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Name:Great Stretton deserted medieval village
HER Ref:MLE2485
Parish:Little Stretton, Harborough, Leicestershire
Grid Reference:SK 657 004
Map:Coming soon

Monument Types

  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Late Anglo Saxon to Early Post-medieval - 850 AD to 1699 AD)

Summary

Great Stretton is mentioned in Domesday. References from 1381, 1563 and 1670 show a steady decrease in population but a continued use. The main decline was during the enclosures of 1640-70. The site of the village is preserved as earthworks and is Scheduled.

Additional Information

Scheduled Monument description:
The monument at Stretton Magna is situated south of the Roman Gartree Road, 5km east of Leicester. It includes extensive earthworks of a deserted medieval village with a moated site, two fishponds and part of the associated field system, located around the medieval St Giles's Church.
The site occupies two large modern fields and covers an area measuring over 300m square. A series of hollow ways up to 0.75m deep denoting village streets cross the site, the most prominent of which measures up to 10m wide and leads from the east to the church. There are many small crofts and tofts marked by house platforms and enclosures containing banks about 0.5 high and a larger house platform measuring 25m square situated between the church and the road. A boundary ditch runs west of the church, beyond which is medieval ridge and furrow ploughing aligned in two directions which give an indication of the cultivated strips and are thus an integral part of the monument. A manorial complex is located to the south of the village, the major component of which is a rectangular moated site. The moat measures 70 x 60m including an outer bank on the eastern and southern sides and contains a ditch up to 2m deep and 10-12m wide. Situated to the north and south-east of the moat are two fishponds. The northern fishpond is embanked and measures 35 x 12m and is 2-3m deep from the top of the banks. The second fishpond also measures 35 x l2m but is not embanked and survives as a marshy area fed by a ditch coming down from the north.
Stretton Magna, known as Great Stretton, is listed in Domesday book. In 1381 there were 21 taxed persons. Some enclosure took place shortly before 1500 by Thomas Kebell but the major enclosure which led to depopulation was between 1640-70.

The church (60SE BB) and manorial complex (60SE BC) are described separately.

A large area of village earthworks surround the church of St Giles. A holloway parallel to the present road leads past the church and a road joins it to the present road at the church. Croft boundary ditches and some ?house platforms can be picked out. The manorial complex lies to the south. (PL 13/03/87)


<1> Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, 1945, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 22, Vol 22 (1945), p241-64 (Journal). SLE4982.

Deserted villages of Leics by Hoskins

<2> 1956, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 32, Vol 32 (1956), p42-3 (Journal). SLE5968.

Deserted village sites by Hoskins.
Great Stretton is mentioned in Domesday. In 1381 there were 21 taxed persons. In 1563 there were 15 households. In 1670 there were 5 families. Some enclosure took place shortly before 1500 by Thomas Kebell. Major enclosure took place 1640-70 and led to the depopulation. (PL 13/03/87)

<3> 1964, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 39, Vol 39 (1964-5), p24-33 (Provisional List of DMVs in Leicestershire) (Journal). SLE5900.

Stretton Magna - Archaeological Classification: very good; Historical Classification: period of desertion known, but documentary evidence inferior in quantity; Period: enclosure for pasture or improved arable, c.1400-1700; Grid Reference: SK 657 005

<4> Bourne, Jill, 2003, Understanding Leicestershire & Rutland Place Names, p49 (Bibliographic reference). SLE220.

Known as Stratone in 1086 (Domesday Book). OE straet 'street, Roman road' + OE tun 'farmstead, village, small estate'. 'The settlement on the Roman road'. The Roman road here is the Gartree road which ran from Leicester to Colchester. Places with the name Stretton are usually sited on or very near to Roman roads.

<5> Coutts, C, 2006, Archaeological recording at Church Farm, Great Stretton (Unpublished document). SLE464.

Medieval and post-medieval pottery was recovered from a watching brief on an access road at Church Farm in 2006. The medieval pottery was C11th-C13th in date, the post-medieval pottery was C17th-C19th. A post-medieval trackway leading from the farm was also observed, which probably dated to the C18th/C19th.

<6> Hartley, RF, 2018, The medieval earthworks of south and south-east Leicestershire, p150-1 (Bibliographic reference). SLE5736.

"One farm and the Church of St Giles survive at this remarkably evocative site, less than five miles from Leicester Station. It lies alongside the Roman Gartree Road, which cuts past in a deep (and with modern traffic, hazardous) hollow way. The records of its history are few, and in places combined with those for Little Stretton. Hoskins considers that they were ten families in 1381, almost certainly a reduction from its population forty years previously (op cit). By 1563 there were 15 households, but only five in 1670, since when it has remained practically depopulated.
"The lane to the church is visible as a hollow way, and at the church yard it turns eastwards, before taking another turn towards the south.
"The whole south end of the village is a roughly rectangular manorial site… a mound on the corner of the moat is probably a 16th/17th century prospect mound to give views over the gardens although Everson (2010, 58) considers it could also be a dovecot. For additional discussion and simplified plan see Everson (op cit).
"Returning to the Gartree Road, a rectangular block of complex earthwork remains extends alongside it, with sites of buildings at… and probably elsewhere. Just south of the churchyard these appears to be another building platform which underlies the ridge and furrow, suggesting it was abandoned at a very early date. There are more earthworks on the north side of the Gartree Road around the site of another building. (Site surveyed 29th and 30th March, 1984)."

Sources

<1>Journal: Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society. 1945. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 22. Vol 22 (1945), p241-64.
<2>Journal: 1956. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 32. Vol 32 (1956), p42-3.
<3>Journal: 1964. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 39. Vol 39 (1964-5), p24-33 (Provisional List of DMVs in Leicestershire).
<4>Bibliographic reference: Bourne, Jill. 2003. Understanding Leicestershire & Rutland Place Names. p49.
<5>Unpublished document: Coutts, C. 2006. Archaeological recording at Church Farm, Great Stretton.
<6>Bibliographic reference: Hartley, RF. 2018. The medieval earthworks of south and south-east Leicestershire. p150-1.

Associated Finds

  • SHERD (Early Medieval - 1067 AD to 1349 AD)
  • SHERD (Early Post-medieval to Modern - 1601 AD to 1900 AD)

Designations

  • Scheduled Monument 1010201: STRETTON MAGNA DESERTED VILLAGE, TWO FISHPONDS AND MOATED SITE

Images

Great Stretton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Great Stretton deserted medieval village © LCC

Great Stretton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Great Stretton deserted medieval village © LCC

Great Stretton deserted medieval village  © Jim Pickering/NMR

Great Stretton deserted medieval village © Jim Pickering/NMR

Great Stretton deserted settlement  © LCC

Great Stretton deserted settlement © LCC

Great Stretton deserted settlement  © LCC

Great Stretton deserted settlement © LCC

Great Stretton deserted settlement  © LCC

Great Stretton deserted settlement © LCC

Great Stretton  © LCC

Great Stretton © LCC

Great Stretton  © LCC

Great Stretton © LCC

Great Stretton church  © LCC

Great Stretton church © LCC

Great Stretton  © LCC

Great Stretton © LCC

Great Stretton  © LCC

Great Stretton © LCC

Great Stretton deserted medieval village  © Leicestershire County Council

Great Stretton deserted medieval village © Leicestershire County Council