Broxholme medieval settlement and cultivation remains


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016797

Date first listed: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Broxholme medieval settlement and cultivation remains
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Feb-2019 at 18:34:13.


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

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Broxholme

National Grid Reference: SK 91113 77856

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 remains at Broxholme, and those of its open field system, survive well as a series of substantial earthworks. As a result of detailed archaeological survey and documentary research, made possible by the preservation of an outstanding series of historic maps, they are unusually well understood. The remains of house plots conserve 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.


The monument includes the known extent of the surviving earthwork and buried remains of the medieval village of Broxholme and its former open fields. The settlement is thought to have expanded during the medieval period from an original core near the church, and historical sources indicate that it retained its size throughout the post-medieval period. By 1600 there were 25 house plots in the village. During the post-medieval period the present Main Street was established over an earlier open field, and in the 1840s the village was entirely replanned with the abandonment of a large area of former settlement. The church and rectory were also rebuilt in the 19th century and are not included in the scheduling. The surviving earthwork remains of the medieval village are situated on the east side of Main Street between the church and Manor Farm.

In the north western corner of the settlement are the remains of a large rectangular enclosure; on the south it is bounded by a broad hollow way representing the main road through the medieval village, and on the east by a ditch marking the course of a former track. Early maps indicate that this was one of the principal properties in the village, and the buried remains of a number of different buildings, fronting on various sides of the enclosure, survive within it. Adjacent to the east are a series of depressions which mark the remains of further house plots fronting onto the main hollow way and the track running north from it. To the south of these features is a linear depression running roughly east-west and representing a hollow way which is thought to indicate the southernmost extent of the earliest part of the medieval village.

In the central part of the settlement the main hollow way extends on a north-south alignment roughly parallel with Main Street. Along its eastern side are a series of small rectangular enclosures representing house plots which were occupied throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods. Small depressions along the street frontage mark the remains of former dwellings. Earthworks on the south side of a modern drain indicate the position of a group of buildings which remained standing until the 20th century.

The western and southern areas of the settlement are occupied by the substantial earthwork remains of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation. These represent the only surviving remains of a large open field which extended to the west of the medieval settlement and was cut through in the post-medieval period by the present Main Street. The ridges, which are aligned east-west, stand up to 0.3m in height and are bounded on the east by a headland which stands up to 2m above the adjacent hollow way. Near the centre they have been cut into by a later pond. The hollow way extends to the south and was formerly adjoined on the south east by further settlement enclosures; these features, which are thought to have marked a relatively short-lived expansion of the village onto earlier arable land, are no longer evident and are not included in the scheduling.

All modern fences and gates 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: 22760

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing