Information for record number MWA8764:
Binley Common Wood

Summary Binley Common Wood, a Medieval (and probably earlier) managed woodland; former grazed common Wood. The Woodland comprises: Woodbanks; a possible Medieval "trench"; an area of ridge and furrow and evidence of ancient coppicing.
What Is It?  
Type: Managed Woodland
Period: Early medieval - Modern (801 AD - 2050 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Binley Woods
District: Rugby, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 38 77
(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 A 4.1 ha remnant of a larger coppice wood, mostly cleared in the mid-20th century for housing. Despite ambiguities in the record, this is probaby one of the two woods recorded in Domesday Book 1086. It was probably a grazed common wood until the mid-18th century, when it was finally enclosed and converted to coppice. The northern edge of the wood is defined by a straight bank and external ditch, around 3m in width. The northern quarter of the wood has straight, relatively narrow and probably late-18th century to early-19th century ridge and furrow throughout, with a large pond cut through it and therefore post-dating it. The woodbank dividing this section of the wood from the southern three-quarters and along the southern edge of the wood are straight, 5-6 m in overall width (including the wood ditch) and currently not dateable. It is possible that the northern woodbank represents the edge of a 13th century "trench", a clearing cut back from the wood to protect travellers using the road to the north but it is not possible to prove this. The presence of coppice stools of ash Fraxinus excelsior up to 1.5 m in diameter on both woodbanks delimiting the southern three-quarters of the wood suggests that they are likely to be at least of 18th century origin. The western edge of the wod has a ditch but no bank; up to at least the mid-20th century there appear to have been two parallel ditches along this edge of the site. The eastern edge has no boundary features, apart from a metal fence erected 1998/9. The northern quarter of the wood is elm Ulmus procera / ash Fraxinus excelsior / sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus, probably planted c.1820-1830. The southern three-quarters is semi-natural hazel Corylus avellana - pedunculate oak Quercus robur woodland, much of which is being invaded by ash and sycamore moving south from the northern part of the wood. Of particular historical significance are three coppice stools of small-leaved lime Tilia cordata in the south-western corner and a clone of service tree Sorbus torminalis, both largely relict species confined to ancient woods. Much of the ground vegetation also consists of plants with an affinity for ancient woods in the area. The former history of grazing has strongly influenced the structure of the wood and probably also the composition, despite more than two centuries since grazing ceased and the wood was enclosed.
2 Presence of extensive old small-leaved lime coppice supports a Medieval date for woodland and may indicate a direct link with Prehistoric wildwood. Documentary evidence suggests that there were several small woods in Medieval times with stretches of heathland between. Some woods primary and others, eg Binley Little woods, secondary as evidenced by fact that overlie broad ridge and furrow marks.

Source No: 1
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: The Historical Ecology of the Woods of Binley, Warwickshire
Author/originator: Dr David Morfitt
Date: 2000
Page Number:
Source No: 2
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: Researching Warwickshire's Woodland History
Author/originator: Morfitt, David
Date: 1998
Page Number: 1-9
Volume/Sheet: 269
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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
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
period Modern The Modern Period, about 1915 AD to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries AD)

In recent years archaeologists have realised the importance of recording modern sites. They do this so that in the future people will be able to look at the remains to help them understand the events to which they are related.
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period Prehistoric About 500,000 BC to 42 AD

The Prehistoric period covers all the periods from the Palaeolithic to the end of the Iron Age.
This is a time when people did not write anything down so there is no documentary evidence for archaeologists to look at. Instead, the archaeologists look at the material culture belonging to the people and the places where they lived for clues about their way of life.

The Prehistoric period is divided into the Early Prehistoric and Later Prehistoric.
The Early Prehistoric period covers the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods.
The Later Prehistoric period covers Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age times.
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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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period modern About 1915 AD to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries AD)

In recent years archaeologists have realised the importance of recording modern sites. They do this so that in the future people will be able to look at the remains to help them understand the events to which they are related.
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monument SITE * Unclassifiable site with minimal information. Specify site type wherever possible. back
monument BROAD RIDGE AND FURROW * Long parallel soil ridges in excess of 5 metres across separated by furrows, formed by using a heavy plough capable of turning the soil. 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 FEATURE * Areas of indeterminate function. back
monument POND * A body of still water often artificially formed for a specific purpose. Use specifc type where known. back
monument ROAD * A way between different places, used by horses, travellers on foot and vehicles. back
monument WOOD * A tract of land with trees, sometimes acting as a boundary or barrier, usually smaller and less wild than a forest. 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 STRUCTURE * A construction of unknown function, either extant or implied by archaeological evidence. If known, use more specific type. back
monument COPPICE * A managed small wood or thicket of underwood grown to be periodically cut to encourage new growth providing smaller timber. back
monument FENCE * A construction of wood or metal used to enclose an area of land, a building, etc. back
monument MANAGED WOODLAND * An area of cultivated, managed woodland producing wood which is used for a variety of purposes. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record