Shrunken medieval village at Sadberge


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


Ordnance survey map of Shrunken medieval village at Sadberge
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jul-2019 at 21:15:48.


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

Darlington (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NZ 34147 17184, NZ 34324 17087

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.

The remains of the shrunken village of Sadberge survive well and provide a good example of village shrinkage, including both abandoned house plots and part of the associated enclosures and field system.


The monument includes remains of the shrunken medieval village of Sadberge, situated in pasture fields immediately north of the present village. The monument is divided into two separate areas by the modern road running north- south through the modern village. This modern road follows the line of the medieval road and the surviving remains within the monument demonstrate that the village once extended further north than at present. East of the road, there are a series of land plots, orientated north-east to south-west, formed by parallel earthen banks on average 1m high. A prominent hollow way, orientated north-south and measuring 4.5m wide and 0.5m deep, cuts the earthworks and runs towards the present village. To the east of the hollow way there are traces of the medieval fields associated with the village in the form of ridge and furrow cultivation. A rectangular area 11m by 8.5m situated on the west side of the hollow way represents the buried foundations of a small building. To the west of the modern road there are further banks and ditches. The banks are on average 0.5m high, and form several land plots orientated east to west and measuring 60m by 20m. The eastern end of one plot is occupied by the buried foundations of a medieval long-house. To the north of these linear plots there is a large, roughly rectangular enclosure 87m by 50m. In its south-east corner there are the earthwork remains of several houses fronting onto the line of an old village street, which is visible as a narrow linear strip running north-south. The fence line which runs across the protected area at the northern end of the field, east of the modern road, and the small brick building situated at the northern end of the field west of the modern road are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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
Gould, I C, The Victoria History of the County of Durham: Volume I, (1905), 353
Austin, D (DMVRG) to D, PL, D, PL, AM 12, (1972)
NZ 31 NW 02,


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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