Medieval settlement of Little Broughton, associated field system and site of medieval chapel


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018921

Date first listed: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement of Little Broughton, associated field system and site of medieval chapel
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 03:27:22.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Hambleton (District Authority)

Parish: Great and Little Broughton

National Grid Reference: NZ 55774 06925


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 of Little Broughton survives well and significant evidence of the domestic and economic development of the settlement will be preserved.


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


The monument includes earthwork and buried remains of the medieval village of Little Broughton and parts of its associated field system. It is located in undulating land 2km east of Broughton and covers the whole of the field known as Chapelgarth. Little Broughton Beck flows east to west through the monument with the settlement remains located to the south and the field system remains to the north. The beck was once much wider and formed two river terraces up to 1m high approximately 20m from the line of the current stream. The intervening land contains a number of earthworks, some of which have been formed by natural river action. This area is included in the monument as remains associated with water side activities and crossing points may survive, although obscured by the natural features. The medieval village is mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 where it is known by the name of Broctune. The Lay Subsidy accounts of 1334 suggest that by this date the village was a small hamlet. The village went into decline in the 14th century, probably from a combination of the Black Death and associated economic collapse and as a result of Scottish raids. The village was not completely abandoned, however, as it is recorded in 1479 that there was a mill and a chapel dedicated to St Mary at Little Broughton. The surviving village earthworks lie to the north of a road, which lies along the line of the medieval village street, and extend northward as far as the edge of the river terrace. Originally there may have been further remains of the village to the south of the road, but no earthworks now survive in this area. The surviving earthwork remains include a row of rectangular building platforms along the southern side of the monument fronting onto the village street. These survive as low earthen banks up to 0.5m high and measuring up to 15m east to west by 5m north to south. At the western end of the row is a hollow way extending northward with further remains of buildings along the eastern side. To the rear (north) of the building platforms are a series of rectangular yards up to 30m long. At the northern side of these is a narrow trackway which formed a back lane at the rear with further, smaller building platforms and enclosures between the track and the edge of the river terrace. There is a reference in the medieval document known as the Black Book of Hexham to a chapel at Little Broughton, after which the name Chapelgarth is taken. The location of the chapel is uncertain. On the northern side of the river the ground rises northward from the edge of the river terrace. Approximately 40m up the slope and extending east to west across the central part of the field there is a 3m wide terrace which is the remains of a trackway. To the north of the trackway is an area of broad ridge and furrow orientated north to south with a prominent bank known as a balk along the eastern edge separating it from a further area of ridge and furrow to the east. In the north eastern corner of this area of ridge and furrow there are the earthwork remains of a rectangular, agricultural building measuring 15m north to south by 7m east to west. South west of this at the edge of the ridge and furrow and adjacent to the end of the trackway there is a circular earthwork, 4m in diameter, which is interpreted as the remains of a stack stand used for drying corn. At the western end of the trackway there is another area of ridge and furrow orientated east to west which extends from the north of the monument to the river. Where the trackway meets this area of ridge and furrow there is a series of small low earthworks representing boundaries, small enclosures and buildings associated with the working of the field system. Between the trackway and the river terrace there are faint traces of ridge and furrow. The footbridge and two buried water/sewerage tanks 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: 31356

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grifiths, M, Medieval Villages of the Tees Lowlands, (1976)
Grifiths, M, Medieval Villages of the Tees Lowlands, (1976)
SMR entry,

End of official listing