Cold Hanworth medieval settlement and cultivation remains


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

West Lindsey (District Authority)
Cold Hanworth
West Lindsey (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TF 03569 83135

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 Lincolnshire Scarp and Vale sub-Province of the Central Province, which comprises a succession of scarps and vales in which clay vales with alluvial deposits and a chalk ridge, together with associated glacial deposits, form the structural framework of the landscape. There is a very dense scatter of nucleated settlements, many of which are situated in lines along favoured scarp-foot and dip-slope locations. Large numbers of medieval village sites now lie wholly or partially deserted. Densities of dispersed farmsteads are very low.

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 remains of the medieval settlement and its open field system at Cold Hanworth, 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 throughout the medieval period, giving an insight into the lifestyle of the inhabitants. The survival of parts of the open fields they cultivated contributes to our understanding of the place of the settlement in the wider medieval landscape.


The monument includes the the full extent of the surviving earthwork and buried remains of the medieval village of Cold Hanworth, a small settlement established before the late 11th century. It declined in population from the mid-14th century onwards and by the 17th century had been partly enclosed for pasture. By the 18th century it was largely depopulated. In 1863 All Saints Church was built on the site of the medieval parish church; this church, now a Listed Building Grade II known as Old Church House, and the churchyard with surrounding wall and lych-gate, also Listed Grade II, are not included in the scheduling. The surviving earthwork remains of the medieval village extend to the west, south and east of the church.

The earliest part of the village is believed to have been established near the centre of the settlement close to the church. About 50m south of the church a modern pond lies on the course of the principal street of the medieval village; the remains of this street are represented by a linear hollow way which curves eastwards from the pond over a distance of about 150m and then turns northwards to the edge of the present field. Here, running along the northern edge of the settlement, are the remains of another linear depression thought to represent a back lane of the village. Extending along both sides of the principal hollow way are a series of ditched enclosures, roughly rectangular in shape; these include house plots within which the buried remains of dwellings and outbuildings are located.

Immediately to the west and north west of the church a further area of medieval settlement remains is overlain by a series of post-medieval enclosures and buried building remains. In this area a north-south linear depression marks part of the course of a hollow way by which the settlement was formerly approached from the north. Both this hollow way and the principal east-west hollow way of the medieval village formerly extended to the south west of the monument where they intersected among further settlement remains, thought to represent an area of expansion to the village; these remains have been levelled by ploughing and no longer survive. They are not included in the scheduling.

The surviving earthworks of the medieval village are bounded on the east and west by the remains of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation. These earthworks, aligned east-west and standing to a height of up to 0.3m, represent the best surviving remains of a formerly extensive area of ridge and furrow cultivation which once surrounded the village. The cultivation remains in the westernmost part of the monument are partly overlain by a series of post-medieval enclosures.

All modern fences and gates 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.

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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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