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WHARRAM PERCY

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  WHARRAM PERCY DESERTED MEDIEVAL VILLAGE, WEST WHARRAM, SOUTH WHARRAM, WARRON
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Well-preserved and extensive earthworks of the deserted medieval village called Warron in Domesday Book, later Lesser, South or West Wharram, and Wharram Percy after that. First mapped by the Ordnance Survey in 1850, the village and its environs were intensively excavated and researched by Professor M Beresford and Dr J Hurst from 1952-92; as a result it is the most famous and best understood example of its type. Extensive occupation from prehistoric times onwards was revealed and the excavations showed that the village developed from a late Saxon core near the church of St Martin's (record 1034968). This and the vicarage (record 1363828) lie in the valley bottom on the edge of the main settled area. Two manors are documented: the South Manor (SE 86 SE 51) was discovered by chance during excavations in 1955; the North Manor (SE 86 SE 52) has seen little excavation and has been interpreted as such on the basis of its earthworks. The Percy family acquired both manors in the mid 13th century Two mills are documented, although only one of these can be located (recorded as records 1363825 and 1363882); both were powered by The Beck. The village, surrounded by its open fields (record 1361555), comprises the earthworks of circa 30 crofts and tofts with associated outbuildings, laid out along three main trackways, one of which originated in the Roman period. Patterning in the lay-out of the plots is suggestive of a planned settlement; although the date of this planning is uncertain, the 10th century seems most likely. Thirty houses were mentioned in 1368, 16 in 1458 and the occupants of the last 4 households were evicted before 1517 to make way for sheep pasture. An Improvement farm (record 1363845) was built in 1775-9, its foundations eventually incorporated into a row of workers' cottages built circa 1850, which still stand (Record 1363861). Following excavation, some of the structures were consolidated for display to visitors. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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