Medieval village and field system remains immediately south of Bradley Hall
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jul-2019 at 01:42:50.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
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 Cheshire Plain sub-Province of the Northern and
Western Province, a gently rolling plain of red marl covered by ice-carried
clays, sands and gravels. It is diversified by occasional sandstone
escarpments, notably the Central Cheshire Ridge east of the Dee valley. It has
lower densities of nucleated settlements than surrounding areas, and high
concentrations of dispersed farmsteads and small hamlets. In the Wirral and
the lower Dee and Weaver valleys, the settlement mix is different, with low
and medium densities of dispersed farmsteads intermixed with more frequent
villages. Domesday Book records a thin scatter of settlement in the Wirral,
the Dee lowlands and the central and southern plain in 1086, with much
Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when 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 small enclosed 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. Medieval villages were supported by a communal system of agriculture based on large unenclosed open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into strips (known as lands) which were allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of these strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen produced long wide ridges and the resultant `ridge and furrow' where it survives is the most obvious indication of an open field system. Individual strips or lands were laid out in groups known as furlongs defined by terminal headlands at the plough turning points and lateral grass balks. Furlongs were in turn grouped into large open fields. Well-preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context next to village earthworks, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the historic landscape. It is usually now covered by the hedges and walls of subsequent field enclosure. The medieval village at Bradley Hall together with a section of open field cultivation remains are an important survival of an abandoned settlement in west Cheshire where few such remains survive. There is some waterlogging on the south side of the site which will preserve timber remains and other organic materials which will provide information on the way of life and economy of the former inhabitants.
The monument includes the earthwork remains of a medieval settlement and a
part of the original field system in the field immediately south of Bradley
Hall Farm. Some of the present farm buildings are Victorian but there is a
strong presumption that this was the site of an older hall which formed part
of a village complex, first recorded in 1259.
The earthwork remains lie to the north of a small stream and consist of seven
platforms for houses aligned beside a trackway which runs north east-south
west through the village. To the west of these house platforms there is an
area of ridge and furrow cultivation which has been somewhat flattened by
later land use. This was a small part of the open fields connected to this
settlement. Other remains of the original field system were visible at Bradley
Bridge and around Milmoor Farm to the north of the hall in aerial photographs
taken in 1947.
Post and wire fences and a wooden fence around the southern edge of the
bungalow garden are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them 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:
Books and journals
Dodgson, J, The Place Names of Cheshire, Volume 4, (1972), 11
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