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Langford medieval village, including moat and open field system, 450m north west of Elmtree Farm

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Langford medieval village, including moat and open field system, 450m north west of Elmtree Farm

List entry Number: 1017739

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Nottinghamshire

District: Newark and Sherwood

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Holme

County: Nottinghamshire

District: Newark and Sherwood

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Langford

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 08-Mar-1956

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Feb-1998

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29910

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 included the parish church within their boundaries, and 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 centruies 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 balks. 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. Moated sites consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the platforms were used for horticulture or as safe areas for the management of wildfowl. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. Moated sites were built throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. The earthwork remains of the abandoned areas of Langford medieval settlement are particularly well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. The earthworks 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 and clues to its abandonment. Taken as a whole Langford medieval settlement will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the development of medieval settlement in the area.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the abandoned areas of Langford medieval village, a moat and a sample of the associated open field system. The site is situated approximately 450m north west of Elmtree Farm on a low, flat terrace to the east of The Fleet (an old course of the River Trent) which runs along the length of the monument on the western side. Langford is first documented in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it is recorded that the village, at that time called Landeforde, was owned by Geoffrey de Wirce. It is documented that the village had a church, resident priest, two mills, a fishery and 100 acres of meadow in total valued at four pounds. The population was in the region of 150 people. Early in the 12th century Henry I granted the land to Nigel de Albany, an ancestor of the Mowbrays and from him the Langford estate passed to the influential family of D'Auville. In the mid- 13th century Richard de Grey took possession of most of the village and this part remained within the same family until the 15th century. Since 1316 another part of the village had been in the possession of the Pierpoint family but in 1550 was purchased by Sir Francis Leek. Not long after this the whole of the lordship was bought by the Earl of Shrewsbury. A statement of church property dated to 1593 records that a Mr Philpott, the munificent alderman of Newark, once held the parsonage of Langford but the lord of the manor Sir Francis Leek quarrelled with him about tithes. The result was that Leek made the property of so little value by `dispeopling the town' that Philpott was glad to give in to his opponent. This event may account for the small number of houses in the village today and the large abandoned area between the church and the surviving village. The monument survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains. The layout of the village is based on at least four sunken trackways running east to west, three of which terminate at The Fleet. The fourth trackway forms the northern boundary of the monument and crosses the river to the west of the church. This road, now called Holme Lane, is still in use and separates the church from the main village earthworks. The other three trackways survive as gullies between 3m and 5m wide and up to 2m deep. The name of the village suggests that one or more of these sunken tracks would have led to a ford across The Fleet. The southernmost trackway, located to the west of Fleet Cottage, turns south at its eastern end but cannot be traced beyond the southern boundary of Eliza Cottage and the northern boundary of the adjacent property. The second trackway to the north west of Little Farm Cottage leads to an enclosure at its eastern end. The enclosure measures approximately 35m square and is defined by low banks. A low bank runs from the north east corner of the enclosure in a northerly direction, parallel to the existing road, for approximately 175m. The north west corner of the enclosure marks the beginning of a shallow gully which runs in a westerly direction for approximately 175m until it meets with The Fleet. This gulley forms the southern arm of a moat which surrounds a roughly square platform. The moat is not a discreet monument; it is fed and drained by a network of gulleys which run from each of the four corners in different directions, linking the moat to various other archaeologically important earthwork features. The platform itself is approximately 28m square with a narrow lip extending from the north west corner. The enclosing ditches are of varying widths. The north and west arms of the moat are wide and survive to a depth of approximately 1m. The northern arm narrows towards the eastern end before linking to the eastern arm of the moat. The northern arm continues west for approximately 25m beyond the western arm of the moat before turning south for a short distance and narrowing in width. Here it is linked to a narrow gulley which runs to the west until it meets with The Fleet. The eastern arm of the moat continues north for approximately 65m beyond the platform, leading to more village earthwork features. Another narrow gully meets this approximately 25m north of the moat and runs west again until it meets with The Fleet. It is possible the moat relates to the fishery documented in the Domesday Book; the varying widths of the ditch would have created ponds in which fish could be managed. Although dry it is evident from the vegetation in the bottom of the ditches that there is some sub surface waterlogging. This will have facilitated the preservation of important environmental evidence. The central platform may have been the site of a homestead. No remains are visible on the surface but evidence will survive beneath the surface. The enclosures created by the various gullies running off to the north, east and west are quite regular in size and form. Most are roughly square, measuring between 28m and 35m with flat central platforms. These are possibly the sites of other medieval homesteads. The third sunken trackway, again running east to west, terminates at The Fleet approximately 115m south of The Old Hall (Manor House on the Ordnance Survey 1:10000 map). At the east end, the northern bank of the trackway terminates leaving a wide, open area. A gulley runs north from the north east corner of this opening. The southern bank of the track turns south linking to the low bank which runs parallel to the existing road. Earthworks along the road side have been degraded by later quarrying but a rectangular platform is evident in the north east corner of this field, south of the cattle grid. Various other important archaeological features are visible between the sunken trackway and the existing driveway leading to The Old Hall. Approximately 125m north east of The Old Hall is a short stretch of a sunken track running north west to south east. The northern end of the trackway is truncated by Holme Lane but the line of the track continues north of Holme Lane and provides access to the church. The southern end of the track widens out into an open flat area bounded on the east by a large pond. East of the pond and south of the open area are the well preserved remains of the open field system of agriculture associated with the medieval village. The remains of the open field system cover most of the area between the driveway to The Old Hall and Holme Lane. The surviving remains are visible as parts of six medieval furlongs (groups of lands) marked by headlands. The cultivation strips form ridge and furrow. The ridge and furrow is curved in the shape of an elongated reverse `S'. The remains survive to a height of approximately 0.5m. All modern fences, gates, metalled surfaces, telegraph poles and drains are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features are included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire: Volume I, (1906), 282
Leake, E G, History of Collingham, (1867), 82-96
Page, W (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire, (1906), 282

National Grid Reference: SK8218958409

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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End of official listing