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 West Midland Plateau sub-Province of the Northern and Western Province, which is marked by a series of low plateaux and escarpments, often with rather sandy soils, and great clay vales containing alluvial and gravel terraces. Still well wooded in 1086, the area embraced forests such as Kinver, Feckenham, Cannock and Arden. Compared with the land to the east, the area had significantly lower numbers of nucleations and, with the exception of the Severn valley, carried a mixture of medium to very high densities of dispersed settlement. This included diverse hamlets, common-edge scatters of small farms and cottages, and isolated larger farmsteads, generally moated, many being of medieval foundation. The Upper Trent and Dove local region is marked by varied terrain. The alluvial tracts and terraces of the Trent and Dove mask a core clay lowland, with Needwood Forest forming the watershed, while to the north and south are the rising lands of Cannock Chase and the southern Pennines. It has low densities of nucleated settlement, and medium and high densities of dispersed settlement. Place names indicate much woodland in the early Middle Ages.
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. Medieval villages were supported by a communal system of agriculture based on large, unenclosed open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into strips (known as lands) 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 lands were laid out in groups known as furlongs defined by terminal headlands at the plough turning-points and lateral grass baulks. Furlongs were in turn grouped into large open fields. Well preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context adjacent to village 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. The tradition of constructing decoy ponds began in the medieval period but gained popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries when large numbers were built. Most examples which survive in a near complete state of preservation will be considered of national importance and worthy of protection. The earthwork remains of the abandoned areas of Barton Blount medieval settlement and the standing remains of St Chad's Church are particularly well preserved and retain significant archaeological remains. The archaeological and historical documentation along with aerial photographic records combine to provide a detailed picture of the layout, development, economy and decline of the settlement. As a whole, the medieval settlement of Barton Blount will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of medieval settlement in the area and the wider agricultural landscape. The decoy pond is also well preserved. The silts in the main pond and the pipes provide key contexts for the preservation of artefactual, ecological and environmental evidence. These offer a valuable source of information about everyday life and the changing environment from the construction to the decline of the decoy pond.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the abandoned areas of Barton Blount medieval settlement, the buried and standing remains of St Chad's Church and a decoy pond. The monument is in three areas of protection to the north, west and south of Barton Hall. The monument is situated on clay in undulating terrain which rises gently to the north and west.
Barton Blount is first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it is recorded that 'Barctune' was held by Henry de Ferieres. In addition to extensive plough lands, the settlement is documented as having a priest, a church, two mills worth twenty shillings, and sixty four acres of meadow. At the time of the Domesday survey the parish was worth a total of four pounds. In the 13th century the manor was held by the family of Bakepuz; at this time it became known as Barton-Bakepuz to distinguish it from numerous other places of the same name. The name was changed to Barton Blount in 1381, when the manor was purchased by Sir Walter Blount. Sometime after Sir Walter's death in 1403 at the Battle of Shrewsbury, his great grandson Walter became the owner of Barton Blount. In 1465 Walter was created Lord Mountjoy but died in 1474 owning a total of 42 manors covering six counties. In the middle of the 16th century, James, the sixth Lord Mountjoy, sold Barton Blount and other portions of his estates.
In 1644, during the Civil War, a Parliamentary garrison was placed at Barton Hall. The garrison was positioned to counteract the Royalist garrison of Tutbury. The castle at Tutbury was surrendered on 20th April 1646 after which Barton Hall was disqarrisoned. St Chad's Church was damaged during the war and by the early 18th century was in a dilapidated condition.
Barton Hall, which is not included in the scheduling, was built in the 15th century as a moated, semi-fortified manor house but 18th, 19th and 20th century alterations to the buildings and gardens are mainly responsible for its appearance today. It is Listed Grade II*. Part of the moat, specifically the south west arm, was infilled when the grounds were landscaped. This area is now part of the terraced gardens to the south and south west of Barton Hall. Large ornamental fishponds to the south west of the hall are also thought to have been cut from the earlier moat, although the formal, lined fishponds obscure any surviving evidence of the earlier feature. These features are not included in the scheduling.
Excavation of part of the settlement remains in the late 1960s and early 1970s has shown that the village was occupied from the tenth to the 15th century and included five periods of expansion. Barton Hall and St Chad's Church mark the centre of the original village with subsequent expansions to the north and north east. A large section of the village, to the north and north east of the area of protection, was ploughed after the excavations were carried out. The excavations showed that the earliest structures, built in the early 13th century, were simple timber buildings and were followed in the later period by timber framed houses of a more permanent nature which rested on pad stones. At least six houses had sunken yards. Excavation of one of these revealed that they were crew yards in which cattle were penned during the winter. Crew yards were a late development in the village, probably originating in the second half of the 14th century, and related to the specialization of pastoral farming. It is possible that a change from arable to pastoral farming contributed to the decline of the village because fewer people were required for pastoral farming.
