Raventhorpe medieval settlement earthworks immediately south west of Raventhorpe Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

North Lincolnshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 93595 07948

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 last 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the Trent sub-Province of the Central Province, where the broad Trent valley swings in a great arc across midland England. Underlain by heavy clays, it is given variety by superficial glacial and alluvial deposits. Although treated as a single sub-Province, it has many subtle variations. Generally, it is characterised by a great number of villages and hamlets which cluster thickly along scarp-foot and scarp-tail zones, locations suitable for exploiting the contrasting terrains. Throughout the sub-Province there are very low and extremely low densities of dispersed farmsteads, some of which are ancient, but most of which are 18th-century and later movement of farms out of earlier villages.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, generally sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but where they survive as earthworks, their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and paddocks. They frequently included the parish church within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system, most villages included one or more manorial centres which may also survive as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the Central Province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life, and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. The settlement remains include complete ground plans of small houses as well as earthwork evidence for the overall layout of the village. Additional buried remains such as rubbish pits, yard surfaces, and spreads of deposits such as smithing wastes will add to the understanding of medieval village life, but will not necessarily show as upstanding earthworks. Raventhorpe is of particular importance for the substantial nature of the building earthworks and for the survival of early 13th century documentation detailing the land owned by Peterborough Abbey.


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the medieval settlement of Raventhorpe which are located immediately to the south west of Raventhorpe Farm. It is sited on gently sloping ground at the foot of the west facing Lincoln Edge scarp and was one of a series of spring line settlements. In 1086 the Domesday Book records that part of Raventhorpe, along with several neighbouring manors, was in the possession of St Peter's Abbey, Peterborough. The other landholder was Asketill who had land enough for four plough teams. The abbey's manor included 12 acres of meadow, a plough team, five villagers and four small holders who also had a plough team. Raventhorpe was valued at six pounds before 1066 but was reduced to a quarter of this value by 1086. In 1216 the land owned by Peterborough Abbey, which was part of Twigmore Grange to the south west, was conveyed to the Cistercian abbey at Louth Park. The document recording this transaction also notes a number of details about the area, including the sizes of common pastures and that there was a priest at Raventhorpe. It is thought that the settlement was cleared some time later to increase the land available for sheep which became highly profitable in the late medieval period. The monument includes a row of building remains along the west side of the north-south trackway to Raventhorpe Farm. These survive as earthworks, some with exposed stone rubble standing up to 0.7m high, and appear to represent at least ten small buildings. An old sunken trackway runs immediately to the west of these earthworks leading towards the farm and this cuts through some of the building earthworks at the south end of the row. About 50m to the west of this trackway there is a large building platform with the earthworks of a building approximately 25m by 15m, orientated east-west. These are the remains of the largest building within the monument and because of its orientation it has been identified as the remains of a small chapel. A low bank 20m to the south encloses a level area which is identified as the associated churchyard. Further down the hill to the west there are the low earthworks of at least three small, two and three celled buildings which are considered to be the remains of either small medieval peasant houses or outbuildings associated with the building remains on the east side of the monument. The telegraph poles supporting the electricity lines that cross the monument 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.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Record Card, North Lincolnshire SMR, 1828,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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