Bingham medieval settlement, immediately west of Carnarvon School
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1017566
Date first listed: 03-Mar-1956
Date of most recent amendment: 29-Jan-1998
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Rushcliffe (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SK 71323 39863
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. The earthwork remains of Bingham medieval settlement survive reasonably well. The site depicts clearly the layout of the early village and its relationship to the existing town centre. The earthworks, early plans and aerial photographic evidence compliment the historical documentation of the village and together will enhance understanding 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 Bingham medieval
settlement. The site is situated in a field known as Crow Close and in a
playing field to the east of this. The monument is located approximately 550m
east of Bingham church. At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 Bingham was
recorded as having a population of 275 (55 families), 24 meadows, and arable
land assessed at 10 pounds and 13 shillings. It was owned by Roger de Busli, a
major land owner in Nottinghamshire at the time. Bingham gave its name to the
hundred (a division of a county given its own court). The village developed in
a linear pattern, with the church lying to the west of Crow Close and the
market place to the west of the church. The church dates from at least 1225
when Richard de Bingham, the first rector of Bingham, was instated. The market
place has existed since at least 1276 when it is documented that the Knights
Templar were accused of extortion. In 1299 it was one of six places where Lady
Staunton Moor was whipped publicly for her lack of morals.
The abandoned areas of Bingham medieval village lie to the east of the
surviving town centre (formerly Bingham village centre). This indicates a
shifting or shrinking of the village at some time in the past which left the
eastern area deserted. The cause of the abandonment is unclear. It has been
suggested that the village was destroyed by a hurricane but there is little
evidence to support this. An alternative suggestion is that as the market
place increased in importance as the focal point of the village, the east end
of the village shifted west to be nearer to it. Bingham is now a small market
town which has been the subject of extensive housing development in recent
years. This will have obscured further evidence of the medieval settlement.
The monument survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains. The main
street, visible as a shallow gully approximately 0.5m deep, runs from west to
east to approximately half way across the monument before turning northwards.
The west end of this road aligns with the extant Church Street and East Street
in the town centre of Bingham. Within Crow Close this road is joined by other
sunken roads running north to south creating a grid pattern of streets.
A number of tofts (rectangular enclosures) lie at right angles to the roads.
The tofts measure up to 150m long and 30m wide and are separated by low banks
and shallow gullies. Towards the east end of the monument, where the main
street turns north, four tofts, aligned east to west, are clearly discernible.
At the west end of three of these tofts, slight rectangular platforms are
visible. These mark the foundations of medieval houses and measure up to 25m
wide and 20m long. Further house platforms are evident at the west end of the
monument particularly adjacent to, or just set back from the main street. Some
are also visible in the area of the children's playground.
Along the northern boundary of the monument are the remains of two semi-
circular features measuring approximately 20m and 30m in diameter. They
survive as slight hollows and have been truncated by the relatively modern
housing development to the north. The larger one lies at the end of a narrow,
shallow gully (approximately 0.3m deep and 1.5m wide) which runs north to
south approximately 25m west of the eastern boundary of the children's
playground. This was shown on an early plan of the earthworks as a circular
pond. Presumably this was filled in when the housing development to the north
was initiated. The smaller of the two features is situated at the end of the
main street. It would appear that it truncates the road. This was not shown on
the early plan of the earthworks and it is possible that it is the result of
later quarrying. Small hollows adjacent to the main street at the western end
of the monument are also interpreted as quarrying hollows.
A survey of the earthwork remains of the shifted village of Bingham are
amongst the earliest to be published, appearing for the first time in print in
1958. Despite some disturbance resulting from the creation of the playground
all the main features illustrated on this survey are still apparent on the
ground. The earthwork remains are a direct reflection of the high level of
survival beneath the ground surface.
All modern fences, playground equipment, goal posts, benches and path
surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all
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: 29905
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Allcroft, A H, Earthworks of England, (1908), 552
Page, W (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire, (1906), 266
Wortley, A, A History of Bingham, (1954), 1-161
Hand written text in SMR file-no ref., Anonymous, Bingham,
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