Tunstall medieval settlement


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018776

Date first listed: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Tunstall medieval settlement
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Jan-2019 at 10:51:43.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Hambleton (District Authority)

Parish: Newby

National Grid Reference: NZ 52768 11751


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 Cleveland Bench local region is a slightly elevated, undulating lowland skirting the northern and western sides of the North York Moors. Settlement is largely in the form of nucleated villages which were established in the Middle Ages, and which bear traces of their original rectilinear planning. Shrunken and deserted villages are common, now often marked only by an isolated, still occupied, hall.

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 survive also as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the central province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of rural 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 landes) 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 landes 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. The settlement remains at Tunstall survive well and significant evidence of the domestic and economic development of the village will be preserved.


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


The monument includes earthwork and buried remains of Tunstall medieval settlement, located on a slight hill 3km north of Stokesley. The village of Tunstall is recorded in the Domesday Survey in 1086, and in 1285 the manor was held by one Nicholas de Menell. It is mentioned again in documentary sources in 1301 but after that date the village went into decline, probably from a combination of the Black Death and associated economic collapse and the Scottish raids of the early 14th century. The medieval village took the form of two rows of buildings orientated north west to south east separated by a wide village green which contained the village street. The current farm is located at the southern end of the medieval village street. The eastern row of medieval buildings occupied higher ground and earthwork remains of building platforms and enclosures survive well here. The earthworks are up to 0.5m in height and there are at least three well defined house platforms with associated enclosures. The western row includes two enclosures and house platforms surviving as prominent earthworks west of the farm. Surrounding the village remains are areas of well preserved broad ridge and furrow agriculture which are included in the scheduling. To the east of the village and west of the farm the ridge and furrow forms discrete blocks separated by balks and headlands. In places the ridges are up to 10m wide and 0.4m high. South of the farm is a boggy area which is a silted up village pond or possibly fishpond. Tunstall Farm, its garden and farm buildings and Tunstall View and its gardens are totally excluded form the scheduling. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are fences, gates, electricity and telegraph poles, gas pipe markers, feeding troughs, and all road and track surfaces; the ground beneath, all these features is, however, included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 31350

Legacy System: RSM


Annis, R, Results Watching Brief at Shrunken Medieval Village of Tunstall, (1997)

End of official listing