Mackworth medieval settlement including the castle gatehouse, part of the medieval open field system and a pinfold
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1017258
Date first listed: 03-Jul-1933
Date of most recent amendment: 14-Dec-1999
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Amber Valley (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SK 31238 37783, SK 31328 37836, SK 31627 37876, SK 31785 37481, SK 32008 37751
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. They frequently include the parish church within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages include one or more manorial centres which may also survive as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. 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 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 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. It is usually now covered by the hedges or walls of subsequent field enclosure. Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military aspect while remaining practically indefensible. Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further back. Pinfolds were in most regular use during the medieval period when straying cattle and sheep were common in the open fields which had no hedges or fences to control animals. Pinfolds continued in use until the enclosures of the 18th and 19th centuries. The standing buried and earthwork remains of the abandoned areas of the medieval settlement of Mackworth and Mackworth Castle gatehouse are particularly well preserved. The remains are extensive and as such provide a good picture of the layout of the medieval village and how it fitted within the wider landscape. Taken as a whole the medieval settlement remains of Mackworth will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the development, status, organisation and decline of medieval settlement in the area.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the abandoned areas
of Mackworth medieval settlement and part of the associated open field
system. It also includes the standing and buried remains of the 15th century
gatehouse, which formerly led to the courtyard of the fortified manor house
known as Mackworth Castle. The monument is within five areas of protection;
three to the north of Lower Road and two to the south.
The settlement is linear in design and lies on a south east to north west
alignment with houses positioned either side of Lower Road. Lower Road is
medieval in origin and provides the only route through the village but has
been bypassed, to the south, by Ashbourne Road which itself originated as a
post-medieval turnpike road.
Mackworth is first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it is recorded
that Macheuorde, as it was then known, was a berewick of Marchetone
(Markeaton). A berewick was a settlement which was physically separate from
the village where the lord lived but was still governed as part of the
manorial estate. There was, at this time, a priest and church recorded on the
manor but this was at nearby Markeaton, not Mackworth. There was certainly a
church at Mackworth by 1200 when Mathew Touchet was recorded as the rector
there, but no evidence of such an early church is visible in the architecture
of the present church building, the earliest remains of which are thought to
date to the late 14th century.
At the western end of the settlement, in the first area of protection, to the
north of Lower Road, are the standing and buried remains of Mackworth Castle
gatehouse. The standing remains, which are Listed Grade I, comprise the facade
and part of the outer side walls of a two storey sandstone building. On the
ground floor is a round arched central gateway which, originally, would have
been flanked by side chambers containing staircases, leading to the guard
chamber on the upper floor. The remains of these staircases, together with the
floors and wall foundations of the side chambers, will survive as buried
features beneath the relatively modern brick outbuildings now flanking the
gate. The walls of these later structures probably also conceal architectural
detail which will provide further evidence of the arrangements within the
gatehouse. The medieval floor of the gate passage will also survive as a
buried feature beneath the modern farm track which passes through the gate.
The surviving walls of the first floor guardchamber exhibit evidence of a
fireplace and show that the room was lit by straight headed, two light
windows. There is likely to have been access to the roof which is crenellated
and has corner turrets. The facade of the building is decorated above the
gateway with carved stone heads and waterspouts.
The precise origins of Mackworth Castle are unclear. It is possible that the
15th century fortified manorial complex was built on the same site as earlier
timber built complexes dating back to the 11th century. The castle, better
described as a fortified house, itself may have been built some time after
August 1404 when the brothers John and Thomas Mackworth were granted the right
to bear part of the arms of Audley and Touchet. Thomas was founder of the
family line that subsequently held the estate at Mackworth until, according to
a Deed of Conveyance dated 16th June 1655, it was sold by Sir Thomas Mackworth
to Sir John Curzon.
To the north and west of Castle Farm and extending down to Mackworth Brook are
earthworks which survive up to a height of approximately 0.75m. Included
within these are two large building platforms, that to the west of the farm
measures approximately 41m by 32m and that to the north measures 42m by 34m.
Both platforms are defined by ditches but that to the west also has an
internal bank. To the east of the northernmost platform are further earthworks
which suggest the remains of other medieval buildings. The earthworks in the
southern part of this area indicate a courtyard arrangement of buildings with
the standing remains of the gatehouse forming the southern range. The existing
farmhouse, outbuildings, yard, and paddock to the west of the farm, all lie
within the extent of the medieval courtyard. These are not included in the
scheduling. To the north of the courtyard the earthworks indicate the site of
further medieval buildings.
The second area of protection lies to the east of Mackworth House Farm and
again includes well preserved earthworks which survive to a height of up to
1m. The area extends over three fields which are divided by two boundaries,
one which runs north west to south east and another which runs north east to
south west. That which runs north west to south east respects the line of a
sunken track which runs from Lower Road before turning to the south east just
north of the field boundary. The sunken track terminates at the second field
boundary. The track, which is now only used as a farm track, is known locally
as Pinfold Lane and is believed to have provided access to Pinfold Cottages.
No buildings of this name survive today but the series of banks and ditches to
the north of the track indicate the site of building platforms and are again
known locally as the site of Pinfold Cottages. The name of both the lane and
the cottages make reference to the village pound or pinfold which is also
included within the south east corner of this area. The pinfold, which is a
small triangular shaped enclosure is situated to the west of a short row of
houses and to the north of Lower Road. A pinfold was used to detain cattle and
other animals either as a penalty for straying and causing damage, or as an
indemnity against debt or default.
