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GAINSTHORPE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  GAINSTHORPE DESERTED MEDIEVAL VILLAGE, GAINSTHORPE MEDIEVAL VILLAGE
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The earthwork remains of part of the deserted Medieval village of Gainsthorpe. What now survives is an isolated fragment in a landscape that has been subject to intensive modern arable cultivation. The fragment is probably not central to the village, which seems to have lain 200-300 metres to the north, but comprises a possible manorial complex or courtyard farm, with a fishpond and two dovecotes, and about 30 other longhouses and barns with associated tofts and crofts. Fragments of ridge and furrow open fields are interspersed with the settlement remains, hinting at a fairly dispersed layout. The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book, a windmill and chapel were recorded in 1208, and the name was last mentioned in 1383. References of 1697 and 1699 indicate that the settlement was deserted by that date, but that the whole site was then well preserved as earthworks, with about 200 houses apparently visible, laid out along as many as six streets. The extant settlement is laid out along two streets that run perpendicular to Ermine Street (some 500 metres to the east), hinting at continuity from the Roman pattern of land use. The site is regarded as one of the best preserved deserted Medieval villages in England. Although no accounts of excavations exist, the earthwork remains of some of the buildings preserve evidence of possible excavation trenches of a type that would be consistent with a date for archaeological excavation in the 1950s. The site is in the care of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the English Heritage website.