Wallerthwaite medieval village


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Wallerthwaite medieval village
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Harrogate (District Authority)
Markington with Wallerthwaite
National Grid Reference:
SE 29546 64765

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 Humber-Tees sub-Province of the Central Province which comprises a great fertile lowland, with many local variations caused by slight differences in terrain, but generally dominated by market towns, villages and hamlets. The dispersed farmsteads between these are mainly of post-medieval date, created by movement out of the villages and onto newly consolidated holdings following enclosure. Some, however, are more ancient disposals, the result of manors, granges and other farmsteads being moved out of villages in the Middle Ages; others have become isolated by the process of village depopulation, which has had a substantial impact in the sub-Province. The Vale of York local region is a rich agricultural lowland dominated by a dense pattern of villages and hamlets founded in the Middle Ages, about one in four of which have since been deserted. It contains low and very low densities of dispersed settlements, some of which are isolated medieval moated manor houses. The landscape was formerly dominated by communal townfields which were mainly enclosed in the 18th century.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities sited at the centre of a parish or township and sharing resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but where 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 as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the lowlands in the Vale of Mowbray, villages were the most visible evidence 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. The cultivation of these fields produced long wide ridges, and the resultant ridge and furrow where it survives is the most obvious physical indication of the open field system. 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 landscape. The medieval village of Wallerthwaite and the remains of its field system are well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. The village is a good example of its type which will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of medieval settlement in the region.


The monument includes the remains of the medieval village of Wallerthwaite. It is located in a wide hollow south west of the village of Markington. The medieval village was located on the south side of a green which occupied the floor of the hollow. A street extended through the green and continued as a road beyond either end. Houses were built on slight terraces extending south west up the slope to the south of the green. A range of enclosures and yards, some of which were under cultivation, lay to the north west of the houses separated by tracks and paths. The north east of the green and the surrounding fields were occupied by field systems including arable and pasture. The remains of the house platforms and enclosures south west of the street survive as low earthwork banks with the intervening tracks still visible. In some of the enclosures remains of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation survives. Of the original medieval field system, only the section lying in the field immediately north east of the green is included in the scheduling. Here remnants of ridge and furrow and associated balks and headlands survive as earthworks. The original main street running through the village remains in use and now survives as Wallerthwaite Lane. Little is known of the history of Wallerthwaite. It existed in the medieval period and, in common with other medieval settlements in England, became deserted, although it is not known exactly when or why this occurred. It was deserted by the 14th century and it is thought that the Black Death in 1349 and raids by the Scots earlier in the century were responsible. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all walls, gates, feeding troughs and telegraph poles, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

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Books and journals
Beresford, , 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Medieval Villages of Yorkshire, , Vol. Pt 150, (1953), 236


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

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