Cawthorne medieval settlement remains 150m north east of West Cawthorne
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1018951
Date first listed: 07-Jul-1999
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This copy shows the entry on 15-Dec-2018 at 21:10:37.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: North Yorkshire
District: Ryedale (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SE 77479 89200
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 past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the East Yorkshire sub-Province of the Central Province,
an area characterised by marked local terrain variations: from the North York
Moors, to the Tabular Hills and Howardian Hills, to the Vale of Pickering and
the chalk Wolds, to the Hull Valley and the silt lands of the Humber and
Holderness. The sub-Province has the relatively low density of dispersed
settlements which marks the Central Province, but this uniformity masks strong
settlement contrasts. Some regions were typified by low density dispersed
settlement in the Middle Ages, whereas others have achieved a similar pattern
through extensive depopulation of medieval villages.
The Tabular Hills local region is a limestone plateau on the southern fringe
of the North York Moors. Where it dips beneath the younger, softer deposits of
the Vale of Pickering, varied soils and assured water supplies have encouraged
a distinctive chain of villages and hamlets along the break of slope.
Nevertheless nucleations are also found high on the plateau and in the deep
valleys between the moors and the limestone.
Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, generally sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but where 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. 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 medieval settlement remains at Cawthorne are an example of a small village sited to exploit a natural water source. Its importance is heightened by its proximity to the earlier Anglian settlement at Cawthorne Roman camps.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of the medieval settlement
of Cawthorne, originally one of the townships of Middleton parish, located
between, and to the north of the surviving farms of West and East Cawthorne.
The Domesday Book recorded that Gospatric, son of Arnketill held the manor at
Cawthorne in 1066 along with the manor of neighbouring Cropton and that these
two manors included woods three leagues long and a league wide. Gospatric had
been held hostage by William I when his father had been involved in the 1069
rising and by 1086 Cawthorne was one of those lands he held from the king, the
last member of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy to be a tenant-in-chief in
Yorkshire. In c.1106 Cawthorne was transferred to Robert de Brus by Henry I
as part of a larger landholding known as the Brus Fee. From at least the
13th century, Cawthorne was part of the manor of Cropton in the honour of
Rosedale, held by the Stuteville family. Sometime after 1220 and before his
death in 1241, Eustace de Stuteville gave land in Cawthorne to St Peter's
Hospital in York. Cawthorne then passed to Thomas le Wake and was mentioned as
being part of the Wake Fee in 1284-85. The township is little mentioned until
1578 when it was still part of the manor of Cropton. The following year the
manor of Cawthorne, the first time since the Domesday Book that an independent
manor had been referred to, was conveyed to Sir William Fairfax. This manor
then passed through at least seven ownerships by sale or marriage over the
subsequent 70 years.
Archaeological work on Cawthorne Roman camps, which lie in a defensive
position 1km to the north east at the top of a scarp, has suggested that one
of the camps was re-used in the post-Roman Dark Ages for an Anglian
settlement. Sometime later this settlement is thought to have shifted to
Cawthorne to take advantage of a natural watercourse of linked ponds, one of
which lies in the south eastern corner of the monument, in the angle of
Cawthorne Lane and the track to West Cawthorne Farm. This pond is
approximately 50m by 20m and will contain valuable environmental information
about the medieval settlement within its silt. The surviving earthworks of the
medieval settlement extend up hill to the west of the pond and include an
enclosure defined by a substantial ditch and beyond this, a large building
platform terraced into the rising ground further to the west. Most of the
enclosure is relatively level and is approximately 90m north-south and between
40m and 50m wide. To the north and west it is defined by a broad, flat
bottomed ditch which is also thought to have acted as a trackway as it is
joined from the north east by a track, now blocked by the hedge line, leading
off Cawthorne Lane. The west side of this trackway is defined by the remains
of a wall line or stony bank which is also included within the scheduling. The
base of the ditch around the enclosure is typically 0.75m below the surface of
the enclosure, but up to 2.5m below the rising ground to the west, and is
between 8m and 15m across. The east side of the enclosure is marked by a steep
scarp down to the pond and to the south by the hollowed trackway up to West
Cawthorne Farm. Within the enclosure there are a number of low earthworks
including, in the south west corner, the footings for a pair of small
buildings or walled pens 5m to 7m across. Just to the north of these remains
there is a rectangular area about 4m by 6m, partly defined by grassed over
wall footings, cut out of the side of the ditch. Further remains of typically
timber built peasant houses, rubbish pits and other features will survive as
buried remains. Up hill and to the east of these features there is a building
platform in the form of a terrace 30m north-south by 20m wide cut into the
rising ground. This is considered to have been for either a house or another
building such as a barn.
The telegraph poles for an electricity power line and the modern fences are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 32632
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Page, W , The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire: North Riding: Volume I, (1914), 453-455
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