Medieval farmstead and field system, 530m south east of The Grange


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019312

Date first listed: 03-Apr-2000


Ordnance survey map of Medieval farmstead and field system, 530m south east of The Grange
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven (District Authority)

Parish: Linton

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven (District Authority)

Parish: Thorpe


National Grid Reference: SE 00291 62400


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 evolved gradually during the past 1500 years or more. The Craven Block local region, including the Askrigg Block, encompasses the high moorlands south of Stainmore. Away from the `specialist nucleations' of post-medieval date (the clusters of houses associated with mining and the railways), dispersed settlement includes both seasonal and permanent farmsteads, as well as specialist sheep and cattle ranches. The latter were normally outlying dependencies of larger settlements or estate centres located in adjacent regions. In these upland environments, dating settlements can be difficult.

Farmsteads, normally occupied by only one or two families and comprising small groups of buildings with attached yards, gardens and enclosures, were a characteristic feature of the medieval rural landscape. They occur throughout the country, the intensity of their distribution determined by local topography and the nature of the agricultural system prevalent within the region. In some areas of dispersed settlement they were the predominant settlement form; elsewhere they existed alongside, or were components of more nucleated settlement patterns. The sites of many farmsteads have been occupied down to the present day but others were abandoned as a result of, for example, declining economic viability, enclosure or emparkment, or epidemics like the Black Death. Farmsteads are a common and long-lived monument type; the archaeological deposits on those which were abandoned are often well- preserved and provide important information on regional and national settlement patterns and farming economies, and on changes in these through time. In the medieval period there was 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 and farmstead 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. Coaxial field systems are a form of land management introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700BC). They form elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries. They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which can be many kilometres in extent. Their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as part of medieval and later field patterns. Coaxial field systems are also known to date from the early medieval period and follow broadly the same pattern as their prehistoric antecedents. The remains of the farmstead and adjacent field system 530m south east of The Grange survive well and significant archaeological evidence is preserved. The possible early date for the farmstead is particularly significant. The remains provide important scope for the study of early agriculture and settlement in the Dales and the impact of such development of the landscape into the medieval period and beyond.


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


The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of an early medieval farmstead and a sample of the adjacent medieval field systems. It is located in undulating land to the south of the River Wharfe, 1km east of the village of Linton. In the medieval period this area of the Dales supported a number of nucleated settlements, but the wider landscape demonstrates a dispersed pattern of small farmsteads and hamlets. The remains of the farmstead survive as substantial earthworks up to 1m high, situated on a north facing slope in the north eastern area of the monument. The farmstead took the form of an irregular grouping of buildings with associated yards and enclosures, some located on terraces cut into the slope. It extends over an area approximately 170m east to west by 140m north to south. At the top of the slope there are two east-west aligned level platforms measuring up to 20m by 6m which would have supported wooden buildings. A similar building platform lies within the north east of the farmstead. The remains of an 18th century field wall extends north-south across the centre of the farmstead; this stands on the top of an earlier stone bank. Near the southern end of this bank there are the earthwork remains of two rectangular stone-footed buildings measuring approximately 3m by 6m which are aligned north-south. These lie to the west of the bank so that it forms their eastern walls. At least two more substantial earth and stone banks also extend north- south. The space between these banks is subdivided by slighter banks extending east-west, which thereby divide the ground immediately around the farmstead buildings into large enclosures. To the west of the farmstead there is a further set of prominent banked enclosures built on terraces. The banks are up to 0.75m high and 2m wide and the enclosures measure up to 20m by 10m. The eastern side of the farmstead is formed by a large earthen bank 5m wide and 1.5m high which also extends 150m to the south. The adjacent villages of Linton and Thorpe were both in existence by the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086. The farmstead lay within the medieval township of Linton. The form of the buildings on the site, particularly the indication of long narrow timber buildings, is similar to known Viking period farmsteads in the Dales and suggests that the settlement may have originated at this time, and thus well before Domesday. Fragments of 10th century sculptured stones in the nearby church at Burnsall indicate that the area was certainly settled at this time. Post-medieval activity on the farmstead is indicated by a number of small stone quarries and associated spoil heaps. The fields to the south and west of the farmstead retain significant earthwork remains of a medieval field system associated with the township of Linton. Only a sample of well preserved field system remains are included in the monument to preserve their relationship to the farmstead. The field system includes wide terraces which are constructed on the slope to provide level ground. There is a prominent series of such terraces up to 8m wide extending east-west in the southern area of the monument and some smaller north-south aligned examples further to the north. Elsewhere, the field system includes large blocks of parallel linear earthworks known as ridge and furrow which are subdivided by headlands and balks. Analysis of the alignment and form of the earthworks shows different stages of construction which represent the development of the field system over time. In common with other parts of the Dales the medieval field system seems to overlie an earlier prehistoric system. The latter is known as a co-axial system because the main fields were defined by parallel banks which extend for great distances across the landscape. The medieval system is overlain and in places obscured by the post- medieval enclosure fields which dominate the landscape today. Some of the post-medieval walls which form the enclosure landscape incorporate earlier boundaries in their construction and, therefore, the foundations of the walls are included in the scheduling. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these include all gates, fences, tree guards and the posts and stays for overhead powerlines, although the ground beneath these features is included. The foundations of the field walls are included in the monument, but not the walling above.

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: 31366

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Moorhouse, , Project research design, (1996)
ANY 314/8, (1987)
Letter to MPP Archaeologist, Cale K, Archaeological watching brief Linton to Burnsall O/H line, (2000)
Moorhouse S, (2000)

End of official listing