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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 413
Date assigned Wednesday, June 10, 1998
Date last amended


REASON FOR DESIGNATION 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. In the northern border areas, recurring cross-border raids and military activities also disrupted agricultural life and led to abandonments. 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. The medieval monastic grange 200m south of Roystone Grange is important because its remains are in a good state of preservation, having suffered minimum disruption through later development. It also has an intact field system associated with the domestic arrangements of the settlement, including the foundations of contemporary enclosure walls. The survival of archaeological remains representing several phases of occupation are important to our understanding of the development of medieval agricultural settlements. DETAILS The monument includes the remains of a medieval grange and associated field system with the foundations of its contemporary enclosure walls. Also included is a dewpond, identified as dating to the Romano-British period. The grange comprises two adjacent sites with evidence that each represents a different period of occupation. The remains of buildings, platforms and enclosures in the south western part of the site are identified as those of the earliest phase of settlement during the medieval period. Excavations during the 1980s revealed that the first phase of occupation occurred during the late 12th or 13th century. The main building appears to have been an aisled structure, about 15m by 10m, with drystone walls, the remains of which stand slightly above foundation level. Another building to the immediate north is likely to be contemporary with the main building. A further, slightly smaller, building was added during the 13th century immediately to the south. The remains of a stairway indicates that it had an upper room. This building appears to have been abandoned after a relatively short time and Evidence shows that all of the buildings were deserted around the end of the 13th century. It is likely that the 12th and 13th century buildings were vacated due to frequent flooding and from about 1300 to 1750 settlement concentrated on drier land to the north. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the grange continued as a farm. The remains of the buildings and domestic enclosures of this later phase of occupation can be identified as upstanding earthworks to the north of the earlier phase. Although this part of the monument has not been excavated, sampling has recovered pottery fragments confirming the period of occupation. During the 18th century, the present farmhouse of Roystone Grange was constructed a few metres to the north. To the east of the domestic settlement areas is an enclosed field in which the remains of ridge and furrow ploughing can be identified. At least two separate fields can still be seen in the surviving earthworks. The foundation levels of the drystone wall enclosing the field system have also been dated to the medieval period. Extensive studies of wall types in the Roystone valley now enable such chronological development to be understood. The location of the field system in relation to the medieval grange indicates that it was used to grow arable crops for domestic consumption. A few metres to the west of the earliest phase of the medieval grange is an enclosed dewpond and a natural spring. The relationship of the spring and dewpond to the settlement indicates that it served the medieval community. However, an analysis of its enclosure wall shows that the dewpond is likely to have Romano-British origins. A building constructed during the early 20th century, formerly used to pump compressed air to quarry workings further north in the valley, stands to the immediate east of the earlier phases of the grange. The arrangement of the medieval settlement shows that the pumphouse stands within the settlement complex and remains are likely to survive below its structure. The grange was owned by the Cistercian Garendon Abbey in Leicestershire, founded in 1133. In early records, Roystone was referred to as 'Reevestones'. Historical documents indicate that the grange was primarily a wool producer, a function supported by the archaeological evidence obtained during the 1980s. All gates, fences, stiles and posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included. Also excluded from the scheduling are all drystone walls except their foundation courses and the ground beneath them which are included together with a 2m margin. The wall foundations are included because of their medieval or Romano-British origins. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Hodges, R. - Title: Wall-to-wall History: the story of Roystone Grange - Date: 1991 - Type: DESC TEXT

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1998. Scheduling Notification: Medieval Grange and Field System, 200m south of Roystone Grange. List entry no. 1018088. SM Cat. No. 413.



Grid reference Centred SK 2008 5659 (214m by 236m)
Map sheet SK25NW

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Record last edited

Aug 21 2013 4:25PM

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