Deserted medieval village at Cosford to the north, east and south of Manor Farm.
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 deserted medieval village at Cosford to the north, east and south of Manor Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, social, economic and political significance, layout, trade, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 2 June 2015. 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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument, which falls into four areas, includes a deserted medieval village situated on the sloping western valley side and nestling between several small tributaries to the River Swift. The village survives as a complex and extensive series of prominent earthworks which are also clearly visible on aerial photographs and include hollow ways, numerous rectangular house platforms with garden plots, regularly spaced along and facing the main ‘street’ and fields containing ridge and furrow. Soil analysis indicated the apparently regular layout of the village had been imposed over an existing open field system and may have actually reflected the deliberate planning of a new settlement and field system to cope with increased demand for housing. The village is not mentioned specifically in the Domesday Book. Small scale excavations revealed a stone foundation, pit and retrieved medieval pottery. Traditionally a chapel is known to have existed in the village and a Norman font was acting as a garden ornament for many years but the exact location of the chapel is not known. One of the surviving cottages according to a 19th century source also had a very grand staircase which it was believed had originated in the manor house.