Information for record number MWA2359:
Site of Shrunken Settlement at Upper Brailes

Summary The site of a Medieval shrunken village at Upper Brailes. Evidence for the shrunken village is visible in some areas as earthworks.
What Is It?  
Type: Shrunken Village, Market, Fair
Period: Medieval (1066 AD - 1539 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Brailes
District: Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 30 39
(Data represented on this map shows the current selected record as a single point, this is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent an accurate or complete representation of archaeological sites or features)
Level of Protection National - Old SMR PrefRef (Grade: )
Sites & Monuments Record

Source Number  

1 Linear earthworks marking out plots show on aerial photographs. This may mark out an area of shrunken Medieval settlement at Brailes.
2 Additional aerial photographs taken in January 1992 have added to both the detail and extent of these earthworks.
3 A transcription has been prepared at 1:2500.
4 The earthworks have been verified on the ground at several locations within Upper Brailes.
5 An archaeological evaluation carried out by the OAU on land adjacent Henbrook Lane, Upper Brailes revealed no archaeology and two sherds of Medieval pottery.
6 A watching brief carried out by Warwickshire Museum found no Medieval finds and no archaeological features
7 In the Domesday Book the woodland entered for the manor of Brailes in southern Warwickshire lay in Tanworth in the heart of the Arden.
8 Fair Charter granted for Mondays on August 16th 1248 by Henry III to John de Plessis, earl of Warwick and Margery his wife. To be held at manor. Fair recorded in 1275. Fair Charter granted for vigil feast morrow George (23rd April) on 16th August 1248 by HenryII to John de Plessis, earl of Warwick and Margery, his wife. To be held at manor. (location uncertain, see also 2315).
9 Find of a Medieval harness pendant, an arrowhead and a buckle plate at SP30653930 in 1995. The method of recovery was not recorded.
11 A cultivation soil containing only 11th-century pottery was recorded during observation at land adjacent to Midcot, Upper Brailes, together with probable linear features, a pit and posthole with 11th- to 13th-century pottery. The pottery in the posthole is likely to be residual, and no definitely Medieval structural evidence was found. An undated ditch, roughly following the present southern boundary may have been a Medieval or early post-Medieval predecessor. The absence of later Medieval and early post-Medieval pottery suggests abondonment of the site or perhaps conversion to pasture in the 14th century.
12 Portable Antiquities Scheme find provenance information: Date found: 2003-10-18T23:00:00Z Date found: 2005-09-17T23:00:00Z Methods of discovery: Metal detector
13 A large number of earthworks within Upper Brailes have been mapped as part of the South East Warwickshire and Cotswolds HLS Target Areas National Mapping Programme. Individual areas have often been mapped separately by the NMP but are here included within the whole HER monument boundary for the medeival settlement. These include: NRHE 1570814: An area of Medieval settlement is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs. The site comprises a series of probable boundary banks suggesting at least five probable crofts, a probable building, a pair of hollow ways and a pond. At least two of the boundary banks and the pond overlie or cut four associated blocks of ridge and furrow. NRHW 1573176: An extensive area of Medieval settlement is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs taken between 1947 and 2001, though some areas of the earthworks have been levelled on aerial photographs taken in 2007. The site is extensive and complex, and comprises at least 40 building platforms at least 30 crofts which are divided by around 50 hollow ways and boundary banks. The most complex and best preserved earthworks are located between Grove End and Cawley’s Covert, though the earthworks also extend up the main north-south oriented road.
14 The earthworks at Brailes are extremely complex and the NMP has made a good attempt at plotting them. The HER settlement boundary has been altered here and there to accommodate most of these earthworks but occasionally some have been left outside of the HER settlement boundary as, although they do exist, they appear to be outside of the known crofts and tofts. These are normally the occasional bank, hollow way or pond. Essentialy the NMP plotting gives a very good impression of the complexity and good survival of both Upper and Lower Brailes.
15An evaluation at Myrtle Cottage, Upper Brailes identified two Medieval layers containing significant concentrations of unabraded Medieval pottery. The total of 70 sherds recovered during the evaluation represents the largest assemblage of Medieval pottery found during any archaeological work within Brailes. A single trench was investigated and although no definite traces of any dwelling were excavated it is probable that the site formed part of a Medieval plot consisting of a house with garden to the rear although the exact boundaries of this plot are now unclear.

