Information for record number MWA1308:
Wormleighton Deserted Village

Summary The Medieval deserted settlement of Wormleighton. Documentary evidence records the pattern of the desertion and records the final villagers being forced out in 1498 and 1499. The earthworks of house platforms and hollow ways are still visible.
What Is It?  
Type: Deserted Settlement, House Platform, Hollow Way
Period: Medieval (1066 AD - 1539 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Wormleighton
District: Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 44 54
(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
Picture(s) attached


Source Number  

1 Enclosure and depopulation here is well documented. John Spencer bought the property from the depopulator, William Coope, and restored the church and some of the houses.
2 Excellent archaeological evidence (A) and excellent documentary evidence (1*).
3 Site of Manor House on a raised platform (PRN 1310), earthworks of village street, crofts and fishponds (PRN 1309).
4 Evidence appears to indicate that the population had declined by half even before the depopulation of 1499. William Cope gained control of the entire parish and destroyed twelve messuages and three cottages and drove 60 persons from the land. The total depopulation could have amounted to 85 people. The village consisted of two parallel rows of rectilinear homesteads and crofts separated by a long narrow green that extended from the ford SE towards a suite of fishponds. Investigation with soil augers revealed little stone walling and the buildings were probably simple timber and thatch structures. Copy of plan in FI file.
5 Scheduled as Warwickshire Monument No 118. Very clear Site with shrunken roads and rectangular house platforms/ entrances. One banked Site is much larger than any of the others, probably the Site of the Medieval Manor House. The village was dispossessed in 1498.
6 1966: One of the largest deserted Sites in Warwickshire, under permanent pasture and in excellent condition.
7 Two magnificent rows of house platforms of uniform dimensions arranged regularly along either side of a straight village street. It is distant from the church and probably from the earliest nucleus of settlement in the parish and may, therefore, represent subsequent settlement.
8 Planned in 1971.
10 SAM description.
11 A management agreement allowing public access exists.
12 Archaeological observation of repairs to the Oxford Canal and an adjacent culvert, within the DMV of Wormleighton, revealed no Medieval remains. The culvert was late 18th century, contemporary with the Canal, and carried a watercourse that may have originated either as a Medieval roadside ditch or a Post Medieval fish pond drain.
13 In 1992 archaeological observations took place during replacement of the electricity poles. The new holes were dug directly over the old sockets and no apparent damage to archaeological deposits occurred.
14 Correspondence relating to a management agreement.
15 Memo from 1990 about rights of way.
16 Scheduling information.
17 Annotated plan.
18 The deserted Medieval settlement was visible as earthworks and was mapped from recent aerial photographs as part of the SE Warwickshire and Cotswolds HLS NMP survey. The Oxford Canal, constructed in the 18th century, bisected the settlement and also destroyed part of the moated Manor House. Further earthworks and a continuation of the main village street can be followed to the northwest and centred at SP 4405 5433. At 4402 5440 a Medieval ford has been identified which lines up with the main village street. These earthworks west of the Canal have been plough levelled on recent aerial photographs, as is part of the moated manor Site centred at SP 4406 5423. The earthworks visible on aerial photographs corresponded fairly well with a 1974 archaeological plan of the settlement. This plan also suggests that a group of settlement earthworks centred at SP 4467 5390, west of the church, may possibly represent part of the original Medieval settlement nucleus. Associated Medieval ridge and furrow has also been recorded. There is also possible ridge and furrow within the large rectangular pond, but it may be later improvement drainage as the ditches appear to post-date the probable mound or island.
19 HER polygon altered to reflect NMP mapping and lidar imagery. Note that there is certainly ridge and furrow inside the large pond and that the mound only really exists as a slight hump on top of the ridge and furrow. Also that the northern side of the polygon is really outside of the settlelemtn earthworks and consists of probable 16th centruy drainage channels and ridge and furrow.

