Deserted medieval village of West Hartburn, 100m north-east of Foster House


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


Ordnance survey map of Deserted medieval village of West Hartburn, 100m north-east of Foster House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 26-May-2019 at 03:57:33.


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

Darlington (Unitary Authority)
Middleton St. George
National Grid Reference:
NZ 35814 14128

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.

Although they form only part of the original village, the remains at west Hartburn survive well and have been partly documented by excavation. This type of two-row village with central green is typical of north-eastern England. Further archaeological remains will survive extensively and well.


The monument includes the abandoned remains of the medieval village of West Hartburn. The remains are visible as low, well preserved earthworks situated on gently sloping ground. The central feature of the village is a long narrow green running south-west to north-east adjacent to and parallel to the modern Mill Lane. This green is bounded on its south side by a well defined hollow way, also on a south-west to north-east axis. A row of house platforms, on which medieval buildings would have stood, fronts this hollow way. A series of enclosures of different sizes and shapes lies immediately behind the house platforms; these are the remains of the gardens, paddocks and enclosures associated with the buildings. Several of these houses and their associated yards were excavated in the 1960s and were shown to be of typical medieval long house type, that is including both human and animal housing under the same roof. Originally a similar road and a row of houses lay to the north-west of Mill Lane fronting the north-west side of the green. This row of houses is no longer visible and is not included in the scheduling. The village was originally surrounded by cultivated fields, evidence of which still survives to the west and south of the extant remains in the form of ridge and furrow fossilised in the landscape. A small area of reasonably well preserved ridge and furrow to the immediate south-west of the settlement is included in the scheduling as is the adjacent hollow way which originally provided access from the village to the fields on this side. Elsewhere the ridge and furrow is less well preserved and is therefore not included in the scheduling. A pond, now dry, situated at the eastern end of the village, is associated with the remains of other ponds immediately to the north. These lie just above the Goosepool Beck and are the remains of a set of medieval fishponds linked by water channels. The largest of these ponds measures 40m by 20m. When operational the ponds would have yielded a constant supply of food. All fences 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. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Pallister, A, Wrathmell, S, 'Medieval Rural Settlement in North-East England' in The DMV of West Hartburn, 3rd Rep. Excavation of site D..., (1990)
Still, L, Palliser, A, 'Archaeology Aeliana 4th serl 42, 187-206' in The Excavation Of One House Site In The Deserted Village Of Wesn, (1964)
Still, L, Pallister, A, 'Archaeology Aeliana 4th ser. 45, 139-148' in West Hartburn 1965. Site C, (1965)
1:2500, RCAHME, West Hartburn Deserted Medieval Village, (1991)


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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