Whimpton Moor medieval village and moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017567

Date first listed: 13-Feb-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Whimpton Moor medieval village and moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Nottinghamshire

District: Bassetlaw (District Authority)

Parish: Ragnall

National Grid Reference: SK 79054 73834, SK 79185 74065


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 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 the medieval settlement of Whimpton Moor are particularly well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. The earthworks and the aerial photographic evidence provide a clear picture of the village layout and how it fitted within the wider agricultural landscape. The historical documentation provides evidence of the status of the settlement, how it was administered and clues to its desertion. Taken as a whole the remains of the settlement of Whimpton Moor will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the development 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 Whimpton Moor medieval village, including a moated site. The site straddles the A57 trunk road, approximately 700m north of Farhill Farm, and is in two areas of protection. Whimpton is first mentioned in 1086 in the Domesday Book where it is recorded that `Wimentun' was one of four berewicks of the king`s manor of Duneham (Dunham). 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. That Whimpton survived long after Domesday is documented in various Pipe Rolls (the annual records of the Exchequer) of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. These make reference to both land and inhabitants of the village. A decree of 1414 in the register of the chapter of Southwell states `there shall be an able chaplain provided dwelling in the town of Dunham and Whimpton, and the inhabitants of the same to be restored to their former situation'. This obviously makes reference to the fact that the tenants of the village had been moved from their homes on a previous occasion. This movement may mark the beginning of the desertion of the village. The village was undoubtedly deserted by 1547 when a post-mortem inquest of the property of Robert Newyll lists Whimpton as nothing more than a field name. The monument survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains. In the field to the south of the A57 road, a well defined roadway runs east to west across the centre of the monument following the ridge of the hill. The width of the road varies from 23m in the centre of the monument to 7.5m at its eastern and western extremes. Two sunken roads join the main sunken road and run downslope to the north. That to the west skirts around a rectangular platform and continues to the hedgerow bordering the second road, that to the east, also skirts around a rectangular enclosure and continues north, east of a pond (now dry). At this point the road has been truncated by the A57 road. Slight earthworks in the field to the north of the A57 indicate the continuing line of this road to the east with a sharp turn before heading north. The road terminates at the south west corner of a large rectangular enclosure surrounded by a wide ditch. The rectangular platform of this enclosure measures 38m east to west and 23m north to south. The surrounding ditch 7.5m wide survives as a slight hollow in a currently ploughed field north of Kipps Court (on Field Farm). This ditched enclosure is interpreted as a moated homestead. Remains of structures will survive beneath the ground surface on the platform. In the south east corner of the southern area of protection to the south of the east-west sunken road are a series of rectangular enclosures or tofts. These are aligned north to south and are marked by low banks and ditches. Each contains a small raised rectangular platform which mark the foundations of medieval houses. The low banks defining the platforms are created by the buried remains of walls. Other rectangular tofts with evidence of house platforms are visible in the north west corner of the settlement with the house platforms fronting on to the A57 road. It is possible that the western sunken road turned west along the line of the A57 road to provide access to these properties. This would also have continued the roughly symmetrical layout of the village which is particularly apparent from aerial photographs. To the north of the central road and between the two north-south sunken roads are another series of rectilinear enclosures which are less regular in shape. The largest measures approximately 61m east to west and 46m north to south and faces on to the widest point of the east-west sunken roads. The enclosure is marked by low banks on its north, east and west sides and, with the exception of two sub-circular shaped hollows in the centre, which are interpreted as ponds, no evidence of structural remains is visible. It is suggested that this was an open area, possibly a green in the centre of the village. This interpretation is substantiated by the fact that further tofts lie to the north of it with evidence of house platforms adjacent to the green. To the east of the green are two more enclosures. These are sub-square in shape but again show evidence of house platforms adjacent to the main east- west sunken road. To the east of the western sunken road and at the junction with the main east-west sunken road is a raised platform 36.5m in length and 21m wide. Its northern face is steeply scarped and survives to a height of 1.5m above the roadway. Further enclosures with possible house platforms are located in the north east corner of the field but the precise layout of these is more difficult to determine. A number of irregular shaped hollows are visible around the monument. The largest, a kidney shaped hollow, situated just south of the A57 road and to the west of the eastern sunken road was recorded in 1907 as a pond and was depicted on a plan of the earthworks as containing water (it is now dry). Further hollows south of, but following the line of the A57 road were also shown as ponds on the early plan but these were dry at the time of the survey. A further two ponds are visible along the southern boundary and appear to be attached to water management channels but these are overlain by ridge and furrow. This indicates that more than one phase of occupation or at least cultivation is represented on the site. To the east, south and west of the monument are the well preserved remains of part of the open field system. The surviving remains are visible as parts of five medieval furlongs (groups of lands or cultivation strips) marked by headlands. The cultivation strips collectively form ridge and furrow. The ridge and furrow is curved in the shape of an elongated reverse `S'. This shape developed over the years from the need to swing the plough team out at the end of a strip to enable it to turn and to continue ploughing in the opposite direction. The remains survive to a height of 0.5m. All fences, gates, feeding troughs and modern metalled surfaces 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: 29906

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Davies Pryce, T, Dobson, F W, An Ancient Village Site. Whimpton, Nottinghamshire, (1907), 139-144
Page, W (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire, (1906), 266
Davies Pryce, T, Dobson, F W, 'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in An Ancient Village Site. Whimpton, Nottinghamshire, , Vol. 1907, (1907), 139-144
155/1296/10a and 11a, Held in Nottinghamshire SMR, Whimpton, (1996)
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1987)

End of official listing