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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 533
Date assigned Monday, September 8, 2003
Date last amended


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. Placenames 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 earthwork and buried remains of the abandoned part of Mugginton medieval settlement, including parts of its open field system, are relatively well- preserved and retain significant archaeological remains. The earthworks conform to the layout of the existing settlement, illustrating the linear layout and piecemeal abandonment of parts of the village. As a whole, Mugginton will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of medieval settlement in the area and its position in the wider landscape. DETAILS The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of the abandoned areas of the medieval settlement of Mugginton and part of the associated field system. The monument is situated on a west facing slope leading down towards Hungerhill Brook. Mugginton is first mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 where it is documented that Gamel held enough land for six ploughs, the lordship had land for one plough and eight villagers and eight smallholders held enough for two ploughs. There was a church, a priest, a mill, and three acres of meadow and pasture one and a half leagues long and one league wide. At the time of the survey the settlement was valued at 20 shillings. It is not clear when or why parts of Mugginton were abandoned but a document dated to March 1710 lists a number of tenants who were turned out of their homes and a number of buildings which were `ruined, pottdown and wasted'. The monument survives as a series of earthwork and buried remains. Running north to south along the western edge of Beeches Farm house and yard is a wide sunken gully which is interpreted as a sunken track or hollow way. The hollow way is approximately 10m wide and is visible from the northern edge of the monument to just east of Wellcroft where it appears to have been distorted by a relatively modern field drain gully. Abutting the eastern side of the hollow way are two, large, terraced platforms which are defined by low banks. The largest of these is situated between Beeches Farm and Wellcroft and occupies an area approximately 50m by 60m. Evidence from aerial photographs suggests this enclosure was once divided into two. Further earthworks on the surface of this platform indicate the site of at least one medieval building or toft. The second terraced enclosure is situated at the junction between Taghole Lane and Church Lane, just south of Wellcroft. The platform measures approximately 50m by 40m but appears to have been truncated by the southern boundary of Wellcroft. The platform is clearly terraced and marked by low banks on the western side and earthworks are evident on the surface suggesting the site of another building. A third terrace is located adjacent to Taghole Lane on the southern boundary of the monument. This is sub-rectangular in shape, smaller than the other two at approximately 30m by 35m and steeply banked with a sharp drop on the western side. The bank defining the terrace is only evident on the western and northern sides but the terrace appears to represent another building platform. The positions of all the enclosures and building platforms conform to the linear development of the existing village along Church Lane. Taghole Lane itself is a sunken road and once continued to the west to link with the southern edge of Ravensdale Deer Park which lies 1 km to the west. To the west of the hollow way and extending over the remainder of the field are the earthwork remains of part of the medieval open field system associated with the village. These are visible as furlongs (groups of lands or cultivation strips) marked by headlands. The cultivation strips collectively form ridge and furrow and survive to a height of at least 0.3m. Running north to south through the field system, approximately 50m west of the hollow way, is another wide gully which is again interpreted as a hollow way. This probably acted as a back lane and provided access to the fields. All modern fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Title: Halllowes Papers - Date: 1710 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: ref. 187/27/1 Book Reference - Title: Mugginton - Date: 1999 - Type: AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH Book Reference - Author: Wood, S. (translator) - Title: Domesday Book: Derbyshire - Date: 1978 - Type: DESC TEXT

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: 2003. Scheduling Notification: Mugginton medieval settlement and part of an open field system. SM Cat. No. 533.



Grid reference Centred SK 2829 4308 (255m by 253m)
Map sheet SK24SE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Oct 11 2013 2:56PM

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