Shrunken Medieval Village, Woughton on the Green


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1007938.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 25-Jun-2021 at 01:42:24.


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

Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
Woughton on the Green
National Grid Reference:
SP8740637526, SP8790337813

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 primarily devoted to farming, 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 as well as acting as the focus of ecclesiastical, and often manorial, authority within each medieval parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many have declined considerably in size and are now occupied by farmsteads or hamlets. This decline may have taken place gradually throughout the lifetime of the village or more rapidly, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries when many other villages were wholly deserted. The reasons for diminishing size were varied but often reflected declining economic viability or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their decline, large parts of these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Over 3000 shrunken medieval villages are recorded nationally. 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.

Woughton Shrunken medieval village is a good example of this class of monument. It survives well as extensive and clearly defined earthworks in an area of permanent pasture and has good potential for the survival of archaeological remains. The site falls in the area designated as the Ouzel Valley Country Park and is provided with on-site interpretative material by the Milton Keynes Archaeological Unit.


The monument includes two areas representing the earthwork remains of the once extensive village of Woughton, stretching from the Grand Union Canal in the west to the River Ouzel in the east. The earthworks, which are all that remain visible of the deserted area of the village, survive as a linear spread of archaeological features orientated south-west to north-east and covering a maximum distance of 800m metres. The main elements include a substantial hollow way 300m long, 8m wide and 1.3m deep. It is orientated east-west and represents the site of the former Meadows Lane, the main village street. Roughly midway along its length, secondary lanes run north and south from a crossroads. On either side of the main street are a series of rectangular enclosures and platforms separated by shallow ditches. These are the remains of the small garden crofts, house platforms and back alleys and are perhaps the best preserved area of village earthworks. They survive in this eastern area set within an extensive and well defined open field system. The ridge and furrow here averaging 8m wide and 0.4m high and showing the characteristic and distinctive reversed S-curve of such early ploughland. Further west, towards the canal, there is further evidence of the earlier medieval village, where it is possible to recognise the westward continuation of Meadows Lane, again flanked by cottage platforms and crofts, with banks up to 0.5m high. In the vicinity of the canal the village remains become less distinct; however, excavations beyond the canal, in the area now occupied by the marina have demonstrated the continuation of the village in this area, recovering the remains of a small L-shaped farm and outbuildings.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Milton Keynes Archaeological Unit, Lodge Cottage excavation,
On site interpetative notice, Milton Keynes Archaeological Unit,


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].