Between the site of Pinfold Cottages and Lower Road further earthworks
represent part of the medieval open field system. The surviving remains are
visible as parts of three medieval furlongs (groups of lands or cultivation
strips) which are slightly terraced down to the north and are separated by
headlands. The cultivation strips collectively form ridge and furrow. The
headlands survive to a height of approximately 0.5m but the ridge and furrow
is more degraded and slight in appearance and is most clearly visible from
aerial photographs. The layout of the pinfold, the sunken track and Pinfold
Cottages suggest that the field remains are later in date and overlay an
earlier village green which originally had the pinfold in a corner. This is a
typical position for a pinfold.
The third area of protection lies at the eastern end of the village and
includes the fields to the north, south and west of the church. Although some
of the earthworks in this area have been degraded and are difficult to
interpret on the ground an earthwork survey of this area has identified
several phases of village development. The northern limit of the earthworks is
marked by two roughly parallel ditches about 0.1m deep, running east to west.
The line of the ditches continues into the field to the west but here the line
is defined by a high bank. To the south of this bank lies ridge and furrow and
to the north the medieval meadow.
To the north of the church but south of the bank, a series of irregular
platforms survive to a height of approximately 0.3m and are set on a larger
platform which shelves down to ground level near the church on the western
side. The platforms are interpreted as the sites of late medieval buildings.
To the south of the church are two main areas of earthworks which are
separated by a large ditch which runs east to west across most of the width of
the field. The ditch survives to a depth of 0.85m. Adjacent to the churchyard
wall are two rectangular platforms which are aligned east to west and which
survive to a height of up to 0.15m. Again, the platforms are interpreted as
the sites of medieval buildings. To the east of these is a north to south
aligned hollow way which extends approximately 25m south of the churchyard
To the south of the large ditch a narrow bank marks the break of the slope and
is associated with two platforms which abut it to the south. The bank and
platforms continue on the same alignment of the present village and suggest
that the settlement has undergone at least one period of contraction. To the
south of this is another bank which survives to a height of 0.75m and is
approximately 4m wide. This and the now disused lane to the south occupy the
edge of a slightly higher terrace which continues the alignment of the present
It is suggested that earthworks in this part of the monument represent the
remains of late medieval houses and indicate contraction of the village
possibly during the population decline which is known to have affected this
part of Derbyshire in the mid-14th century. It is thought that these
earthworks mask early medieval development of the settlement which was likely
to have formed the nucleus of the village next to the church. With the fall
in the population in the mid-14th century, it was the settlement on the lower
more poorly drained land that tended to be the first to be abandoned.
The villages of Mackworth and Markeaton have been served by one church since
the time of the Domesday Book in 1086. It was first at Markeaton but the
known list of rectors and vicars at Mackworth goes back to 1200. The existing
church dates from the early 14th century with alterations having been carried
out in the 15th century. The whole of the church was restored in 1851 when
the organ chamber and vestry were also added. Considerable internal additions
were made in the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century.
As both the church and churchyard remain in ecclesiastical use they are
totally excluded from the scheduling.
The fourth area of protection lies to the south of Lower Road and to the west
of Church Lane where the land slopes quite steeply down to the north. The
earthworks within this area take two basic forms, those to the south and east
represent the well preserved remains of the medieval open field system whilst
those to the north indicate the sites of more house platforms. In the
northern half of the field which lies directly south of the village hall, is a
very clearly defined platform surrounded by a substantial ditch. The platform
which is terraced into the slope, is situated on the top of a steep bank which
runs along the southern edge of Lower Road. Remains of another platform are
also visible on a second terrace to the south although the northern edge of
this platform is slightly degraded. For most of its length the southern edge
of Lower Road is defined by a steep bank suggesting its origins as a sunken
medieval track or hollow way.
In the field to the east another series of building platforms are evident
along the southern edge of Lower Road but towards the centre of this field the
platforms appear to lie at right angles to the road. These platforms are
associated with a series of terraced, rectangular, enclosures which are
aligned east to west and separated by low banks. The south and east edge of
this series of enclosures are defined by headlands which divide the enclosures
from the open field system. The surviving remains of the open field system
are visible as parts of five furlongs. Adjacent to Lower Road there is some
evidence of post-medieval quarrying which has caused some degradation of the
earthworks. These are difficult to interpret on the ground but the remains
are clearly visible from aerial photographs.
The fifth area of protection lies at the western end of the village between
Jarveys Lane and Gold Lane. Within this area the earthworks represent the
well preserved remains of the open field system, sections of a hollow way and
enclosures. In the field to the west of Gold Lane there are indications of a
small house platform at its northern end. Gold Lane is itself a hollow way
and probably of medieval origin.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all modern
fences, gates, track surfaces, animal feed and water troughs, the brick
outbuildings to the rear of the gatehouse facade, the railings on the verge
outside the gatehouse, the modern farm gate occupying the gateway, and the
adjoining wall of the cottage, which is built up against the gatehouse on its
eastern side; the ground beneath all these features is however included in the
The church and churchyard are 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: 29959
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Derby: Volume I, (1905)
The Victoria History of the County of Derby: Volume I, (1905), 384
The Victoria History of the County of Derby: Volume I, (1905), 335
Cox, J C, The Churches of Derbyshire, (1879), 286-287
Bailey, G, 'Journal of Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society' in Mackworth castle, (1911)
Bailey, G, 'Journal of Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society' in Mackworth castle, (1911), 204-208
Cowell, R W, 'Journal of Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society' in Mackworth, , Vol. Vol. 101, (1981), 97-98
Malone, S, Radbourne Main Renewal, Mackworth Survey and Watching Brief, (1998)
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