Information for record number MWA724:
Possible Shrunken Medieval Settlement at Priors Marston

Summary The possible site of a Medieval shrunken village at Priors Marston. The remains of the village are visible as earthworks, including several house platforms. The site lies to the north of Priors Marston.
What Is It?  
Type: Shrunken Village, House Platform
Period: Medieval (1066 AD - 1539 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Priors Marston
District: Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 48 58
(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
Picture(s) attached


Source Number  

1 A 4.2 ha field containing a complex of earthworks. Known as Bury Yard. The field is close to Priory Farm and the name of the Farm and field may indicate that this is the site of the Prior of Coventry's manor house. The earthworks spill over into adjacent fields, but are nowhere as clear as in Bury Yard. The main features in Bury Yard are a number of house platforms adjoining the Farm approach road and S parallel lanes running down to the stream. The site does not seem to be documented.
2 Plan.
3 field ploughed Spring 1977. The Spencer estate map of pre-1758 shows ten buildings in this field. Before ploughing, land drains were laid at a depth of 0.7m and some sherds of Early Medieval pottery were thrown out. When ploughed, four patches of building stone were revealed and seven sandy patches, which probably represented the buildings shown on the Spencer map. The pottery finds ranged from 17th to 19th century.
4 Map.
5 OS card.
6 Information about two fields; Sheep Yard and Bury Yard.
7 Letter with observations about the site.
8 Plan referred to in
9 Plan of the same area drawn in March 1977 at the time it was ploughed.
10 Letter requesting information about early Medieval sherds at the site; unanswered.
11 Polygon edited, based upon cropmarks visible on
13 Area extended to the west to incorporate a number of earthworks visible on Google Earth imagery, c.1999. These earthworks were identified by the AOC Assessment of Local Services Villages for Stratford-on-Avon District Council in 2012.

Source No: 11
Source Type: Aerial Photograph
Title: Microsoft Live Search maps (
Author/originator: Microsoft
Page Number:
Source No: 7
Source Type: Correspondence
Title: Priors Marston shrunken medieval settlement
Author/originator: Southam District Local History Soc
Date: 1973
Page Number:
Source No: 10
Source Type: Correspondence
Title: Deserted Settlement, Priors Marston
Author/originator: WM
Date: 1982
Page Number:
Source No: 13
Source Type: Desk Top Study
Title: Historic Environment Assessment of Local Service Villages, Stratford-on-Avon District, Warwickshire
Author/originator: Carter, H and MacQuarrie, H
Date: 2012
Page Number:
Source No: 6
Source Type: Descriptive Text
Title: Priory Farm, Priors Marston
Date: Post 1977
Page Number:
Source No: 14
Source Type: Internet Data
Title: Google Earth Aerial and Street View
Author/originator: Google Earth
Date: 1945-present
Page Number:
Source No: 4
Source Type: Map
Title: Priors Marston
Author/originator: Spencers Estate Map
Date: 1758
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: Z177:1U
Source No: 2
Source Type: Plan
Title: WMANS 16
Author/originator: HJU
Date: 1973
Page Number: 29
Volume/Sheet: 16
Source No: 8
Source Type: Plan
Title: Earthworks in Bury Field, Priors Marston
Author/originator: Usher, H.
Date: 1973
Page Number:
Source No: 9
Source Type: Plan
Title: Earthworks at Priory Farm, Priors Marston
Author/originator: Usher, H.
Date: 1977
Page Number:
Source No: 5
Source Type: Record Card/Form
Title: OS Card, 35SW28
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1981
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 35SW28
Source No: 1
Source Type: Serial
Title: WMANS no 16 1973
Author/originator: HJU
Date: 1973
Page Number: 28-30
Volume/Sheet: 16
Source No: 3
Source Type: Serial
Title: WMANS no 20 1977
Author/originator: HJU
Date: 1977
Page Number: 96-7
Volume/Sheet: 20
The shrunken Medieval village at Priors Marston
Copyright: Warwickshire County Council
Date: 1993
Click here for larger image  
The possible shrunken village, with ridge and furrow earthworks, at Priors Marston
Copyright: Warwickshire County Council
Date: 1993
Click here for larger image  
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Word or Phrase
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 WMANS West Midlands Archaeological News Sheet, a publication that was produced each year, this later became West Midlands Archaeology. The West Midlands Arcaheological News Sheet contains reports about archaeological work that was carried out in the West Midlands region in the previous year. It includes information about sites dating from the Prehistoric to the Post Medieval periods. It was produced the Department of Extramural Studies at Birmingham University. Copies are held 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 Cropmark Cropmarks appear as light and dark marks in growing and ripening crops. These marks relate to differences in the soil below. For example, parched lines of grass may indicate stone walls. Crops that grow over stone features often ripen more quickly and are shorter than the surrounding crop. This is because there is less moisture in the soil where the wall lies.

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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 YARD * A paved area, generally found at the back of a house. 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 SETTLEMENT * A small concentration of dwellings. 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 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 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 DRAIN * An artificial channel for draining water or carrying it off. back
monument PRIORY * A monastery governed by a prior or prioress. Use with narrow terms of DOUBLE HOUSE, FRIARY, MONASTERY or NUNNERY. back
monument DESERTED SETTLEMENT * An abandoned settlement, usually of the Medieval period, often visible only as earthworks or on aerial photographs. back
monument FIELD * An area of land, often enclosed, used for cultivation or the grazing of livestock. back
monument APPROACH ROAD * A road, sometimes raised as a causeway, which serves as an approach road to a building or bridge. 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 SPRING * A point where water issues naturally from the rock or soil onto the ground or into a body of surface water. back
monument STREAM * A natural flow or current of water issuing from a source. 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