Source No: 2
Source Type: Aerial Photograph
Title: SP3039
Author/originator: WM
Date: 1992
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: SP3039B-H etc
Source No: 1
Source Type: Aerial Photograph
Title: SP4967
Author/originator: CUCAP
Date: 1966
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: SP4967A
Source No: 3
Source Type: Aerial Photograph Transcript
Title: Brailes parish
Author/originator: WM
Date: 1992
Page Number:
Source No: 13
Source Type: Desk Top Study
Title: SE Warwickshire and Cotswolds NMP Project
Author/originator: Russell Priest
Date: 2010-2012
Page Number:
Source No: 9
Source Type: Museum Enquiry Form
Title: WMEF 3423
Author/originator: P.Wise
Date: 1995
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 3423
Source No:
Source Type: Evaluation Report
Title: Myrtle Cottage, Upper Brailes, Warwickshire: Archaeological Evaluation
Author/originator: Gethin B
Date: 2013
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 1340
Source No: 5
Source Type: Evaluation Report
Title: Grove End House, Upper Brailes: Archaeological Evaluation
Author/originator: OAU
Date: 1991
Page Number:
Source No: 15
Source Type: Evaluation Report
Title: Myrtle Cottage, Upper Brailes, Warwickshire: Archaeological Evaluation
Author/originator: Gethin B
Date: 2013
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 1340
Source No: 12
Source Type: Internet Data
Title: Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) Database
Author/originator: British Museum
Page Number:
Source No: 8
Source Type: Internet Data
Title: Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs to 1516 (Warwickshire)
Author/originator: Institute of Historical Research (CMH)
Date: 2005
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: Warwickshire
Source No: 7
Source Type: Monograph
Title: Medieval Villages
Author/originator: Hooke D
Date: 1985
Page Number: 147
Volume/Sheet: OUCA Monograph 5
Source No: 10
Source Type: Observation Report
Title: Archaeological Observation at land adjacent to Midcot, Upper Brailes, Warwickshire
Author/originator: E Pratt and C Rann
Date: 2009
Page Number:
Source No: 11
Source Type: Serial
Title: Medieval Settlement Research Group Annual Report
Author/originator: Medieval Settlement Research Group
Date: 2007
Page Number:
Source No: 4
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: Pers. Comm.
Author/originator: Hodgson J C
Date: 1992
Page Number:
Source No: 14
Source Type: Verbal communication
Title: Pers. Comm.
Author/originator: B Gethin
Date: 2013 onwards
Page Number:
Source No: 6
Source Type: Watching Brief Report
Title: Grove End House, Upper Brailes.
Author/originator: Palmer, Stuart
Date: 1992
Page Number:
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Word or Phrase
source Domesday Book The Domesday Book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. It contains records for about 13,000 medieval settlements in the English counties south of the rivers Ribble and Tees (the border with Scotland at the time). The Domesday Book is a detailed record of the lands and their resources that belonged to the king. It also records the identity of the landholders and their tenants. back
source WMEF Warwickshire Museum Enquiry Form. These are forms that are filled in when a person brings an object to Warwickshire Museum to be identified. Amongst the information recorded on the form are details such as a description of the object, where and when it was found, and in some cases a sketch or photographs of it. Copies of the form can be viewed at the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. back
technique Earthwork Earthworks can take the form of banks, ditches and mounds. They are usually created for a specific purpose. A bank, for example, might be the remains of a boundary between two or more fields. Some earthworks may be all that remains of a collapsed building, for example, the grassed-over remains of building foundations.

In the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky than during the other seasons, earthworks have larger shadows. From the air, archaeologists are able to see the patterns of the earthworks more easily. Earthworks can sometimes be confusing when viewed at ground level, but from above, the general plan is much clearer.

