Information for record number MWA6211:
Shrunken Medieval Settlement at Priors Hardwick

Summary Earthwork remains of a Medieval shrunken village at Priors Hardwick. Priors Hardwick is first recorded as one of 24 vills given to Earl Leofric to found the monastery at Coventry, the grant was confirmed by Edward the Confessor in 1024.
What Is It?  
Type: Shrunken Village, Ditch, Pit
Period: Medieval (1066 AD - 1539 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Priors Hardwick
District: Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 47 56
(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: )
Scheduled Monument (Grade: )
Sites & Monuments Record

Source Number  

1 In Medieval times, Priors Hardwick was more important than Priors Marston, and Marston was a chapelry of Hardwick at least until the Dissolution. In the Lay Subsidy Roll c1332, the population of Marston and Hardwick were similar, but in the 16th century Marston was outstripping Hardwick and this process has continued to the present day. The Prior of Coventry was presumably the instigator of the depopulation, but no documentary evidence has survived.
2 See individual cards for details.
3 A settlement is first recorded as one of 24 vills granted to Earl Leofric to found a monastery at Coventry, the grant was confrimed by Edward the Confessor in 1024. By the time of the Domesday Survey the settlement amounted to 15 hides among the Priory estates. The population of the village was falling during th 16th century and it is believed that desertion, in favour of sheep pastures, soon followed. the present village contains buildings largely of the 18th century and results from later regrowth of the settlement on a different alignment. The earthwork remains represent a series of regular tofts and crofts defined by banks and ditches forming enclosures including some subdivided plots that also contain house platforms.
4 Geophysical survey and trial trenching (EWA7261, centred on SP47375613), identified two features on the periphery of the settlement. One a linear feature dating to the Medieval period and a shallow linear and pit from which no dating evidence was recovered. Geophysical plots of 0.65ha and 40m of trial trenching targetted on features.
5 Archaeological observation during soil stripping for the construction of a menage (EWA7340, centred on SP47405614), revealed a former field boundary ditch but no Medieval remains. Three undated possible pit features may have been horticultural in origin.

Source No: 1
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Earthworks in Farm Close
Author/originator: Usher H
Date: 1977
Page Number:
Source No: 4
Source Type: Evaluation Report
Title: Land at Priors Hardwick, Warwickshire, Archaeolgical Evaluation
Author/originator: M J Noel - Foundations Archaeology
Date: 2000
Page Number:
Source No: 5
Source Type: Observation Report
Title: Archaeological Observation at Elmers Farm, Priors Hardwick, Warwickshire
Author/originator: Gethin B
Date: 2003
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: Report No 0336
Source No: 3
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: Priors Hardwick Deserted Medieval Settlement
Author/originator: Foster C
Date: 1998
Page Number:
Source No: 2
Source Type: Verbal communication
Title: R.C. Hingley personal comments
Author/originator: R C Hingley
Page Number:
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Word or Phrase
none Scheduled Monument Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) are those archaeological sites which are legally recognised as being of national importance. They can range in date from prehistoric times to the Cold War period. They can take many different forms, including disused buildings or sites surviving as earthworks or cropmarks.

SAMs are protected by law from unlicensed disturbance and metal detecting. Written consent from the Secretary of State must be obtained before any sort of work can begin, including archaeological work such as geophysical survey or archaeological excavation. There are nearly 200 SAMs in Warwickshire.
technique Documentary Evidence Documentary evidence is another name for written records. The first written records in Britain date back to the Roman period. Documentary evidence can take many different forms, including maps, charters, letters and written accounts. When archaeologists are researching a site, they often start by looking at documentary evidence to see if there are clues that will help them understand what they might find. Documentary evidence can help archaeologists understand sites that are discovered during an excavation, field survey or aerial survey. back
technique Geophysical Survey The measuring and recording of electrical resistivity or magnetism in order to determine the existence and outline of buried features such as walls and ditches. Geophysical techniques include resistivity survey, magnetometer survey and ground penetrating radar. View Image 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.
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 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 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 SHRUNKEN VILLAGE * A settlement where previous house sites are now unoccupied, but often visible as earthworks, crop or soil marks. back
monument FEATURE * Areas of indeterminate function. back
monument PRIORY * A monastery governed by a prior or prioress. Use with narrow terms of DOUBLE HOUSE, FRIARY, MONASTERY or NUNNERY. back
monument BOUNDARY DITCH * A ditch that indicates the limit of an area or a piece of land. 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 FIELD * An area of land, often enclosed, used for cultivation or the grazing of livestock. back
monument ENCLOSURE * An area of land enclosed by a boundary ditch, bank, wall, palisade or other similar barrier. Use specific type where known. 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 HIDE * A shelter, sometimes camouflaged, for the observation of birds and animals at close quarters. back
monument CROFT * An enclosed piece of land adjoining a house. back
monument HOUSE PLATFORM * An area of ground on which a house is built. A platform is often the sole surviving evidence for a house. back
monument MONASTERY * Houses specifically of monks, canons or religious men but not friars. back
monument VILL * Small discreet rural settlements which do not provide the commercial, legal or ecclesiastical services typically found within medieval urban areas. back
monument FARM * A tract of land, often including a farmhouse and ancillary buildings, used for the purpose of cultivation and the rearing of livestock, etc. Use more specific type where known. back
monument EARTHWORK * A bank or mound of earth used as a rampart or fortification. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record