Deserted village


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 57673 86554


Deserted medieval village of Abdon 240m north-east of Upper House.

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 of Abdon 240m north-east of Upper House survives well with a wide range of distinctive earthworks and it will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, social, political and economic significance, agricultural practices, industrial activity, domestic arrangements, abandonment, subsequent re-use and re-abandonment and its overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 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 includes the deserted medieval village of Abdon situated on the south facing lower slopes of the very prominent Brown Clee Hill overlooking the valley of a tributary to the River Corve. The medieval village survives as a series of rectangular house platforms together with a major central hollow way measuring up to 5m wide and 0.6m deep. Two further hollow ways of up to 0.4m deep mark the northern and southern extent of the village. Further features include a whole series of property blocks measuring 45m wide and from 50m up to 90m long defined by low banks, quantities of ridge and furrow and a rectangular mound proven by excavation to be an 18th century building. The village covers approximately 3ha. It was first abandoned in the region of 1350 according to documentary sources (apparently confirmed by excavated evidence) although it experienced a brief period of revival in the 16th and 17th centuries when it was used by quarry and mine workers on Brown Clee Hill. It was completely deserted again by 1793. Partial excavations and a survey were carried out in 1965-9. These examined the 13th century long house or manor to the south of the church which proved to have at least two cells, a byre for the animals and a further southern annexe, parts of which had apparently been damaged by fire. Whilst other structures produced similar dates, a further rectangular building was found to be an 18th century barn. Additional finds included horseshoes, knife blades, nails and staples. The village was again surveyed in 1987.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
SA 215
Legacy System:


PastScape 111193
Shropshire HER 00184


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

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