Deserted medieval settlement at Filgrave, immediately west of Rectory Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021372

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1975

Date of most recent amendment: 26-Nov-2004


Ordnance survey map of Deserted medieval settlement at Filgrave, immediately west of Rectory Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Tyringham and Filgrave

National Grid Reference: SP 87781 48437


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. The South Midlands local region is large, and capable of further subdivision. Strongly banded from south west to north east, it comprises a broad succession of clay vales and limestone or marlstone ridges, complicated by local drifts which create many subtle variations in terrain. The region is in general dominated by nucleated villages of medieval origin, with isolated farmsteads, mostly of post-medieval date, set in the spaces between them. Depopulated village sites are common, and moated sites are present on the claylands.

Medieval manorial settlements, comprising small groups of houses with associated gardens, yards and paddocks, supported communities devoted primarily to agriculture, and acted as the foci for manorial administration. Although the sites of many of these settlements have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were abandoned at some time during the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. The reasons for desertion were varied but often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land-use such an enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their abandonment, these settlements are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain welll-preserved archaeological deposits, providing information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy and on the structure and changing fortunes of manorial communities. The site of the medieval settlement of Filgrave is clearly represented by an area of well-defined earthworks, in which evidence for the nature of the settlement will be preserved. The crofts and building platforms will contain buried evidence for houses, barns and other structures, accompanied by a range of boundaries, refuse pits, wells and drainage channels, all related to the development of the settlement. Artefacts buried in association with these features will provide further insights into the lifestyle of the settlement's inhabitants and assist in dating the changes to the settlement through time. Environmental evidence may also be preserved, illustrating the economy of the settlement and providing further information about its agricultural regime. Although there is no detailed evidence documenting the settlement, it is likely that its decline was due to enclosure of the fields by the local lords at Tyringham. The focus of the settlement in the form of the remains of the church of St Mary and the medieval manor are thought to survive as buried features and will retain important information pertaining to the development of the settlement. The church, abandoned in the 17th century, will retain evidence for the nature of this principal building. Burials dating from the earliest phases of the church will survive within the embanked enclosure of the graveyard and these will provide information relating to the medieval community. The site of the manor will provide evidence for the status of the settlement. The fishpond is believed to date from medieval times when those who could afford the cost of their construction and maintenance, created fishponds to ensure a constant food supply.


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


The monument includes the buried and visible remains of the medieval settlement of Filgrave, located some 600m to the east of the modern village of Filgrave. The medieval settlement occupies an area of pasture and woodland sited on high ground immediately to the west of Rectory Farm and overlooking the village of Emberton to the north east. The settlement, which is believed to have been abandoned by the late 16th century, included a church and graveyard, a manor house, other settlement remains such as tofts and crofts, a hollow way, a fishpond and cultivation earthworks in the form of ridge and furrow. The main focus of the settlement is a roughly triangular raised platform at the north end of the site which is thought to represent the buried remains of the medieval church of St Mary. The church, which originally consisted of a chancel, nave and tower, was available for use in 1585, though by this time services had ceased `through neglect of the rector'. By 1636 there was apparently no roof, and trees were growing on the walls. In 1730 only the tower and part of the side walls were still standing and by 1758 the remaining parts had been removed to repair a local mill. Shortly after this the foundations are recorded as being dug up by the rector to repair the parsonage. The graveyard associated with St Mary's Church occupies an embanked enclosure immediately to the east of the church site. It continued in use for burial for some time after the church was pulled down. To the west and south side of the church site are a series of enclosures subdivided by ditches, banks and trackways which represent the remains of crofts (yards and paddocks associated with medieval buildings). The largest of these enclosures, towards the north west corner of the monument, has been interpreted as representing the location of the manor house. Immediately to the west of this large enclosure, and separated from it by a shallow bank, is a linear area of woodland known as Buryorchard Spinney. Within the wood is a north-south aligned fishpond, measuring over 15m in length and with a bank on its west side. Immediately to the south of the croft and tofts and north of the Filgrave Road are the remains of the medieval field system visible as ridge and furrow cultivation. These open fields were divided into furlongs which were cultivated in narrow strips, or lands, to ensure drainage and allow an equal division of the available soil conditions among the various tenants and serfs. A trackway which runs along the eastern edge of the site, extends northwards from the Filgrave Road and to the west of Rectory Farm. At the south east corner of the church site it becomes a broad and deep hollow way and changes direction to curve around the southern and western edge of this platform. It then continues northwards as a trackway beyond the scheduling, in the direction of Emberton. Between the cultivation earthworks and the north-south trackway is an area where there are few earthworks which may represent enclosed fields for the grazing of animals. Two irregularly shaped ponds here are believed to be modern. There is no separate mention of Filgrave in Domesday records, however it was surveyed as part of Tyringham manor and valued at ten hides. The manor is believed to have belonged to the Bishop of Coutances but was returned to the Crown when his lands were confiscated. In the late 12th century Henry II gave the manor to Halenod de Bidun and when the Bidun property was divided up the manor of Filgrave was passed to William de Briwere and then to Baldwin Wake. In 1221 a fine of lands in Filgrave was passed between William Fitz Roland and Simon le Curtvalice and in 1257 a fine was levied between John de Tyringham and John le Blake and Felicia his wife, of messuages and lands in Filgrave, to the use of John de Tyringham. There were several proprieters of land in Filgrave but the main owners were the Tyringhams who continued to own Filgrave along with the Tyringham Estate. In 1160 the advowson of the church at Filgrave was given to the abbey of nuns dedicated to St Mary de la Pre, near Northampton. Following the Reformation, either the advowson was sold to the Tyringham family or the churches of Tyringham and Filgrave were united. It is possible that the parishioners abandoned Filgrave church for the one at Tyringham in the late 16th century after the roof had fallen in. All road surfaces, fences, stiles, goal posts, gates, mangers, cattle feeders and horse jumps 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: 35358

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of, (1905), 318,340
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of, (1905), 485
Ratcliffe, O , History and Antiquities of the Newport Pagnell Hundreds, (1900), 153-155
Ratcliffe, O , History and Antiquities of the Newport Pagnell Hundreds, (1900), 153-155
Kelke, W H, 'Records of Bucks' in Desecrated Churches of Bucks, (1860), 199-205
Kelke, W H, 'Records of Bucks' in Desecrated Churches of Bucks, (1860), 199-205

FX 0033, CUCAP (St. Joseph), Filgrave DMV and church site, (1951)
Owner in 1950's, Rossiter, T,
SAM 130, West, JJ , Filgrave Deserted Medieval Village, (1975)
SAM 130, West, JJ, Filgrave Deserted Medieval Village, (1975)
Title: Map of the Parish of Tyringham cum Filgrave Source Date: 1839 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: BRO: 392
Title: Ordnance Survey 1st Edition Map Source Date: 18 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Tyringham cum Filgrave Source Date: 1837 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: BRO: AR 79/83 No.3

End of official listing