Ambion deserted medieval village


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


Ordnance survey map of Ambion deserted medieval village
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jul-2019 at 13:04:09.


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

Hinckley and Bosworth (District Authority)
Sutton Cheney
National Grid Reference:
SP 40245 99982

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 site at Ambion is a rare example of an early desertion, probably brought about by the plague which severely diminished the population.


The monument is located on Ambion Hill and the ground which slopes down to woodland on the south side. It is adjacent to the site of the battle of Bosworth and includes earthwork remains of the site of a deserted medieval village.

The village earthworks occupy an extensive area measuring over 160 x 180m. They are contained by a boundary ditch on the south side which is 8m wide and 0.5m deep. A hollow way measuring a maximum of 4m wide and 0.75m deep runs from this boundary north-south through the centre of the site turning eastwards half-way up the slope. A number of house platforms can be identified, notable examples being on the far east and west of the area. The earthworks survive to about 1m in height.

The village appears in records between 1271 and 1303 as Anebein or Hanebein. The last known reference is in 1346 and it may have been depopulated by the plague a few years later and never reoccupied. Ambion Hill was the site of Richard III's camp before the battle of Bosworth in 1485 but there is no archaeological evidence of this on the site.

The site today is situated to the west of the battlefield visitor centre, formerly Ambion Hill Farm. Part of the site is used as a car park, the surface of which is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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:


Books and journals
Hoskins, WG, Essays in Leicestershire History, (1950)


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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