Medieval village remains get protected status - The Rugby Observer
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Medieval village remains get protected status

Rugby Editorial 25th Jun, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

THE remains of a medieval village has been given ancient monument status.

It means the area of land alongside a small stream running through Ashby St Ledgers has the same legal protection as some of the most historic sites in the country.

The medieval village was first documented in Domesday Book of 1086 with a population of 24. Its remains today comprise hollow ways, building platforms known as tofts, associated gardens known in medieval times as crofts, the site of a dovecote, and ridge and furrow.

Areas covered by the protection are on both sides of a small east flowing stream – once a road – at the west end of the village around Cherry Tree Farm, and on the south side of the stream between the farm and the Manor House.

There are no definite records that the once Y-shaped village was deserted for any particular reason as some were due to disease, and experts believe it is more likely there was a simple movement of people rather than a shrinkage of the settlement.

English Heritage described it is among the best-preserved lost villages in the area because of the exceptional survival of its earthworks and buried remains that reveal the layout of the settlement as it would have been as far back as 1,500 years ago.

It is now a criminal offence to do any works that would demolish, damage, remove, repair, add or alter it, use a metal detector without prior consent or remove any historic or archaeological objects found without permission from the Government.

Other deserted and shrunken medieval villages in Northamptonshire at Walgrave, Clipston, Little Oxendon, Horton, Steane and Kirby have also been given ancient monument status.

Coun Alan Chantler, Daventry District Council’s planning spokesman, welcomed their new status.

“It’s great news for our district and Northamptonshire as a whole and further recognises the historical importance of our area and its rich, varied heritage.

“Protecting our heritage is a priority for the council and we are currently embarking on a major review of conservation areas across our district.”

Sarah Gibson, English Heritage designation team leader for the east, added: “Northamptonshire’s abandoned villages are repositories of information about the past and archaeologists will be able to use the remains of the villages to tell us more about the social life and economy of Northamptonshire many hundreds of years ago.”

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