Medieval settlement including a moated site and open field system, immediately north east and south of Hall Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018263

Date first listed: 10-Jun-1998


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement including a moated site and open field system, immediately north east and south of Hall Farm
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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: West Markham

National Grid Reference: SK 72069 72291, SK 72127 72526


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 Pennine Slope sub-Province of the Central Province, which embraces the varied scarp and vale topography flanking the higher portions of the southern Pennines, where narrow escarpments of limestone and sandstone and softer shale vales give a distinct north-south grain to the landscape. Dispersed settlement increases from extremely low to medium densities in the south east of the sub-Province to high densities at the north west. With the exception of Sherwood Forest, the region is well stocked with nucleated settlements, some old but others the result of 18th- and 19th- century industrial developments. Anglo-Saxon `wood' names are common among placenames, and the area was well wooded in 1086. The West Sherwood Forest local region is identified on the basis of few nucleations and extremely low densities of dispersed settlements. A Royal Forest by the 13th century, the name `shire-wood' suggests the long survival of ancient woodland. The 19th-century pattern of great houses, parklands, woodland blocks and open heath overlies older structures, including medieval lodges and parks and specialist stock farms.

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. 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 and buried remains of the abandoned areas of West Markham medieval settlement are particularly well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. The earthworks and aerial photographic evidence provide an indication of the village layout and its position in the wider agricultural landscape. Deposits preserved in the silts of the ditches and beneath the banks will provide important information relating to the local environment during the medieval period. Taken as a whole the medieval settlement of West Markham 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 the deserted areas of West Markham medieval settlement, a moated site and a sample of the associated open field system. The monument is interpreted as the manorial centre of the medieval village and is in two areas of protection on a north facing slope of the River Maun valley. West Markham is first documented in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it is recorded that the village, at that time called `Westmarcham', was owned by Roger de Busli and held by his tenant, Claron. By 1780, an estate map and terrier records that most of the village and its associated fields belonged to the master, fellows and scholars of the College of Saint John the Evangelist in the University of Cambridge. The college leased the land to the Duke of Newcastle, the owner of the remainder of the village, although it was proposed in the terrier that the duke's land would be given `in exchange to the college'. The college continued to hold parts of the village into the late 20th century. The parish of West Markham was, and continues to be, served by All Saints Church which lies on the northern edge of the modern village. The church is first mentioned in 1189 in a documented agreement between the church and the chapel of Tuxford relating to tithes. In 1824 a licence was granted to the vicar and church wardens of the parish of West Markham to take down the church and to rebuild it on `a more convenient and elevated situation'. The Duke of Newcastle, the patron of the vicarage and the parish church of West Markham (then called Markham Clinton, the latter being the family name of the dukes of Newcastle), at his own cost, built a new church known as the `Mausoleum,' approximately 700m to the north west of All Saints Church. The medieval church was never removed and in 1949 once again became the parish church of West Markham. The Mausoleum became redundant. All Saints medieval church remains in ecclesiastical use and is not included in the scheduling. The Mausoleum church is also not included in the scheduling. The monument survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains to the south of the church. Some of the surviving remains are most clearly visible in aerial photographs where they show as cropmarks. In the first area of protection in the centre of the village, a number of interlocking ditches define a complex series of rectangular enclosures and platforms. From the north east corner of the area of protection a wide, deep, ditch-like feature runs in a south westerly direction. The ditch survives to a depth of up to 2m, is slightly curved in plan and widens towards its northern end. Here, the ditch aligns with the lane which runs along the west side of the church. At its southern limit the ditch ends abruptly but is linked, via a more narrow and shallow ditch, to other features lying to the south. The main ditch is interpreted as a sunken trackway. Approximately halfway along its length the ditch narrows to give the impression that it is divided into two, but early aerial photographs indicate that this is probably the result of relatively recent levelling. The southern end of the trackway is linked to two large, rectangular enclosures and a moated platform. The northernmost enclosure, which measures approximately 35m by 30m, lies to the south west of the trackway and is defined on all sides by a shallow ditch. The ditch is linked to the trackway at its north east corner. To the south of this enclosure lies a clearly defined rectangular platform which is surrounded by a moat and external bank. The platform measures approximately 35m by 40m and retains evidence of internal features. A rectangular feature, in the eastern half of the platform, shows as a cropmark and is interpreted as the remains of a medieval building. The moat is approximately 10m wide and survives to a depth of up to 1.5m. The eastern arm of the moat extends beyond the northern arm and is linked by a relatively narrow and shallow ditch to the eastern boundary ditch of the northern enclosure and, subsequently, to the trackway. The eastern arm of the moat is separated from the southern arm by a narrow causeway across the moat. This would have provided access to the central platform and may have acted as a divider to enable different arms of the moat to be managed as fishponds. The relationship between the western and southern arm is more difficult to determine because the yard of Hall Farm has encroached on this corner of the moat and aerial photographic evidence indicates that some levelling of the earthworks has taken place in this area of the monument in modern times. This moated platform is interpreted as a homestead and probably represents the site of the medieval manor house. A well lies to the east of the moated platform. To the south of the moated site a second rectangular enclosure is defined by low banks. Along the western edge of this area a wide gully extends to the south before curving to the south east and terminating at the lane which runs along the southern edge of the existing village. This is interpreted as another sunken trackway. More earthworks and cropmarks are evident to the east of the enclosures and moated site and to the west of the northern trackway. These are less clearly defined but suggest the existence of two more rectangular enclosures or platforms. To the south of Hall Farm and the modern road leading to East Markham, in the second area of protection, are the well preserved remains of the open field system of agriculture associated with the medieval village. The surviving remains are visible as part of a single furlong (a group of lands or cultivation strips), which is aligned north to south and is 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 approximately 0.5m. To the south of the ridge and furrow is evidence of two rectangular enclosures (or tofts). These have been terraced into the natural slope of the land and each are defined, on their eastern side, by large banks which survive to a height of up to 0.75m. At their southern end the banks have been truncated by the construction of modern farm buildings. All modern fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these 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: 29930

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Gilbert, D C, West Markham and the Church of All Saints
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire, (1910)
Neg. no. 7721, West Markham,
Neg. no. 94 155/4 C. Cox Cambridge, West Markham, (1994)
Title: Plan of an estate in Markham and Milnton belonging to the master Source Date: 1780 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Held at St Johns College Cambridge Un

End of official listing