Petlinge medieval settlement remains 170m north of Whitehouse Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017214

Date first listed: 24-Nov-1999


Ordnance survey map of Petlinge medieval settlement remains 170m north of Whitehouse Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 09-Dec-2018 at 21:24:59.


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

County: Leicestershire

District: Harborough (District Authority)

Parish: Peatling Magna

National Grid Reference: SP 59572 92843


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 the organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans vary 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. 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 divided 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 defined by terminal headlands at the plough turning-points and lateral grass baulks. Furlongs were in turn grouped into large open fields. Well preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context adjacent 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.

Petlinge medieval settlement remains 170m north of Whitehouse Farm survive well as a series of substantial earthworks and buried deposits which have been largely undisturbed since their abandonment. The survival of archaeological deposits relating to their occupation and use is likely to be good. These deposits will contain information about the dating, layout and economy of the medieval settlement of Petlinge. Together with contemporary documents relating to the village, this will provide a good opportunity to understand the mechanisms behind the development, decline and eventual abandonment of areas of the settlement.


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


The monument includes medieval settlement remains and a sample of the adjoining field systems, situated 170m north of Whitehouse Farm. Further areas of settlement remains are located approximately 400m to the south and are the subject of a separate scheduling. Part of Petlinge (now known as Peatling Magna) between the two monuments is still inhabited.

The remains represent areas of the village abandoned in the post-medieval period and are principally orientated in relation to a hollow way up to 8m in width and 1m in depth which runs south east from the present Main Street for approximately 250m. The hollow way was a main thoroughfare through the north eastern area of the medieval settlement and the location of houses adjacent to its northern and southern sides are indicated by a number of low sub-circular mounds. The houses were associated with a series of rectangular paddocks or gardens of varying size which were also situated along the northern and southern sides of the hollow way and are visible as ditches up to 3m in width and 0.75m in depth. A further series of enclosures and house platforms on the western side of the hollow way survive in a paddock immediately south of the Croft and extend to the edge of Main Street. The remains in this area include a rectangular building platform adjacent to Main Street and set against the south western boundary of the paddock. The platform is up to 0.45m in height and measures approximately 30m east to west and 18m north to south. A trackway immediately to the north of the platform is defined by a low causeway running east to west, whilst a 65m length of curvilinear ditch at the eastern ends of the causeway and house platform comprise one side of a `T'-shaped boundary, the long axis of which of which runs east to west along the southern side of the paddock. A further possible building platform is situated on the south eastern side of the paddock.

The hollow way and the associated enclosures on its northern and eastern sides overlie an extensive area of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation which continues southwards beyond the settlement. A representative sample of this ridge and furrow has been included in the scheduling in order to preserve its relationship with the medieval settlement.

At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 the village of Petlinge was held for the King by Godwin the priest, Robert de Buci and Countess Judith. Countess Judith, sister of William the Conqueror inherited the land from her husband, Earl Waltheof, who had held it prior to the Norman Conquest but was beheaded in 1075 for treason. There were at least two manors within the village. One was held by the de Ferrers family from at least 1343 until 1445, when it passed through marriage to the Grey family of Groby. The other was held by the Abbot of St Ebrulph in Normandy from at least 1216 until 1414 when it was seized by the Crown and subsequently given to the Carthusian priory of Shene in Surrey. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the manor was later granted, in 1547, by Henry VIII to Thomas Villers and Nicholas Beaumont, eventually reverting to John Jervis. After the seizure of the manor by Elizabeth I, it was restored to the Jervis family in 1568 and remained in their ownership until the end of the 18th century. In 1528, 35 families were recorded in Peatling Magna, the number increasing to 62 by 1564, but declining back again to 32 by 1801.

All fences and feed troughs are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

A small pond in the south east corner of the monument is totally excluded from the scheduling.

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: 30284

Legacy System: RSM


Farnham, G., Leicestershire Medieval Village Notes, 1935,
Hartley, R F, (1981)
Leicestershire County Council, SP 59 SE AB,
RCHME, NMR Printout: SP 59 SE 14,
Title: Source Date: 1885 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing