Gilby medieval settlement and cultivation remains


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016795

Date first listed: 12-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Gilby medieval settlement and cultivation remains
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Nov-2018 at 16:22:10.


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

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Corringham

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Pilham

National Grid Reference: SK 86500 93133


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 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, 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. Villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life in central England, 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 settlements 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-teams produced long, wide ridges, and the resultant `ridge and furrow' where it survives is the most obvious physical indication of the open field system. Individual strips or lands were laid out in groups known as furlongs, which were in turn grouped into large open fields. Well preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context adjacent to settlement earthworks, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the historic landscape.

The medieval settlement of Gilby, and the remains of its open field system, survive well as a series of substantial earthworks. As a result of detailed archaeological survey and historical research they are quite well understood. The remains of house plots will preserve valuable evidence for domestic and economic activities on the site through both the medieval and post-medieval periods, giving an insight into the lifestyle of the inhabitants. The association of the village remains with those of its open fields will also preserve evidence for the economy of the settlement and its place in the wider medieval landscape.


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


The monument includes the full extent of surviving remains of the village of Gilby, which was established by the early 12th century and occupied throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods. The first reference to the village in historical documents occurs in 1138-9. Throughout the medieval period it is recorded as a secondary settlement to Pilham, which lies 0.5km to the north. A source of 1616 indicates that Gilby had become partly depopulated by that date, although it continued to be occupied as a small hamlet through the 17th and 18th centuries. By 1842 it was finally reduced to a single farm.

Gilby is situated on a small knoll on the eastern side of the Trent Valley. The surviving remains of the medieval village occupy a south-facing slope adjacent to Gilby Farm, and take the form of a series of substantial earthworks standing up to 0.5m-0.7m in height. Extending north-south down the slope through the middle of the settlement is a long linear depression or hollow way representing the principal road through the village before the present Corringham Road was established across earlier fields to the west.

Along the western side of the hollow way are a series of four raised rectangular enclosures representing house plots. Adjacent to the rear of these plots are lower-lying remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. They represent the only surviving part of a large open field which formerly extended to the west of the village. Further remains of ridge and furrow are evident on the east side of the hollow way, where ditches mark post-medieval enclosures established over earlier fields. A series of depressions at the centre of the monument indicates the remains of a group of post-medieval buildings which were still standing in the early 19th century.

In the southern part of the settlement, medieval and post-medieval enclosures have been laid out on low-lying ground near the stream, separated by a linear bank from further remains of ridge and furrow cultivation to the east. The monument thus includes the only surviving parts of a once extensive area of open fields cultivated by the medieval occupants of the village of Gilby.

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: 22758

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing