Bingham's Melcombe deserted village
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002402
Date first listed: 01-Apr-1971
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Dorset (District Authority)
Parish: Melcombe Horsey
National Grid Reference: ST 77304 01912
Deserted medieval village of Bingham’s Melcombe.
Reasons for Designation
The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets, paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant component of the rural landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages provided some services to the local community and acted as the main focal point of ecclesiastical, and often of manorial, administration within each parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were abandoned throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. As a result over 2000 deserted medieval villages are recorded nationally. The reasons for desertion were varied but often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land use such as enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their abandonment these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Because they are a common and long-lived monument type in most parts of England, they provide important information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy between the regions and through time. The earthworks of the deserted medieval village of Bingham’s Melcombe survive well despite subsequent landscaping and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction and development of the village, the agricultural practices, trade, social and economic organisation, domestic arrangements, decline and abandonment and its overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 February 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes a deserted medieval village situated to the valley of the Devil’s Brook and to the south of the current church of Bingham’s Melcombe. The village lies within an area of parkland (Registered Grade II*) laid out in the 16th century. The village survives as a series of earthworks of chiefly rectangular crofts arranged in various clusters, concentrations and orientations either side of a main west to east orientated hollow way which measures up to 9.1m wide and 0.9m deep. Some of the crofts have clearly defined rectangular building platforms.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DO 766
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing