Medieval farmstead in Ireland Wood, 150m north east of Cookridge Hospital


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018553

Date first listed: 21-Dec-1979

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Medieval farmstead in Ireland Wood, 150m north east of Cookridge Hospital
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)

National Grid Reference: SE 25500 39101


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 Southern Yorkshire Dales local region is densely settled with a variety of dispersed and nucleated settlements, the result of industrial development which led to the growth of old centres of population and the appearance of many new ones. In a region which the Domesday Book shows as still heavily wooded in 1086, the medieval settlements were mainly hamlets with communal townfields.

Farmsteads, normally occupied by only one or two families and comprising small groups of buildings with attached yards, gardens and enclosures, were a characteristic feature of the medieval rural landscape. They occur throughout the country, the intensity of their distribution determined by local topography and the nature of the agricultural system prevalent within the region. In some areas of dispersed settlement they were the predominant settlement form; elsewhere they existed alongside, or were components of, more nucleated settlement patterns. The sites of many farmsteads have been occupied down to the present day but others were abandoned as a result of, for example, declining economic viability, enclosure or emparkment, or epidemics like the Black Death. In the northern border areas, recurring cross-border raids and military activities also disrupted agricultural life and led to abandonments. Farmsteads are a common and long-lived monument type; the archaeological deposits on those which were abandoned are often well-preserved and provide important information on regional and national settlement patterns and farming economies, and on changes in these through time. The medieval farmstead in Ireland Wood survives well, despite some disturbance in the past, following the exposure of stonework during excavation. The farmstead is associated with a series of field enclosures and significant information on the history and use of the farmstead and its fields will be preserved.


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


The monument includes a medieval longhouse with associated rubble banked and orthostatic enclosures. It is situated in an area of fenced woodland north of Cookridge Hospital in Leeds. The rubble banks extend beyond the fenced enclosure on the south west and north east sides. The longhouse is 16m long and 7m wide and has several visible courses of stonework. It was partially excavated in 1977 and stonework revealed during the excavation was then left open and exposed. This stonework has subsequently suffered from visitor pressure and natural erosion. The associated banks form a series of small compounds in the immediate vicinity of the longhouse; longer banks extending further from this complex may be the boundaries of small fields. The banks are composed of sandstone rubble, typically 3m wide and up to 0.7m high. In some places they are faced with orthostats. The fence where it crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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: 31502

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing