Bleasby medieval village


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019051

Date first listed: 25-Nov-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of Bleasby medieval village
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Dec-2018 at 01:21:31.


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

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Legsby

National Grid Reference: TF 12966 84742, TF 13178 85003


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 Trent sub-Province of the Central Province, where the broad Trent valley swings in a great arc across midland England. Underlain by heavy clays, it is given variety by superficial glacial and alluvial deposits. Although treated as a single sub-Province, it has many subtle variations. Generally, it is characterised by a great number of villages and hamlets which cluster thickly along scarp-foot and scarp-tail zones, locations suitable for exploiting the contrasting terrains. Throughout the sub-Province there are very low and extremely low densities of dispersed farmsteads, some of which are ancient, but most of which are 18th-century and later movement of farms out of earlier villages.

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. 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 Bleasby, 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 enclosures, including those of the moated manor, will preserve structural and artefactual evidence for domestic and economic activities on the site, giving an insight into the lifestyle of the inhabitants. Waterlogging in parts of the site will also preserve organic material such as wood and leather, together with environmental remains which will provide information about the nature of the landscape in which the village was set. The association of the village remains with those of its open fields will also preserve evidence for the economy of the settlement and its place in the wider medieval landscape.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of Bleasby medieval village, in two separate areas of protection to the north and south of Bleasby House. The settlement was established before the late 11th century, when the Domesday Book records two manors at Bleasby and a population of ten. By the late 13th century the Bleasby family, who were named after the village, held both of the manors, and by the mid-14th century were also tenants of monastic holdings there. By 1563 the population of the village had declined to only seven households. The Bleasby family continued until the end of the 16th century, although the manor house remained in use until the mid-17th century. In 1846 there were only three dwellings in the village, forming part of a farm located to the south west of the medieval manor; these were finally abandoned in about 1850 when the present Bleasby House was built out to the north of the manor. The medieval village was laid out along a low ridge which runs roughly north-south. At the highest part of the site, approximately 70m south east of Bleasby House, is a moated enclosure approximately 34m square. In the northern part of the enclosure are earth-covered building remains standing to a height of about 0.4m, representing a brick or stone building believed to be the manor house belonging to the Bleasby family. The moat, which is up to 2m deep, is crossed on the northern side by a causeway which is thought to represent the original access to the island. The southern and eastern arms of the moat are retained by an external bank, and an outlet channel runs downhill from the south eastern corner of the moat towards two ponds, both roughly rectangular, on the eastern slope of the stream. The southern arm of the moat overlies an earlier hollow way which is still visible to the east and west of the moated site, indicating that the moated manor was established over earlier settlement remains, probably in the 13th or 14th century. A raised rectangular enclosure on the south side of the moated site also formed part of the manorial complex; it is crossed by a later hollow way representing the course of a post-medieval road. Further ditched enclosures associated with the manor site extend south and east towards the stream. Adjacent to the south west of the manorial complex is a further series of raised enclosures, including earth-covered building remains, representing a post-medieval farm complex which remained in use until the mid-19th century. Documentary sources indicate that this farm included a house and garden, two cottages, outbuildings and closes. Adjacent to both the medieval manorial complex and the post-medieval farm, where the ground slopes gently to the west, are a series of house plots including the remains of buildings and yards. Further raised enclosures are located in the western part of the monument where they partly overlie the remains of earlier ridge and furrow cultivation. The hollow way which extends roughly east-west between these enclosures represents a medieval road which remained in use until the early 19th century. To the north of Bleasby House is a further area of earthworks, including a series of enclosures aligned along a north-south hollow way which would formerly have linked with hollow ways in the southern part of the village. The northern part of the settlement may have originated as the focus of the second manor recorded in the Domesday Book, perhaps being replanned when the later manorial complex was established over the south eastern part of the village. Extending both east and west from these settlement enclosures are the remains of ridge and furrow cultivation, representing parts of two furlongs, the only surviving parts of a once extensive system of open fields which formerly surrounded the village. All 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.

Legacy System number: 22765

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing