Bittesby deserted medieval village

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012563

Date first listed: 07-Oct-1954

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Nov-1992

Map

Ordnance survey map of Bittesby deserted medieval village
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Leicestershire

District: Harborough (District Authority)

Parish: Bittesby

National Grid Reference: SP 50079 85757

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 partly disturbed, the deserted medieval village at Bittesby contains earthworks in good condition and retains high archaeological potential. The village is documented historically and, unusually, the period of desertion is known.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

Bittesby deserted village site lies 400m north of the A5 Watling Street and 4km west of Lutterworth and consists of earthworks to the east of a former railway line. The village earthworks comprise hollow ways and house platforms. A ditch up to 1m deep runs along the north of the area, near to which is some faced stonework indicating the site of a chapel known to have existed there. A north-south flowing stream runs on the eastern side of the site, down to which several hollow ways run, the largest of which is 12m wide and up to 2m deep. Bittesby is listed in Domesday Book and in 1279 the village was made up of 25 families. Enclosure and depopulation is recorded in 1488 and 1494, and by 1536 only the Salisbury family was left.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 17034

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Hoskins, WG, Essays in Leicestershire History, (1950), 93

End of official listing