Archaeologists often carry out an aerial survey or an earthwork survey to help them understand the lumps and bumps they can see on the ground.
technique Aerial Photograph Aerial photographs are taken during an aerial survey, which involves looking at the ground from above. It is usually easier to see cropmarks and earthworks when they are viewed from above. Aerial photographs help archaeologists to record what they see and to identify new sites. There are two kinds of aerial photographs; oblique and vertical. back
period Medieval 1066 AD to 1539 AD (the 11th century AD to the 16th century AD)

The medieval period comes after the Saxon period and before the post medieval period.

The Medieval period begins in 1066 AD.
This was the year that the Normans, led by William the Conqueror (1066 – 1087), invaded England and defeated Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in East Sussex.
The Medieval period includes the first half of the Tudor period (1485 – 1603 AD), when the Tudor family reigned in England and eventually in Scotland too.

The end of the Medieval period is marked by Henry VIII’s (1509 – 1547) order for the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the years running up to 1539 AD. The whole of this period is sometimes called the Middle Ages.
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monument LAYER * An archaeological unit of soil in a horizontal plane which may seal features or be cut through by other features. back
monument HOUSE * A building for human habitation, especially a dwelling place. Use more specific type where known. back
monument VILLAGE * A collection of dwelling-houses and other buildings, usually larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town with a simpler organisation and administration than the latter. back
monument SITE * Unclassifiable site with minimal information. Specify site type wherever possible. back
monument ARCHAEOLOGICAL FEATURE * Use only for features assumed to be archaeological but which cannot be identified more precisely without further investigation .Use more specific term where known back
monument SETTLEMENT * A small concentration of dwellings. back
monument TOFT * The place where a house stood or had once stood, often adjoining a garth or croft. back
monument BUILDING * A structure with a roof to provide shelter from the weather for occupants or contents. Use specific type where known. back
monument BOUNDARY BANK * An earthen bank that indicates the limit of an area or a piece of land. back
monument RIDGE AND FURROW * A series of long, raised ridges separated by ditches used to prepare the ground for arable cultivation. This was a technique, characteristic of the medieval period. back
monument BOUNDARY * The limit to an area as defined on a map or by a marker of some form, eg. BOUNDARY WALL. Use specific type where known. back
monument SHRUNKEN VILLAGE * A settlement where previous house sites are now unoccupied, but often visible as earthworks, crop or soil marks. back
monument DWELLING * Places of residence. back
monument POND * A body of still water often artificially formed for a specific purpose. Use specifc type where known. back
monument MARKET * An open space or covered building in which cattle, goods, etc, are displayed for sale. back
monument FAIR * A site where a periodical gathering of buyers, sellers and entertainers, meet at a time ordained by charter or statute or by ancient custom. back
monument ROAD * A way between different places, used by horses, travellers on foot and vehicles. back
monument PIT * A hole or cavity in the ground, either natural or the result of excavation. Use more specific type where known. back
monument PASTURE * A field covered with herbage for the grazing of livestock. back
monument LINEAR FEATURE * A length of straight, curved or angled earthwork or cropmark of uncertain date or function. back
monument BUILDING PLATFORM * A site where a building once stood as identified by a level area of ground, often compacted or made from man-made materials. Use only where specific function is unknown, otherwise use more specific term. back
monument MUSEUM * A building, group of buildings or space within a building, where objects of value such as works of art, antiquities, scientific specimens, or other artefacts are housed and displayed. back
monument MANOR * An area of land consisting of the lord's demesne and of lands from whose holders he may exact certain fees, etc. back
monument LINEAR EARTHWORK * A substantial bank and ditch forming a major boundary between two adjacent landholdings. Most date from the late Bronze Age and Iron Age. back
monument TRENCH * An excavation used as a means of concealment, protection or both. back
monument DITCH * A long and narrow hollow or trench dug in the ground, often used to carry water though it may be dry for much of the year. back
monument GARDEN * An enclosed piece of ground devoted to the cultivation of flowers, fruit or vegetables and/or recreational purposes. Use more specific type where known. back
monument CROFT * An enclosed piece of land adjoining a house. back
monument TARGET * Any structure or object, used for the purpose of practice shooting by aerial, seaborne or land mounted weapons. back
monument EARTHWORK * A bank or mound of earth used as a rampart or fortification. back
monument HOLLOW WAY * A way, path or road through a cutting. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record