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Medieval settlement of Ashby St Ledgers

A Scheduled Monument in Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.3098 / 52°18'35"N

Longitude: -1.1674 / 1°10'2"W

OS Eastings: 456860.81515

OS Northings: 268287.692709

OS Grid: SP568682

Mapcode National: GBR 8RG.5NP

Mapcode Global: VHCV5.Q66N

Entry Name: Medieval settlement of Ashby St Ledgers

Scheduled Date: 20 May 2014

Last Amended: 24 January 2018

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1418546

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Ashby St Ledgers

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Ashby St Ledgers The BVM and St Leodegarius

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


The site includes the earthworks and buried archaeological remains of the medieval village of Ashby St Ledgers; comprising hollow ways, building platforms (tofts), associated crofts (gardens), site of a dovecote and ridge and furrow.

Source: Historic England


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the medieval settlement of Ashby St Ledgers lying on both sides of a small east flowing stream at the west end of the village around Cherry Tree Farm, and on the south side of the stream between Cherry Tree Farm and the Manor House. The remains are situated on glacial sands and clays between 132m and 145m above OD.

DESCRIPTION: the settlement remains comprise hollow ways, building platforms (tofts), associated crofts (gardens), the site of a dovecote and ridge and furrow. The central axis of the site is a hollow way which runs from the Kilsby to Daventry Road on the west of the current village to just north of the church on the east. It coincides with the existing stream and now functions as a steep sided, wide stream bed. In the C19, Ordnance Survey maps indicate that it was still used as a through road at that time. Features on either side of the track respect its alignment. At the west end two roughly parallel hollow ways extend north from it then fork again. One arm runs north-west and originally crossed the Kilsby to Daventry Road and continued towards Barby but this is no longer traceable as an earthwork beyond the existing road. The other arm runs north and meets the existing road to Kilsby. Between the two roads is a disturbed area of ground in which stands a low circular mound standing up to around 0.3m high, with a slight depression within it, thought to be the site of a dovecote. Between the eastern hollow way and Cherry Tree Farm, are at least three rectangular enclosures separated by low banks and ditches, bounded on the north by a well-marked bank and outer ditch beyond which is ridge and furrow. Although the interior of the crofts show some disturbance from quarrying, traces of former buildings do survive and in the past stone-rubble foundations have been exposed in the side of the stream and the hollow way. At the time of the site assessment (November 2017) vegetation has obscured these remains. Pottery of mainly post-medieval date, but including some of the C14 and C15, has been found in this area.

To the south of the stream are other earthworks of the former village. Immediately south of Cherry Tree Farm and east of the approach road is another field containing a series of closes (crofts) containing house platforms (tofts) at their northern ends, all evident as low banks and scarps. Some buildings were still extant in this field in the early C19 along the road to the farm. Within the large field north and east of Home Farm and west of the Manor House, a series of rectangular closes align with the hollow way (now the stream bed). These are evident on the surface as slight mounds and terraces and are clearly evident on aerial photographs (Historic England, October 2013). Those towards the western end contain tofts but immediately north of Home Farm are the earthworks of a hollow way and stock enclosures. Further west again are the earthwork remains of ridge and furrow.

North of Cherry Tree Farm two ponds now occupy the site of what was another hollow way running north with ditches running east and west of it. Together with the existing part of the village the earthworks suggest that at least in the late medieval period the village was Y-shaped in plan with a number of small roads extending from it in various directions.

The common fields of the parish were enclosed by Act of Parliament of 1764. Ridge and furrow of these fields survives on the ground or can be traced on air photographs over parts of the parish although the level of survival has been reduced considerably since the Royal Commission Survey of the 1980s. Visible earthwork remains of ridge and furrow are most clearly evident at the western end of the village, south west of Cherry Tree Farm. Slightly more rounded earthwork remains are still evident at the eastern end of the village in the area of the Historic Park and Garden related to the Manor House (registered at Grade II).

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the scheduled area includes the fields surrounding the inhabited settlement of Ashby St Ledgers where earthworks of the former settlement and its associated field system survive. The scheduled area is defined around most of its boundary by field hedges or fences, the exception being the northern edge of the easternmost field which is defined by the water course.

There is considerable potential for undesignated heritage assets to survive within the currently occupied areas of Ashby St Ledgers. 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.

EXCLUSIONS: a number of features are excluded from the scheduling: these include all fences, modern path and road surfaces and signage, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The medieval village site at Ashby St Ledgers, first documented in Domesday Book of 1086, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: for the well preserved 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 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 other related contemporary designated monuments;
* Diversity: for the range and complexity of features such as tofts, crofts, hollow ways, the site of the dovecote and the ridge and furrow which will, 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 village.

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)
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)
Jeremy, Taylor, An Atlas of Roman rural settlement in England, (2007)
Partida, T, Hall, D, Foard, G, An Atlas of Northamptonshire The Medieval and Early-Modern Landscape, (2013)
Royal Commission for Historic Monuments, , Inventory of Archaeological SItes in North-West Northamptonshire, (1981), 23

Source: Historic England

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