Tri-Focal Deserted Medieval village, Chellington.


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013277

Date first listed: 06-Apr-1956

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Apr-1990


Ordnance survey map of Tri-Focal Deserted Medieval village, Chellington.
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Bedford (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Carlton and Chellington

National Grid Reference: SP 96113 56409, SP 96704 56283


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

Reasons for Designation

This site survives as well preserved earthworks over a large part of its original area and as such is an unusual and therefore important survival in this area of lowland England where the majority of comparable sites have fallen victim of agricultural improvements. The range of visible surviving remains, which includes hollow ways, greens or commons, tofts and crofts, house platforms, quarries, fishponds and an extensive field system is of particular note. Furthermore buried remains are thought to be well preserved across the whole of the site. Additionally the site is well documented from the medieval period by surviving texts and maps. Recent detailed archaeological survey has also significantly improved understanding of the site. Taken together these various factors combine to make this site of considerable importance for studies of the development of medieval nucleated settlement.


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


The deserted medieval village of Chellington survives as an extensive set of inter-related earthworks featuring deep hollow ways which link together three complexes of enclosures and house platforms, or "Ends". Fields marked by patterns of ridge-and- furrow exist between and around the ends. This arrangement of settlement can be classified as a "dispersed plan with greens", and is a characteristic village form of the Southern Midland Plain. A similar example may be found at Hardmead in Bucks. The modern parish of Carlton-cum-Chellington appears to have been formed by the amalgamation of the two parishes under the ownership of the Trailly family in 1359. Before this time the village of Chellington, with its three clusters of houses, occupied the top of the hill around St. Nicholas' church and on the main east-west route through the region. One cluster, that closest to the church, was located at the junction of two main routeways and was the largest of the groups of houses in the village. It appears to have had a regular layout and may have included the principal house of the settlement. A second, smaller and more haphazard cluster, colonised the common ground at the eastern end of the settlement while the smallest group, perhaps just a few houses, occupied the area around modern Lodge Farm. Each cluster was surrounded by open fields cultivated in narrow strips which gave rise to the characteristic ridge-and-furrow pattern of earthworks still visible in the unploughed areas. The trackways between the clusters, and particularly the main east-west route, became heavily worn and formed the deep hollow ways so evident today. When the parishes were amalgamated, a new settlement on the boundaries of the two former parishes grew up and the disparate village of Chellington gradually became abandoned. The later occupants made use of the increased amount of land available for cultivation, as shown where ridge-and-furrow overlies building plots and former boundaries.

By 1797, when an accurate map was drawn in advance of parliamentary enclosure, only a few houses were left at Chellington, and the sites of the two modern farms appear as the main buildings of the former settlement. The map records field names which may bear no resemblance to the medieval field names but some are of particular interest. The field beside Hill Farm, for example, is named "Home Close", suggesting that it lies near the historic focus of the settlement. The common land on which the eastern cluster of houses had been sited is named as "Ruff's green" and "Ruff's Close", a corruption of `rough'. Opposite the church is a field marked as "Glebe" which indicates ownership at some stage by the clergy. The visible remaining elements of the village include prominent hollow ways, especially that running south-eastwards from Hill Farm, one noticeable green 220m. south-east of Lodge Farm, a number of tofts and crofts, several ponds and numerous isolated house platforms with their clay pits. The layout of the fields around the village is particularly clear between Hill Farm and Lodge Farm where the pattern of ridge-and-furrow betrays the position of medieval field boundaries. Such a close correspondence between historical and archaeological evidence is rare, and Chellington forms an excellent opportunity to see how settlement in this part of Bedfordshire evolved through the medieval period. Excluded from the scheduling is an area between Hill Farm and Freer's Wood in which the original earthworks have been ploughed out and hence lost.

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: 12704

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Taylor, C C, 'Archaeological Journal' in The Deserted Village of Chellington, , Vol. 139, (1982), 21-2
Beds Record Office X 1/79, (1798)
See hard copy for full references, CUAP HF41, LS 76, XT 18, AAO 43-5, AMS 14/16. RAF 58/2640 etc,

End of official listing