Wildthorpe medieval settlement 680m south of Leylands Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020579

Date first listed: 24-Apr-2002


Ordnance survey map of Wildthorpe medieval settlement 680m south of Leylands Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 07:44:59.


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

District: Doncaster (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Cadeby

National Grid Reference: SE 51126 01213


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 Pennine Slope sub-Province of the Central Province, which embraces the varied scarp and vale topography flanking the higher portions of the southern Pennines, where narrow escarpments of limestone and sandstone and softer shale vales give a distinct north-south grain to the landscape. Dispersed settlement increases from extremely low to medium densities in the south east of the sub-Province to high densities at the north west. With the exception of Sherwood Forest, the region is well stocked with nucleated settlements, some old but others the result of 18th- and 19th- century industrial developments. Anglo-Saxon `wood' names are common among placenames, and the area was well wooded in 1086. The Permian Limestone Ridge local region is an area of great diversity. A long, narrow outcrop of limestone is cut by a succession of rivers and streams flowing eastwards. There are wide contrasts in the amounts of both nucleated and dispersed settlement. At the time of Domesday Book only the northern part of the region contained recorded settlements, while the place-names of the southern part indicate woodland in Anglo-Saxon times.

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 include the parish church within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages include 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 earthwork and buried remains of the abandoned medieval settlement of Wildthorpe are well-preserved and retain significant archaeological remains. The earthworks, provide a picture of the layout of the settlement and its chronological development. As a whole, the medieval settlement of Wildthorpe will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the development and subsequent abandonment of medieval settlement in the area and its position in the wider landscape.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the abandoned medieval settlement of Wildthorpe. The monument is situated in the grounds of High Melton Hall which was built in 1757 and is now part of Doncaster College. It is situated on a slight terrace approximately 90m above sea level, on the western escarpment of Lower Magnesian Limestone. Wildthorpe is first mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 where it is documented that Roger de Busli owned enough land for one plough and that there was a priest there. At this time Wildthorpe was worth a total of 20 shillings 8 pence. The reasons for desertion are unclear but it is thought to have been a gradual process rather than the result of a single act of displacement due to emparking. A series of deeds referring to the settlement indicate that the village still had its own open field system in the early 17th century but was probably deserted by 1670. The monument survives as a series of earthwork and buried remains. Running north to south along the western edge of the monument, and curving along its southern side, is a wide sunken gully which is interpreted as a sunken track or hollow way. This is approximately 10m wide and sits on the edge of the scarp which drops away steeply to the west. The hollow way was later incorporated into the landscaped grounds of High Melton Hall and forms an extension of what is known as The Dean's Walk. Abutting the eastern side of the hollow way is a series of six rectangular enclosures which are aligned east to west. These are defined by low banks and are interpreted as crofts. At the western end of three of the crofts, and close to the hollow way, are smaller rectangular features, again defined by low banks. These measure approximately 12m by 13m and are interpreted as the sites of medieval buildings or tofts with the low banks representing the buried remains of walls. It would appear that Wildthorpe was a linear settlement arranged along the line of the hollow way which would have provided the main access route through the settlement. At the southern end of the monument is a large rectangular terrace measuring approximately 45m by 33m with the defining banks surviving to a height of 0.5m. There are slight undulations on the surface of the terrace but these are difficult to define. This area has been the subject of a small scale excavation and it may be that some features have been degraded or obscured during these investigations. The excavation trench revealed the footings of a building. These were constructed of roughly dressed limestone, laid to a width of about 0.6m, with rubble infilling. The footings measured just over 3m in length, including a doorway, and, at right angles to this, another footing measuring 2.5m in length. These remains were associated with 14th and 15th century pottery. In the north east corner of the monument, to the east of the crofts, is a large oval shaped hollow up to 20m in diameter and 1m deep. This appears to truncate one of the croft boundaries suggesting that it is post-medieval in date. It is interpreted as a quarry, dug to obtain stone for the construction of the hall or landscape features associated with it. The physical association of the quarry to the medieval earthworks, which survive to the north, east and south, means that important information about the chronological sequence of activity on the site is retained. All modern fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these 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: 29994

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
WEA history group, , Sprotborough in history part II, (1969)
Roberts, J. G, Altered by the hands of taste:halls, parks and landscapes in the, 1995, undergraduate dissertation Sheffield

End of official listing