Deserted medieval village of Hilderthorpe with associated ridge and furrow field system


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013704

Date first listed: 24-Sep-1954

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Deserted medieval village of Hilderthorpe with associated ridge and furrow field system
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bridlington

National Grid Reference: TA 17356 65396


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.

The medieval earthwork remains at Hilderthorpe survive in excellent condition and include a considerable portion of the original features of the settlement, including crofts and house platforms along street lines. There are very good historical data documenting the origin of the village from the time of the Norman Conquest, down to the 19th century.


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


The monument includes the well preserved earthwork remains of the deserted medieval village of Hilderthorpe with associated ridge and furrow field system, lying close to the modern shoreline between the Bridlington South Sands to the east and the A165 to the west, south of modern Hilderthorpe which is a suburb of Bridlington. The earthwork remains of the village are well defined banks and platforms up to 2m in height in some places and include the remains of house platforms, crofts, lanes and trackways, together with a large section of original ridge and furrow field systems to the south east of the site. A central thoroughfare, which remains clearly visible as a hollow way, winds through the site, with subsidiary tracks and lanes branching off it to the south. Excavations carried out during the cutting of a sewer trench in 1954 and 1955 demonstrated that the surface of the main thoroughfare was of puddled chalk set within the matrix of subsoil and strengthened with small stones, and that it was ditched on either side. A sherd of 15th century date found in a sealed re-cut ditch context, suggests that the original ditch and the road itself are of an earlier date. The arrangement of trackways, earthen platforms and field systems all demonstrate that the village had a main east-west alignment. Rectangular earthen mounds identified as house platforms lie adjacent to the trackways and thoroughfare, whilst the central building remains have been identified as the manor. The site is now partly destroyed by the development of the modern suburbs of Bridlington, and by housing estates and drainage operations to the south side of the site. Medieval structures were found and recorded during the cutting of a sewer trench through part of the site in 1954. The township of Hilderthorpe, covering 455 acres in 1850 was originally probably a Scandinavian settlement, as evidenced by the old Danish derivation of the Domesday spelling of the name as Hilgretorp, meaning Hildiger's Village. The Domesday survey of 1086 groups two settlements of Hilgertorp and Wiflestorp (Wilsthorpe with Bretlington - Bridlington) together as being in the hands of the king, with six villeins and land for one plough on the estate here. In the Hundred Rolls of 1279 land rented to Clibert in Hilgretorp was assessed at ten shillings. In 1334, the lay subsidy or tax quota was set at 16 shillings. This was revised during the mid 14th and mid 15th centuries with the intention of relieving the tax burden on those villages which were experiencing difficulties meeting their tax obligations. There were 56 poll-taxpayers in 1377. Some 60% of the population died during the Black Death, after which the population decline of the village seems a long and gradual one. Thirteen able bodied men are recorded as being mustered here in 1539. Eight households were liable to or exempt from the hearth tax in 1670. In 1801, the villages of Hilderthorpe and Wilsthorpe had only 40 recorded residents between them. During the course of the later 19th century to the present, the site of Hilderthorpe has been almost completely subsumed within the suburbs of Bridlington to the north. The monument is now the site of the Bridlington Golf Club. With the exception of modern earthworks forming elements of the golf course, all above ground amenities, fixtures and fittings are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 26524

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Beresford, MW, Hurst, JG, Deserted Medieval Villages , (1971), 167
Beresford, M, Lost Villages of England, (1954), 275
Brewster, T C M, Armstrong, P, Hough. P, , 'East Riding Archaeologist' in Excavations At Hilderthorpe, , Vol. Vol 2, (1975), 71-76
Bastow, M.E., AM107, (1989)
Bastow, M.E., AM107, (1990)
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)
Pacitto, A.C., AM107, (1984)
plate III, Humberside SMR, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, YAJ, (1955)

End of official listing