In the area to the north east of the church lie the earthwork and buried remains of six crofts (plots of land) and tofts (building platforms). These lie either side of the sunken track. The track was originally the main street of the village. The largest and most clearly visible platform lies to the north of the track and is defined by steep banks surviving up to approximately lm in height. A sunken track runs in a north easterly direction from the northern corner of this platform. The other crofts and tofts are defined by much lower banks and are visible in the paddocks to the south east of Rags Plantation but extend into the plantation itself.
Another sunken track runs from the main street, between two platforms on the south east side of Rags Plantation. This would have provided a back lane to the fields which abut the crofts to the south east. The track is still used as access to paddocks and is defined by a double field boundary. The track continues in a straight line on the north side of the main street along the alignment of a field boundary. The southern edge of the track has been degraded by the development of Parkswood Stud but the track is still visible, particularly at its northern end where it turns to the north east and links with a second group of crofts and tofts situated on the northern edge of the area of protection. The tofts and crofts are well preserved and survive as earthworks standing to a height of approximately 0.75m. Within this group six crofts containing tofts are aligned with a wide, sunken track which runs from north west to south east along the field boundary which marks the northern edge of the area of protection. Both ends of the track have now been truncated by the boundary fence.
To the west and south west of these crofts and to the south east and north west of those adjacent to the Main Street are the remains of part of the medieval open field system. The surviving remains are visible as parts of 11 furlongs (groups of lands or cultivation strips) marked by headlands. The cultivation strips collectively form ridge and furrow which is curved in the shape of an elongated reverse 'S'. This shape developed over the years from the need to swing the plough team out at the end of a strip to enable it to turn and to continue ploughing in the opposite direction. The remains survive to a height of 0.75m.
The church is situated in the landscaped grounds of Barton Hall approximately 30m north of the hall itself and is contained within a separate area. The medieval church, which is Listed Grade 11, was rebuilt in 1714 and again in 1845 using medieval masonry. The building is constructed of course squared sandstone and ashlar with a plain tile roof. The lower courses of the walls are of medieval origin and a blocked doorway on the north side of the building is also a remnant of the medieval structure. The interior is mainly 19th century with a plaster ceiling but the church contains a 14th century effigy and a late medieval font.
Approximately 150m south west of Barton Hall is the site of a decoy pond. The main body of the pond measures approximately 100m in length and 60m in width and accommodates an island of approximately 25m by 25m. At the northern end of the pond a long, narrow, slightly curving, channel or 'pipe' extends to the north for approximately 50m. A short extension to the south of the pond may be the remains of a second pipe although this is truncated by a dam. The pond is fed by a spring which is situated approximately 450m to the north. The stream runs in a south westerly direction, through a weir, to a water inlet channel which meets the pond at the northern end of the pipe. Water leaves the pond at the dam on the southern side and is channelled away along what is now a field drain. The pond would have been dug from the natural clay and as such is unlikely to have required additional reverting or lining. The island and enclosing woodland would have provided ideal natural resting and breeding areas for wildfowl and particularly ducks. The ducks would then be enticed up the pipe by the scattering of bait or by a small dog. The pipe would be covered in netting and once the birds were in the narrower end of the pipe the netting would be dropped and the birds trapped.
All modern fences, gates, farm buildings, metalled surfaces and the windpump building are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.
Book Reference - Author: Page, William (ed) - Title: Victoria History of the County of Derbyshire - Date: 1905 - Page References: 339 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Beresford, G. - Title: Medieval Clay-land village: Excavations at Goltho and Barton - Page References: 1-106 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Page, W - Title: Victoria History of the County of Derby - Date: 1905 - Volume: 1 - Page References: 339 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Pevsner, N and Williamson, E - Title: The Buildings of England: Derbyshire - Date: 1978 - Page References: 85 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Wright, S - Title: Barton Blount: Climatic or economic change? - Date: 1976 - Journal Title: Medieval Archaeology: Journal of the Society of Medieval Studies - Volume: 1976 - Page References: 148-152 - Type: DESC TEXT
Article Reference - Author: Auden, Rev. A. M. - Title: Barton Blount and the Civil War - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeology Journal - Volume: Vol 43 - Page References: 1-18 - Type: DESC TEXT
Article Reference - Author: Auden, Rev. A. M. - Title: Barton Blount and the Civil War - Date: 1921 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: Vol43 - Page References: 1-18 - Type: DESC TEXT
Article Reference - Author: Beresford, G. - Title: The Medieval Clay-land village - Page References: 1-106 - Type: DESC TEXT
Article Reference - Author: Pevsner, N. - Title: The buildings of England - Derbyshire - Date: 1978 - Page References: 85 - Type: DESC TEXT