Brauncewell medieval village


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018397

Date first listed: 11-Jun-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Sep-1998


Ordnance survey map of Brauncewell medieval village
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Oct-2018 at 18:59:56.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: North Kesteven (District Authority)

Parish: Brauncewell

National Grid Reference: TF 04708 52563


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. The Lincoln Edge local region comprises a long, narrow limestone ridge, flat- topped and running north to south. Chains of medieval village settlement sites, some deserted and some still occupied in whole or part, are found often at intervals of about 1.5km. They line the foot of the scarp to the west and the dip-slope to the east.

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 centuries following the Norman Conquest.

The remains of the medieval village of Brauncewell survive well in the form of a substantial series of earthworks. The remains of houses and house plots have been little altered since they were abandoned, with the result that underlying archaeological deposits will survive relatively intact, and evidence for domestic and agricultural activites on the site will therefore be preserved. Artefactual and ecofactual remains will provide a valuable insight into the lifestyle of the inhabitants and the appearance of the landscape in which they lived, together with evidence for the establishment, development and gradual depopulation of the settlement throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods.


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


The monument includes the remains of the village of Brauncewell, a medieval settlement established before 1086. It prospered during the 12th and 13th centuries and did not begin to fall into decline until the middle of the 14th century. Gradual depopulation followed, although there was some recovery in the 16th century when the church was rebuilt; by the beginning of the 18th century, however, only one family is recorded. A few houses remained standing in the mid-19th century when parts of the church were again rebuilt. The remains of the village include an extensive series of earthworks located adjacent to the north, east and west of Manor Farm. Manor Farm itself is not included in the scheduling.

The remains of the village of Brauncewell are situated at the bottom of a shallow valley and are aligned with it approximately north east to south west. The remains take the form of substantial earthworks, standing up to 0.8m in height, which represent a planned settlement laid out along a single street. In the eastern part of the monument the street survives as a hollow way extending over 200m in length; on each side of it are the earth covered remains of buildings, including stone foundations, representing houses and outbuildings which were laid out along it in regular plots. Running at right angles both north and south of the hollow way are a series of earth covered banks, including stone walls, which represent plot boundaries. These plots would have included enclosures for small animals and vegetable gardens, and archaeological remains of these features will survive in the form of buried deposits. The settlement is thought to have developed on a regular plan in the 12th and 13th centuries.

In the northern part of the monument the plot boundaries extend across an infilled linear depression, running roughly parallel with the hollow way, representing a former course of the stream which now runs further to the north. The diversion of the stream is believed to have taken place in the medieval period after the village plots were laid out, in order to achieve some regularity in plot size and in the provision of a water supply. The remains of part of this later water channel and an associated pond are included in the north western part of the scheduling.

In the western part of the monument, crossed by the present track leading to Manor Farm, are further earthworks representing enclosures and other features extending southward from the former stream bed. On the south side of the track is an approximately square enclosure bounded by a stone wall about 0.5m in height. Within this enclosure stands All Saints Church, a 16th century Grade II Listed Building in the care of the Lincolnshire Old Churches Trust. It is believed that this church stands on the site of an earlier medieval church. The standing building is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it, where buried remains of the earlier church will be located, is included. The churchyard wall is surrounded by a ditch and bank and beyond these features on the west side of the churchyard, are the remains of a linear depression which may represent a further hollow way or track leading to the church and to the buildings which formerly stood to the south west of it. This group of buildings is represented by substantial earthworks, including buried stone walls, standing up to 2m in height. Some of these buildings were still standing in the 19th century and are thought to have included a vicarage.

The area to the south and east of the church, known in the 19th century as Home Close, includes a series of small rectangular enclosures and a large oval pond. Although they may overlie buried remains of the early settlement at Brauncewell, these features are thought to have developed later in the medieval period in association with the manor, including enclosures for keeping animals and for horticulture, and to have been reused in the post-medieval period as features of the manor gardens. In the southern part of the monument are the remains of a linear pond and ditches which are thought to be medieval in origin, separating the village enclosures from the adjacent area of ridge and furrow cultivation, a sample of which is included in the scheduling.

The 16th century church and all modern fences and gates 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: 22740

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing