south-east of the village. In the field to the north of the Sibbertoft Road and immediately west of Harborough Road at grid reference SP7139182544, a circular mound is evident both on the ground and on aerial photographs (English Heritage October 2014) and is understood to be the site of a windmill; the field was known as Mill Furlong in 1732.

The extent of the scheduling is defined by two areas of protection. The first, the larger of the two includes an extensive area of tofts, crofts, hollow ways, ridge and furrow, closes which are understood to be animal enclosures, and the site of a windmill. The majority of the area of protection is defined by field boundaries; either fences, or hedges. The only exceptions being in the area leading from the corner of Pegs Lane and Gold Street where a new agricultural building with a small yard surrounding has been built but is not shown on Ordnance Survey maps. Here the area of protection lies 4m north of the northern edge of this yard then, at the western extent of the yard, the line of the area of protection turns south to follow the yard boundary fence, then turns west 5m south of the main east to west aligned hollow way. Here the line meets with another field boundary where it follows the boundaries, as shown on the attached map. Another exception lies at the northern end of the area of protection, north of the Sibbertoft Road around a small agricultural building and its yard. The building and a 10m buffer zone around the building and yard, where the ground has been disturbed, lies outside the area of protection but is not defined by field boundaries. Finally at the southern end of the same field, a wildlife pond has been dug which has disturbed any earthworks which may have related to the medieval settlement or its related field system. The upcast from the pond excavation has been spread over the adjacent field and much of the ridge and furrow has been obscured or removed in this area. For these reasons this area is not included in the scheduling; the northern boundary of this excluded area lies 15m north of the water course which runs east to west across this field between grid references SP7102182277 and SP7117982251.

The second area of protection lies at the eastern end of the village centred around grid reference SP7170981371. This area includes extensive, well preserved remains of ridge and furrow and earthwork enclosures which are understood to represent former stock enclosures. The western edge of this area is defined by the canalised water course but the remainder of this area of protection is defined by field boundaries in the form of hedges and/or fences. Where the area of protection skirts around  a cottage and its associated courtyard the line follows a degraded hawthorn hedgerow on the eastern edge before returning to the line of the water course north of the cottage. A number of public footpaths cross this area.

There is considerable potential for undesignated heritage assets to survive within the currently occupied areas of Clipston medieval settlement. These may take the form of standing structures or buried deposits but are considered to be most appropriately managed through the National Planning Policy Framework (March 2012) and are not therefore included within the scheduled area.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, including: the ménege situated just south of Sibbertoft Road, all fences, gates and stiles, wooden stables and sheds, including all modern path and road surfaces, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The abandoned medieval village remains at Clipston, first documented in 1086, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: for the exceptional earthworks depicting the form and plan of the settlement and its associated agricultural practices;

* Potential: for the stratified archaeological deposits which retain considerable potential to increase our understanding of the physical characteristics of the buildings and settlement. Buried artefacts will also have the potential to increase our knowledge and understanding of the social and economic functioning of the settlement within the wider medieval landscape;

* Documentation: for the high level of historical and archaeological documentation pertaining to the settlement’s evolution;

* Group value: for its close proximity to 19 listed buildings, most notably the Church of All Saints (NHLE 1067033) and the historically associated medieval settlement of Nobold (NHLE 1017183);

* Diversity: for the range and complexity of features such as tofts, crofts, hollow ways, windmill, the remains of the medieval ridge and furrow and stock enclosures which, taken as a whole, provide a clear plan of the settlement and retain significant stratified deposits which serve to provide details of the continuity and change in the evolution of the settlement.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Allison, K J, Beresford, M W, Hurst, J G, The Deserted Villages of Northamptonshire, (1966)
Astill, G, Grant, A, The Countryside of Medieval England, (1988)
Aston, M, Austin, D, Dyer, C(eds), The Rural Settlements of Medieval England: Studies dedicated to Maurice Beresford and John Hurst, (1989)
Bridges, J, The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire, (1791)
Christie, N, Stamper, P (eds), Medieval Rural Settlement: Britain and Ireland AD 800-1600, (2012)
Dyer, C, Jones, R, Deserted Villages Revisited, (2010)
Hall, D, Turning the Plough. Midland Open Fields;landscape character and proposals for management, (2001)
Hall, D, The Open Fields of Northamptonshire, (1995)
Lewis, C, Mitchell-Fox, P, Dyer, C , Village, Hamlet and Field: Changing Medieval Settlements in Central England, (1997)
Roberts, , Wrathmell, , An Atlas of Rural Settlement in England, (2000)
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Northamptonshire III, (1981)
Williamson, T., Partida, T, Champion. The Making and Unmaking of the English Midland Landscape, (2013)

Source: Historic England

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