Deserted medieval village 320m west of Quickening Cote


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011416

Date first listed: 10-Nov-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Feb-1994


Ordnance survey map of Deserted medieval village 320m west of Quickening Cote
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Feb-2019 at 18:25:17.


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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Alwinton


National Grid Reference: NT 88733 06313

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 deserted settlement at Quickening Cote survives well and is a good example of a deserted upland settlement. It will retain significant information on the nature and duration of its use.


The monument is a deserted medieval settlement, situated on gently south-east sloping ground overlooking Ridlees Burn to the south. The settlement includes the remains of at least seven rectangular steadings (farmhouses) which are visible as grass-covered banks of earth and stone 1m to 3m wide and up to a maximum height of 0.3m. Whilst the steadings are uniformly 5m wide they vary in length from 10m to 20m. Six of the steadings lie to the east of a small stream flowing southwards through the settlement into Ridlees Burn while at least one building lies to the west of the stream. Some of the steadings have small enclosures attached to their sides. The steadings are all orientated east-west except the most northerly one which lies on a north-south axis with an entrance in its east side. Documentary evidence supports the tradition that this settlement is the medieval village of Aldensheles for which there are copious records between 1242 and 1430 and again in the 17th century. The pattern elsewhere in upland Northumberland suggests a similar picture of settlement expansion in the 13th and 14th centuries which was then curbed by Scottish raids for several centuries.

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: 20921

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Charlton, D B, Day, J C, 'Archaeologia Aeliana ser 5 vol VII' in Excavation and Field Survey in Upper Redesdale part 2, (1977), 219
Harbottle, B, Newman, T G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana ser 5 Vol I' in Excavation and Survey on the Starsley Burn, North Tynedale, (1973), 140-142
NT 80 NE 08,

End of official listing