Ogle moated site, medieval village and open field system
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1017737
Date first listed: 26-Oct-1973
Date of most recent amendment: 24-Dec-1998
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: NZ 13654 78851, NZ 13785 79136, NZ 13891 78718, NZ 14036 78904
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.
The Northumbrian Plain local region is an extensive, undulating lowland. Its
landscape bears many signs of agrarian improvement and reconstruction in the
18th and 19th centuries, including rectangular fields and post-medieval
dispersed farmsteads. The earthworks of deserted and shrunken village
settlements and the ridge and furrow of former arable townfields indicate the
pattern of medieval, `pre-improvement' agrarian and settlement structures.
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 houses stood and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. As part of the manorial system most villages included 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 medieval village and moated site at Ogle are well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. Taken together with the remains of the open field system they will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the development of medieval settlement in the region.
The monument includes Ogle Castle moated site, the abandoned remains of the
medieval village of Ogle and part of its associated open field system,
situated on the left bank of the Ogle Burn. It is divided into four separate
areas of protection. The historical context of the monument is recorded in
several documents and it is known that from the 12th century until the late
16th century the manor was held by the Ogle family before descending to
the Cavendish family. An estate map of 1632 shows that at this time the
village comprised 16 houses and a castle. By 1830 the village had become
considerably shrunken with almost half of its farms having been dispersed to
other parts of the estate.
The medieval plan of the village is a type well known in this part of
Northumberland in which two parallel lines of houses face onto a broad
rectangular village green with narrow crofts or garden areas to the rear.
Ogle, although shrunken from its once larger medieval size, is still occupied
and the basic medieval plan has been retained with some of the original plots
currently occupied by modern houses. This type of village in northern England
is thought to be the result of deliberate planning by Norman rulers attempting
to exert control over a rebellious region during the 11th and 12th centuries.
The tofts of the northern half of the village have become totally abandoned
and they survive as a series of prominent earthworks on the north side of the
present village street to the west of Ogle Castle. The earthworks are visible
as a line of rectangular platforms or tofts, containing the foundations of
timber long houses. The foundations stand to an average height of 0.3m. To
the rear of each toft there are the well defined remains of at least 12
linear crofts or garden areas, each bounded from its neighbour by a bank on
average 0.6m high. Some of the crofts, particularly at the western end of the
street, contain the remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. The street is
bounded on the north by a continuous perimeter bank which runs the length of
the village and serves to separate the village from its surrounding open field
The north row of the village faces onto a broad rectangular open space which
contains the remains of banks and hollows. This was formerly the village green
which has become encroached upon by modern housing at its south western
corner. The rectangular foundations of a long house, visible on the village
green at its eastern end, indicate that there was also medieval encroachment
onto the green. The green narrows at its western end to form a funnelled
hollow way, or driftway, which turns southwards through the open fields and
gave access to an area of common pasture. A less substantial hollow way also
gives access from the west end of the green through the open fields to the
Much of the south row of the village remains in use and many of the medieval
plots are occupied by modern houses; they face onto the modern road which runs
along the southern edge of the former village green and are not included in
the scheduling. At the rear of these plots, however, the southern part of
their associated linear crofts survive. There appear to have been at least 12
crofts on this row, suggesting a uniform number on each street. The crofts on
the south side are similarly bounded by a continuous perimeter bank separating
the village from the surrounding open field system.
Parts of the once more extensive open fields survive; to the north and south
of the village there are several medieval furlongs or fields bounded by intact
headlands. Each furlong contains ridge and furrow cultivation which survives
well and stands to a maximum height of 0.6m.
At the eastern end of the north row of the village are the remains of a
large enclosure bounded by an earthen bank standing to a height of 1m. This
enclosure is an integral part of the village and is clearly medieval in
origin. Within the enclosure there are the partially infilled remains of a
double moated site. Part of the inner moat on the northern side and all of its
western arm survive well where they are on average 2m deep. At the north west
corner the inner moat stands up to 4m deep. Part of the southern arm of the
outer moat also survives as a slight earthwork 0.4m deep. The remainder of the
two moats have become infilled but the course of the outer moat can be traced
on the north and south sides as a slight depression in pasture. The eastern
arm of the moat is no longer visible and has been infilled and partially built
over. The island of the moated site contains the remains of a medieval
structure which was remodelled during the 16th century. The original medieval
buildings are thought to have included a tower with an attached manor house as
licence to crenellate was granted in 1341 and a document of 1415 lists the
existence of a `castrum' at Ogle.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are the house
known as Ogle Castle (Listed Grade I), a pantile roofed garage, a length of
garden wall, the sheds with a granary above (all Listed Grade II), all other
barns, garden sheds, greenhouses, garden walls and all stone walls and fences,
telegraph poles, horse shelters, garden furniture, garden retaining walls and
the surfaces of all roads, drives, paths and yards; 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: 28557
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Beresford, M W, St Joseph, J K S, Medieval England: An Aerial Survey, (1979), 113
Beresford, M W, St Joseph, J K S, Medieval England: An Aerial Survey, (1979), 113-4
Beresford, M W, St Joseph, J K S, Medieval England: An Aerial Survey, (1979), 113-4
Ryder, P F, Towers and Bastles in Northumberland: Part III Castle Morpeth, (1996), 53-5
Gates, T M, SF/3373/17, (1987)
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