SK 209 346 Barton Blount, deserted medieval village. (1)
St Joseph air photograph shows distinct irregularities visible in an area of rig and furrow at SK 212 351. Excavations in 1968-69 by G Beresford for the Deserted Medieval Village Research Group and MPBW (see plan) revealed a sequence of superimposed timber buildings dated from the late Saxon period to the 15th century. Finds included pottery of the 11th to 15th century including two Chesterware rims and much Stamford ware as well as quern stones, lead spindle whorls and whetstones. Full report of excavations 1968-69 and catalogue of finds, now in Derby Museum and Art Gallery. This area has since been ploughed and large ashlar blocks and stones of paths brought to the surface. Crofts 1 to 9 and 26 to 31 (see fig. 3 in Authority 7) still survive. (1-7)
The village site occupies gently undulating ground, rising generally to the north and east. OS aerial photographs (75 247 152-153) reveal the ploughed-out eastern sector of the village, but standing crops prevented perambulation of this area. The surviving crofts and sunken ways are under pasture. There has been modern interference on the western fringe. Surveyed at 1:2500 on MSD's. (8)
'Barctune' was mentioned in Domesday and in 1087 it was a substantial settlement with a manor bestowed upon Henry de Ferrers after the conquest. During the 13th century the manor was held by the Bakepuze family, who sold it to Sir Walter Blount in 1381. Discussion of the possible causes of population declining at Barton Blount: climatic change or change from agrarian to pastoral economy in the 14th century. (9, 10)
The scheduled 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. 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.
Excavation of part of the settlement remains in the late 1960s and early 1970s has shown that the village was occupied from the 10th 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. 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. To the west and south west of the 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.
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. 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 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.
See Scheduled Monument record for more details. (11)