Tusmore medieval settlement


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015548

Date first listed: 10-Nov-1959

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of Tusmore medieval settlement
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Nov-2018 at 15:08:32.


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

County: Oxfordshire

District: Cherwell (District Authority)

Parish: Hardwick with Tusmore

National Grid Reference: SP 56079 30849


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

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more. The South Midlands local region is large, and capable of further subdivision. Strongly banded from south west to north east, it comprises a broad succession of clay vales and limestone or marlstone ridges, complicated by local drifts which create many subtle variations in terrain. The region is in general dominated by nucleated villages of medieval origin, with isolated farmsteads, mostly of post-medieval date, set in the spaces between them. Depopulated village sites are common, and moated sites are present on the claylands.

The Tusmore settlement survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built. In addition, it is well documented and is known to be one of a small number of sites which can be shown to have been abandoned as a result of the Black Death.


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


The monument includes the remains of the medieval settlement of Tusmore, the original line of the road through the village, a moated enclosure and part of a boundary bank around the settlement. The remains survive in part as upstanding earthworks in the later landscaped layout of Tusmore Park, situated about 3km north of Ardley. The earthworks consist of a series of building platforms and hollow ways either side of the original north to south road on the line of which the village grew up. These earthworks are clearly visible despite later landscaping and the presence of water channels associated with the artificial lake to the east. The village appears to have been centred on a roughly square moated enclosure which measures about 35m across and is probably the location of the original manorial buildings. The north end of the village is defined by an earthwork bank about 2m wide and up to 1m high, beyond which lies a partly infilled ditch about 1.5m wide. There are further earthwork sections in the woods to the west which may have originally formed part of the village boundary, along with a clearly visible earthwork ditch to the south east of the village. The area defined by the visible boundary earthworks measures about 500m from north to south, although the core of the village lay within 300m of the road with enclosed fields beyond. In 1279 the village is known to have had 23 households. However, by 1355 it was given full relief from the payment of tax and two years later the road through the village was diverted to the west. At this time it is recorded that the village was `void of inhabitants'. The settlement is unusual because it is one of only a few examples nationally known to have been abandoned as a result of the Black Death which spread across the country less than ten years before. How many of the inhabitants died and how many left out of fear is not known, but by 1428 there were again some inhabitants settled here with ten households present, although the village was never to regain its former position. Later still the village was landscaped into the grounds of Tusmore House and estate workers were housed in a model style village further east. Excluded from the scheduling are all boundary fences and the wooden bridge across the open drain, although the ground beneath is included.

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: 28141

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Beresford, M, Lost Villages of England, (1954), p382
PRN 1076, C.A.O., Tusmore deserted medieval village, (1990)
PRN 1076, C.A.O., Tusmore deserted village, (1990)

End of official listing