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Monument record MDR5572 - Possible deserted medieval village, Church or Little Wilne

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Church Wilne or Little Wilne is listed as a possible deserted medieval village. There are earthworks in pasture to the west of the church, the only village building which remains, surrounded by the derelict lagoons and quicksands of the Hoveringham Gravel Company. (1-3) Excavation at the deserted medieval village was carried out by Miss H Wheeler for the Trent Valley Archaeological Research Committee. The plan of one complete building, consisting of padstones for crucks and a pebble foundation for walling was excavated. A number of post-holes and post-trenches indicated other building methods. A river course which seemed to have silted up in the late medieval period ran through the site, and afforded excellent preservation of wooden stakes, brushwood, vegetation etc. (4) There are earthworks in the field east of St. Chad's Church which have not recently been ploughed. North of this field, 12th-13th century pottery has been recovered from field walking after ploughing. (5) Threats from gravel quarrying prompted archaeological investigations in 1974 and 1975, directed by Hazel Wheeler. The work began with a contour survey of the site and was followed by small-scale excavations south and east of St Chad's Church. Excavations of a possible house platform immediately south of the church revealed the ground plan of a rectangular timber-framed or possibly mud construction, much disturbed by ploughing but preserving traces of walls set upon a foundation of compacted stones. The building was constructed upon a thick clay silt deposit from which came a significant amount of mainly redeposited pottery, bone and other material of mainly 12th to 15th century date. It was suggested that this deposit may have been deliberatively created to form a level and dry foundation for the building. Excavations to the east of the church revealed a linear boundary ditch cutting through the line of an abandoned river channel. To the north of this, on slightly raised ground, a dense distribution of pits, post-holes and gullies was identified, yielding medieval pottery, animal bones and teeth, metalwork, smithing slag and other artefacts. The majority of the medieval pottery was found to be production waste, displaying signs of misfiring. It may have been shipped from a production site to be used as hardcore, or even possibly produced at Church Wilne. Late Saxon pottery and a decorated copper alloy strap end suggest a pre-Conquest origin for the settlement, but no structural remains of this period were identified. A few residual Romano-British sherds were also found. Excavations to the south of the rectangular building uncovered traces of a palaeochannel which appears to have remained open until well into the modern period. This may be interpreted as the latest component of the complex of southward-migrating channels that extended south of the church, and incorporated significant quantities of worked and unworked wood, pottery and other domestic rubbish deposited over a protracted time period. In addition to the above, earthworks were identified to the west of the Wilne Road, although these have now been destroyed. (6) Excavations took place on a proposed gravel extraction site. A 15th century building above a watercourse was revealed. The watercourse yielded abundant timbers, the origins of which remain uncertain. Excavations to the south of St. Chad’s Church revealed four successive river courses. Further low-angle, cross-bedding structures were exposed within the sections. All the watercourses were overlain by a ‘flood-layer’ dated to the 15th century. Maps of the 16th century and early 17th century indicate a hamlet in the area located to the east of the Derwent. The distribution of field systems to the north-west of the church suggests that the meander was abandoned by the 17th and 18th centuries. (7)

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Article in serial: Md Vill Research Gp 23 1975.
  • <2> Article in serial: L E Webster & J Cherry. 1976. Medieval Archaeology. Volume 20. p198.
  • <3> Article in serial: Usher, H J. 1978. 'Derbyshire', Medieval Village Research Group, 26th Annual Report. pp 6-7. p 6.
  • <4> Article in serial: East Midlands Committee of Field Archaeologists. 1978. East Midlands Archaeological Bulletin, 1978. No. 12. p 4.
  • <5> Index: TPAT. 2248. 2248.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Knight, D (TPA). 2011. Church Wilne Deserted Settlement: Assessment of Archaeological Potential.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Knight, D & Howard, A (TPAT). 1994. Archaeology and Alluvium in the Trent Valley, an Archaeological Assessment of the Floodplain and Gravel Terraces.



Grid reference Centred SK 448 317 (197m by 448m) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR3446
  • EDR417

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Record last edited

Mar 15 2020 10:49AM

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