Buslingthorpe medieval village remains


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

West Lindsey (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TF 07941 85125, TF 08029 84923

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 Lincolnshire Scarp and Vale sub-Province of the Central Province, which comprises a succession of scarps and vales in which clay vales with alluvial deposits and a chalk ridge, together with associated glacial deposits, form the structural framework of the landscape. There is a very dense scatter of nucleated settlements, many of which are situated in lines along favoured scarp-foot and dip-slope locations. Large numbers of medieval village sites now lie wholly or partially deserted. Densities of dispersed farmsteads are very low. The Scarp and Vale Country local region is divided by the Lincoln Edge from the broad Vale of Trent to the west. Chains of ancient village settlements, some now deserted, are characteristic of the region. They occur where soils change and springs appear. Densities of dispersed farmsteads are uniformly low.

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 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. Villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life in central England 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 settlements 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, which were in turn grouped into large open fields. Well preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context adjacent to settlement earthworks, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the historic landscape.

The medieval village of Buslingthorpe, and the remains of its open field system, survive well as a series of substantial earthworks. As a result of detailed archaeological survey and historical research they are quite well understood. The remains of house plots and hollow ways will preserve valuable evidence for domestic and economic activities on the site, giving an insight into the lifestyle of the inhabitants. The manorial moated site and churchyard at the centre of the settlement survive largely intact, and the buried remains of medieval buildings here will demonstrate how these components functioned as vital parts of the local and regional community. The association of the village remains with those of its open fields and watermill will also preserve evidence for the economy of the village and its place in the wider medieval landscape.


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the medieval village of Buslingthorpe and associated features. The village, centred upon the moated manor site still occupied by Manor Farm, was first recorded in the late 11th century under the name Esethorp. From the early 12th century the manor was tenanted and then held by the family of Buselinus, and by the later 13th century their name had become combined with that of the village. The settlement and manor site are believed to have been remodelled during this period. At the end of the 14th century the Buslingthorpe family ceased, and during the 15th and 16th centuries the manor was held by the Tyrwhitts, who gradually turned the land over to sheep-rearing and moved elsewhere. By the beginning of the 17th century the village was largely depopulated and the church ruinous. During the 19th century the present farmhouse was built on the site of the earlier manor and the church partly rebuilt. Manor Farm, which is Listed Grade II, and the church, which is Listed Grade II*, are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

The remains of the medieval village take the form of a series of substantial earthworks extending to both sides of the modern road. The core of the settlement is a subrectangular area, delineated by the remains of hollow ways, across the southern part of which the present road passes. At the centre of this area, on the north side of the road, are the remains of a medieval moated site now partly occupied by Manor Farm. The moated island on which the present farmhouse stands is a rectangular raised platform where the buried remains of the medieval manor house and associated structures are located. The island is surrounded by a wide moat, still water-filled except on the south and south east where it has been partly infilled and occupied by garden and modern farm buildings. Adjacent to the north east of the moated site is the surviving part of another, smaller, moated enclosure, thought to be contemporary with the main moated site and perhaps originating as a manorial garden or yard area. The manorial complex formerly included further enclosures to the east, now levelled by ploughing. Adjacent to the west of the moated site, still within the manorial centre of the village, is the Church of St Michael. The present building, which is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, overlies the buried remains of an earlier church.

Running north east to south west along the northern edge of the moated site is one of the hollow ways which delineate the central manorial complex; another runs roughly north south beneath the modern road to the west of the church, whilst a further hollow way runs east-west on the south side of the modern road. The earthwork remains of the village house plots and other hollow ways extend outward from each of these. The house plots are represented by ditched enclosures, which include the buried remains of dwellings and yards. Extending down the slope in the southern part of the monument is a complete furlong of ridge and furrow cultivation, once part of the medieval open fields which formerly surrounded the settlement. The ridges terminate at the stream at the bottom of the slope where the substantial earthwork remains of a large embanked pond are located. The earthworks, lying in the course of the west- flowing stream, include a large `L'-shaped dam forming the west and south sides of the pond; an overflow channel runs around the outside of the dam. This pond is believed to have retained water for a mill formerly standing at the north west end of the dam. Adjacent to the south of the pond, at the bottom of the upward slope, are the heads of another group of ridges representing the end of another furlong of ridge and furrow. The cultivation remains within the monument represent the only surviving parts of a once extensive system of open fields contemporary with the medieval village.

All standing buildings, fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them 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.

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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

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