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Old Sulby medieval settlement

List Entry Summary

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.

Name: Old Sulby medieval settlement

List entry Number: 1017187


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Northamptonshire

District: Daventry

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Sulby

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 26-Jul-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Dec-1999

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 30073

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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.

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 survive also as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the central province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of rural 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. Old Sulby medieval settlement survives as an area of well defined earthworks and buried features in which evidence for the nature of the settlement will be preserved. The tofts and crofts will contain buried evidence for houses, barns and other structures, accompanied by a range of boundaries, refuse pits, wells and drainage channels, all related to the development of the settlement. Buried artefacts, in association with the buildings will provide insights into the lifestyle of the inhabitants and assist in dating the development of the settlement over time. Environmental evidence may also be preserved, illustrating the economy of the hamlet and providing further information about its agricultural regime. The church and associated cemetery will preserve buried human remains which will provide information about the population of the settlement including their diet, standard of living and life expectancy, as well as providing information about funerary practices and rituals.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the known extent of the medieval settlement of Old Sulby. The remains are sited upon land sloping gently to the south east towards a tributary of the River Avon. The village name is first recorded in the Domesday survey, with a population of 13 householders. By 1215 the settlement had been acquired by Sulby Abbey, and it is later recorded in documents of 1316 and 1334. In 1377, 89 adults paid the poll tax. By 1428, however, there were less than ten households in the village, and by the time of the Dissolution, the abbey had large areas under pasture in the parish, including a close known as Old Sulby. By 1547, 2000 sheep were being grazed in the area, and by the late 17th century only five householders paid the hearth tax. It is believed that the village itself was abandoned between 1377 and 1428 and was replaced by a number of scattered farmsteads. A church dedicated to St Botolph is recorded in the village, although it was said to have been ruinous long before 1451, and the remainder was destroyed at the Dissolution. The earthwork remains of the settlement survive up to 0.75m in height and include a broad hollow way measuring over 1m deep which crosses the site from north to south. On either side of the hollow way are the remains of several earthen building platforms set within embanked enclosures, which represent the house enclosures (or tofts) and garden sites (crofts) of the settlement. Behind the house sites are the remains of long enclosures, as wide as the houses and approximately 60m long. These acted as the allotments for the householders, and are best preserved on the eastern side of the hollow way at its southern end. Later medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains partly or wholly overlie the majority of the settlement remains suggesting that once the village was abandoned the fields were used for arable cultivation. At its southern end the hollow way leads to the river. A second hollow way crosses the centre of the settlement remains and is orientated east to west. This second hollow way also has house and garden remains irregularly arranged along either side. At the point where the two hollow ways meet is a large sub-rectangular enclosure raised at least 1.5m above the surrounding ground level, and defined by ditches measuring up to 2m deep. It is orientated east to west and measures over 40m by 35m. This may represent the location of the chapel or church recorded in documents. The settlement remains at Sulby formerly extended further to the south west, and survive as a scatter of pottery, including sherds of 12th to 14th century date, and artefacts in the plough soil. A 50m wide sample of these remains is included in the scheduling. All 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
RCHME, , 'County of Northamptonshire' in Sulby settlement remains, , Vol. iii, (1981), 184-5

National Grid Reference: SP 65484 81496


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This copy shows the entry on 26-Sep-2018 at 01:35:07.

End of official listing