Medieval settlement at Brookhampton


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016439

Date first listed: 21-Feb-2000


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement at Brookhampton
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)

Parish: Butlers Marston

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)

Parish: Combrook

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon (District Authority)

Parish: Kineton

National Grid Reference: SP 31810 50595


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. This monument lies in the Inner Midlands sub-Province of the Central Province, an area characterised by large numbers of nucleated settlements, both surviving and deserted, many of which are thought to have been established in Anglo-Saxon times. Most of the sub-Province's thinly scattered dispersed settlements were created in post-medieval times, but some of the local regions are characterised by higher proportions of dispersed dwellings and hamlets, which probably mark the patchy survival of older landscapes. The Stour-Avon-Soar Clay Vales local region is dominated by village and hamlet settlements. It was once characterised by large townfields under communal cultivation, traces which survive as ridge and furrow earthworks. It contains the sites of many depopulated villages and hamlets, perhaps up to one third of the total number of such settlements which existed in the Middle Ages.

The medieval settlement at Brookhampton demonstrates a high level of preservation, including good buried earthwork remains of a variety of settlement features. Their high level of preservation, without any major recent disturbance, will be expected to provide evidence for the structural remains of a range of domestic dwellings and their ancillary and agricultural buildings. This will provide information about the relative wealth and activities of the members of the community as well as their standards of living. Changing methods and forms of housing and building techniques will also be illustrated, as well as the development of the technologies of agriculture and changing patterns of subsistence. Domestic artefacts and environmental deposits which are believed to be preserved in and around the buildings will also provide evidence for daily life in the community. The crofts will include evidence for use of the private areas of land by individual tenants in comparison to the activities undertaken in common land and public space such as the great fields and greens of the settlement.

In addition, surviving post-medieval manorial features, including the fishponds and garden remains will illuminate the organisation and exploitation of the demesne lands of a manorial complex after the abandonment of the main settlement. Being constructed as part of a complete redevelopment of the site, by a wealthy owner, they will be expected to incorporate many fashionable features and technological advances, and will also reflect something of the aspirations of the rising country gentry. In addition the waterlogged conditions will be expected to preserve environmental evidence relating to the natural environment and climatic conditions in the region.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the medieval settlement of Brookhampton, located upon the south facing slopes of a hillside above the River Dene. The settlement includes the remains of the manor house, the medieval fishpond complex, house sites, gardens and allotments of the medieval village, and its associated hollow ways, field boundaries, enclosures and ridge and furrow cultivation remains. Parch marks, or areas of brown or dying grass which occur where stone remains lie close beneath the surface, are visible at the site during dry summers and indicate that the buildings were constructed from stone, which is relatively rare among the villages of the Warwickshire claylands.

Brookhampton was mentioned by Rous around 1450 when it is already thought to have been depopulated. A mill is subsequently recorded here during the 1540s although its site is no longer visible, and a poor law dispute concerning the manor is recorded in the 1660s.

An area of regular tofts (homestead and crofts, allotments or extended garden plots) defined by banks and ditches and laid out along the side of a road in an east to west orientation lie just below the crest of the hill to the west of the manor house. The manorial complex lay in the eastern part of the monument, at the head of the street where Brookhampton Farm, a largely post- medieval stone built farm house, now occupies the site. The manorial complex lay in the vicinity of the present farmhouse, and is believed to include the site of the medieval manor house and associated buildings and fishponds. A banked and terraced enclosure survives to the west of the present farmhouse, which is thought to represent part of the enclosure of the manorial site, although the terracing may represent later landscaping of the garden area around the post-medieval dwelling. The modern house and its ancillary buildings are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

Super-imposed upon the settlement site are the remains of a post-medieval fishpond complex which includes a chain of three sub-rectangular stew ponds. These are located to the south and west of the manor, with the westernmost stew pond occupying several tofts of the settlement.

The main street running between the two rows of tofts and crofts, led towards the village fields in the west, and is partially followed by the modern public footpath along a field track. The building platforms are best preserved on the northern, and upslope, side of the street, where several are clearly visible and measure between 15m and 20m wide and approximately 20m long. These would be expected to contain the buried remains of several phases of medieval domestic dwellings and their ancillary buildings.

The crofts are defined by boundary banks measuring up to 0.75m high and 1m to 2m wide. These delineate regular enclosures, approximately 30m long and as wide as the house platforms, to the south of the house sites. The northern boundary of the tofts is clearly visible as a large bank, enclosing the settlement, up to 1m high and 2m to 3m wide orientated east to west running to the north of the building platforms. It is best preserved in the eastern part of the monument where it survives for 20m to 30m, orientated east to west, before turning through 90 degrees to run south for approximately 15m. This represents the eastern extent of the settlement, beyond which medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains survive, a sample of which are included in the scheduling.

A second row of houses stood to the south of the main street, mid-way down the hill, and orientated east to west parallel with the top row of houses approximately on a level with the site of the manor house. Although several building platforms and the remnants of tofts boundaries can still be seen, these house remains are less clear, being obscured in the southern part of the monument by the pond systems which were subsequently laid out over the settlement remains. A third row of buildings is located at the west of the village, where the slope of the hill is gentler. These were orientated north to south, running down the slope of the hill, rather than across it. At least three enclosures with building platforms survive in this part of the settlement. To the west of these enclosures are further medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains marking the western extent of the settlement.

Several hollow ways orientated north to south, cross the arrangement of tofts and crofts and run down the slope towards the stream at the southern extent of the settlement. These hollow ways are believed to be access routes to the water source. Any settlement remains which may have survived to the south of the stream have been obscured by the later railway embankment and cuttings and this area is not therefore included in the scheduling.

Brookhampton manor house and its ancillary buildings, all modern surfaces and modern post and wire fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 30043

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Beresford, M W, Deserted Medieval Villages of Warwickshire, (1945), 87
Various SMR Officers, Unpublished noted, 1990, notes in SMR file

End of official listing