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Name:Hamilton deserted medieval village
HER Ref:MLE440
Parish:Barkby Thorpe, Charnwood, Leicestershire
Grid Reference:SK 643 074
Map:Coming soon

Monument Types

  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Early Medieval to Late Medieval - 1125 AD to 1470 AD)

Summary

The village was first recorded in c.1125 and appears to have been deserted in the mid C15th. Earthwork remains include a manorial complex, tofts and crofts and hollow ways. Various archaeological investigations have taken place on site.

Additional Information

Scheduled Monument description:
The deserted village site at Hamilton is located between the villages of Scraptoft and Barkby Thorpe on the north-east side of the city of Leicester and includes a moated site and a fishpond contained within the village earthworks. The area of village earthworks is contained within a roughly rectangular area measuring approximately 330m x 300m which is crossed by the Scraptoft to Barkby Thorpe road on its eastern side and the Melton Brook on the northern side. The boundaries of the medieval village are clearly defined by a bank 1.5m high on the south side beyond which lies ridge and furrow ploughing which can also be seen to the north-west of the site. A well defined internal street system is evidenced by hollow ways, the main examples of which run north-south and east-west and are up to 1m deep. The village street system does not relate to either the modern road or a footpath which crosses the site. A series of house platforms are evident, at least ten of which lie in the northern part of the site. A platform on the south-western side of the site is believed to be the site of a chapel. Platforms are often adjacent to closes, a large example of which lies on the south-east side of the site defined by ditches of about 1m in depth. On the northern side of the close is a rectangular moated area measuring 55m x 45m overall. The moat ditches are approximately 1 deep and 8m in width with a channel leading off on the eastern side. Adjacent to the north-western corner, but not connected to it, is a rectangular fishpond measuring 30m x 10m which is about 1m deep.
The name of Hamilton is first recorded in c.1125 when it contained 374 acres of land. By 1377 there were only four taxpayers and it is clear that desertion took place in the next century. A chapel dedicated to St John was dependent on Barkby. A series of small excavations were carried out in the years following the Second World War in which a large circular hearth and flooring was discovered together with medieval and Roman finds. The modern road on the eastern side of the site and the footbridge over Melton Brook are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

Hoskins has summarised the documentary evidence in 2 articles. The name is first recorded c.1125 (Leics Survey). It had 375 acres of land pertaining. In 1327 and 1331 tax assessments there were 9 or 10 family names, but by 1377 only 4 taxpayers. 9 messuages mentioned in C14th. Probably deserted mid C15th, certainly by 1477. A chapel dedicated to St John was dependent on Barkby. <1&2>

Four sherds picked up over the years 'around the DMV' were donated - one was medieval, the rest probably Roman. (187.1974)

In the 1990s Leicester University students intensively examined the site - surveying, geophysics, etc.


<1> Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, 1945, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 22, Vol 22 (1945), p234-4 (Deserted Villages of Leics) (Journal). SLE4982.

<2> 1956, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 32, Vol 32 (1956), p44-5 (Seven DMV sites in Leics) (Journal). SLE5968.

<3> Nichols J, The History and Antiquities of Leicestershire, Vol 3 pt 1 (1800), p61 (Bibliographic reference). SLE7.

Nichols says 'at Hamilton there was formerly a chapel and in a close called The Township may yet be traced the lines of many buildings, particularly the chapel and chapelyard, and in that and in the close to the east of it the boundaries of gardens, ramparts, fishponds, etc."

<4> 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.

Hamilton - Archaeological Classification: very good; Historical Classification: excellent documentary evidence for the former existence of a village, with period of desertion known; Period: enclosure for pasture or improved arable, c.1400-1700; grid reference: SK 645 075.

<5> 1965-6, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 41, Vol 41 (1966), p67 (Journal). SLE5981.

In 1963 The Thurnby Lodge Raven Club dug 3 pits east of the road, located on an aerial photograph, information in history file. The 1st produced a few pieces of medieval pottery and a few cobbles, the 2nd produced pottery again. The 3rd produced cobbled surfaces including Roman tile and pottery. There were nails and pieces of iron and medieval pottery including a large section of one pot.

<6> Hartley R F, 1989, The Medieval Earthworks of Central Leicestershire, p8 & p16 (Bibliographic reference). SLE342.

On 12/05/1982 RF Hartley surveyed the site. He analyses the earthworks as containing a manorial complex in the SE corner made up of a large building platform (?manor house) with pond to W and enclosure to S and N. It is largely surrounded by a bank and ditch. A possible site for the chapel is to the W of this. To the N are the sites of c.10 houses. The medieval road system is quite different to the modern.

<7> Warren, Sally, 1995, An archaeological watching brief at Hamilton Lane, Barkby Thorpe, Leicestershire (Unpublished document). SLE1267.

In 1995 workmen uncovered a cobbled road leading to the village site. May also show signs of a building. Work overseen by ULAS. The report recorded possible stone footings and two areas of cobbles relating to a hollow way, and on Hamilton Lane evidence of early metalling surfaces.

Sources

<1>Journal: Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society. 1945. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 22. Vol 22 (1945), p234-4 (Deserted Villages of Leics).
<2>Journal: 1956. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 32. Vol 32 (1956), p44-5 (Seven DMV sites in Leics).
<3>Bibliographic reference: Nichols J. The History and Antiquities of Leicestershire. Vol 3 pt 1 (1800), p61.
<4>Journal: 1964. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 39. Vol 39 (1964-5), p24-33 (Provisional List of DMVs in Leicestershire).
<5>Journal: 1965-6. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 41. Vol 41 (1966), p67.
<6>Bibliographic reference: Hartley R F. 1989. The Medieval Earthworks of Central Leicestershire. p8 & p16.
<7>Unpublished document: Warren, Sally. 1995. An archaeological watching brief at Hamilton Lane, Barkby Thorpe, Leicestershire.

Associated Finds

  • SHERD (Medieval - 1067 AD to 1539 AD)

Designations

  • Scheduled Monument 1012557: DESERTED MEDIEVAL VILLAGE OF HAMILTON

Images

Medieval village earthworks at Hamilton  © Unknown

Medieval village earthworks at Hamilton © Unknown

Medieval earthworks at Hamilton  © Unknown

Medieval earthworks at Hamilton © Unknown

West of Hamilton DMV  © LCC

West of Hamilton DMV © LCC

West of Hamilton DMV  © LCC

West of Hamilton DMV © LCC

Hamilton DMV  © LCC

Hamilton DMV © LCC

Hamilton DMV  © LCC

Hamilton DMV © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © LCC

Hamilton deserted medieval village © LCC

Hamilton D.M V.  © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V. © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V.  © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V. © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V.  © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V. © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V.  © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V. © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V.  © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V. © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V.  © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton D.M V. © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton deserted medieval village from the air  © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton deserted medieval village from the air © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton deserted medieval village  © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton deserted medieval village © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton deserted medieval village from the air  © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton deserted medieval village from the air © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton deserted medieval village from the air  © Leicestershire County Council

Hamilton deserted medieval village from the air © Leicestershire County Council