Deserted medieval village of Ulnaby


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008972

Date first listed: 13-Jul-1994


Ordnance survey map of Deserted medieval village of Ulnaby
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Feb-2019 at 20:09:55.


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

District: Darlington (Unitary Authority)

Parish: High Coniscliffe

National Grid Reference: NZ 22706 17045

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 medieval village of Ulnaby is extensive and exceptionally well preserved. It retains valuable evidence within and beneath its archaeological deposits and will add to our understanding of medieval settlement and economy in this area.


The monument includes an exceptionally well preserved deserted medieval village surrounding the present buildings of Ulnaby Hall. Earthworks of various types survive across the whole of the site. The surviving settlement focus now lies to the east of Ulnaby Hall. Here, earthwork banks define a series of adjacent rectangular enclosures orientated north-south and measuring on average 70m by 40m. The banks surrounding these enclosures are 4m wide and 0.4m high. Within these large enclosures are the earthwork remains of rectangular buildings, the houses of the village. South of these enclosures, and east of the modern farm, is an open area interpreted as part of the village green. Similar earthwork remains including further building foundations are ranged around the east and south sides of this green. Originally the settlement remains would have extended further west onto the area now occupied by Ulnaby Hall. In the north of the site, north of the Hall, the rectangular enclosures are all bounded by a trackway which runs east-west across the site and provided access from the village into the adjacent fields. To the north of this trackway, remains of these fields survive as well preserved rig and furrow running north-south from the track. The medieval field systems would originally have extended into the fields around the monument but they no longer survive there. All field boundaries which surround or cross the area of the scheduling, the water tank to the south east of the farm buildings and the electricity wires which cross the site from east to west are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them 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: 20961

Legacy System: RSM


NZ 21 NW 25,

End of official listing