Source No: 9
Source Type: Aerial Photograph
Title: SP2661 and SP2662
Author/originator: Various
Date: Various
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: SP2661AB-AC SP2662A-
Source No: 11
Source Type: Archaeological Report
Title: Arch Obs at Oxford Canal, Wormleighton
Author/originator: Meek J
Date: 1996
Page Number:
Source No: 7
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: TBAS vol 86
Author/originator: Bond C J
Date: 1974
Page Number: 94
Volume/Sheet: 86
Source No: 3
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Medieval England
Author/originator: Beresford M W and St Joseph
Date: 1958
Page Number: 54-5
Source No: 14
Source Type: Correspondence
Title: Wormleighton DMV
Author/originator: EH
Date: 1988-1992
Page Number:
Source No: 18
Source Type: Desk Top Study
Title: SE Warwickshire and Cotswolds NMP Project
Author/originator: Amanda Dickson
Date: 2010-2012
Page Number:
Source No: 15
Source Type: Note
Title: Wormleighton public rights of way
Author/originator: WCC
Page Number:
Source No: 13
Source Type: Observation Report
Title: Arch Obs at Wormleighton 1992
Date: 1992
Page Number:
Source No: 17
Source Type: Plan
Title: Wormleighton
Date: 1968 ?
Page Number:
Source No: 8
Source Type: Plan
Title: TBAS vol 86
Author/originator: Bond C J
Date: 1974
Page Number: Fig 6
Volume/Sheet: 86
Source No: 6
Source Type: Record Card/Form
Title: OS Card 25NW3
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1966
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 25NW3
Source No: 20
Source Type: Serial
Title: West Midlands Archaeology Vol 57
Author/originator: CBA West Midlands
Date: 2015
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: No 57
Source No: 4
Source Type: Serial
Title: TBAS vol 80
Author/originator: Thorpe H
Date: 1962
Page Number: 59
Volume/Sheet: 80
Source No: 1
Source Type: Serial
Title: TBAS vol 66
Author/originator: Beresford M W
Date: 1945
Page Number: 99
Volume/Sheet: 66
Source No: 16
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: The medieval settlement at Wormleighton
Author/originator: EH
Date: 1999
Page Number:
Source No: 10
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: Wormleighton Deserted Village
Author/originator: DoE
Date: 1982
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 118
Source No: 5
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: Wormleighton DMV
Author/originator: DoE
Date: 1956
Page Number: 2
Source No: 2
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: Deserted Medieval Villages Research Group
Date: 1958
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 6
Source No: 19
Source Type: Verbal communication
Title: Pers. Comm.
Author/originator: B Gethin
Date: 2013 onwards
Page Number:
Wormleighton deserted settlement
Copyright: Warwickshire County Council
Date: 1992
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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.
source OS Card Ordnance Survey Record Card. Before the 1970s the Ordnance Survey (OS) were responsible for recording archaeological monuments during mapping exercises. This helped the Ordnance Survey to decide which monuments to publish on maps. During these exercises the details of the monuments were written down on record cards. Copies of some of the cards are kept at the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. The responsibility for recording archaeological monuments later passed to the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments. back
source TBAS Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society is a journal produced by the society annually. It contains articles about archaeological field work that has taken place in Birmingham and Warwickshire in previous years. Copies of the journal are kept by the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. back
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 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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period Post Medieval About 1540 AD to 1750 AD (the 16th century AD to the 18th century AD)

The Post Medieval period comes after the medieval period and before the Imperial period.

This period covers the second half of the reign of the Tudors (1485 – 1603), the reign of the Stuarts (1603 – 1702) and the beginning of the reign of the Hannoverians (1714 – 1836).
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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 FISHPOND * A pond used for the rearing, breeding, sorting and storing of fish. back
monument SETTLEMENT * A small concentration of dwellings. back
monument WATERCOURSE * A channel used for or formed by the conveyance of water. Can be natural, eg. a river or artificial eg. an aqueduct. Use more specific type where known. 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 CULVERT * A drainage structure that extends across and beneath roadways, canals or embankments. 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 CANAL * An artificial navigable waterway used for the transportation of goods. Nowadays also used for recreational purposes. back
monument STONE * Use only where stone is natural or where there is no indication of function. back
monument MANOR HOUSE * The principal house of a manor or village. back
monument ARCH * A structure over an opening usually formed of wedge-shaped blocks of brick or stone held together by mutual pressure and supported at the sides; they can also be formed from moulded concrete/ cast metal. A component; use for free-standing structure only. back
monument POND * A body of still water often artificially formed for a specific purpose. Use specifc type where known. back
monument DRAIN * An artificial channel for draining water or carrying it off. back
monument CHURCH * A building used for public Christian worship. Use more specific type where known. back
monument ROAD * A way between different places, used by horses, travellers on foot and vehicles. back
monument PASTURE * A field covered with herbage for the grazing of livestock. back
monument DESERTED SETTLEMENT * An abandoned settlement, usually of the Medieval period, often visible only as earthworks or on aerial photographs. back
monument WELL * A shaft or pit dug in the ground over a supply of spring-water. back
monument PLATFORM * Unspecified. Use specific type where known. 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 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 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 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 STRUCTURE * A construction of unknown function, either extant or implied by archaeological evidence. If known, use more specific type. back
monument ROW * A row of buildings built during different periods, as opposed to a TERRACE. back
monument ISLAND * A piece of land, sometimes man-made, completely surrounded by water. back
monument MOUND * A natural or artificial elevation of earth or stones, such as the earth heaped upon a grave. Use more specific type where known. back
monument HOMESTEAD * A small settlement, usually consisting of one dwelling with ancillary buildings. back
monument MESSUAGE * A dwelling-house with outbuildings and land assigned to its use. back
monument EARTHWORK * A bank or mound of earth used as a rampart or fortification. back
monument FORD * A shallow place in a river or other stretch of water, where people, animals and vehicles may cross. back
monument HOLLOW WAY * A way, path or road through a cutting. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record