Henley in Arden Medieval Settlement

Description of this historic site

Probable extent of Medieval settlement in Henley in Arden as indicated on the Ordnance Survey map of 1886.

Notes about this historic site

1 The possible extent of Medieval settlement, based on the first edition 6″ map of 1886, 31SE.
2 Henley is not listed in the Domesday survey.
3 The ridge and furrow plotting shows a small area of survival on the western side.
4 The 1886 map shows dense ribbon settlement each side of the main road. The plots are narrow and look regulated. No empty plots or orchards. On the western side there are small fields beyond the end of the plot gardens, that run up to the boundary line. The church [WA1226] dates from the C15th.
5 In 1334 Subsidy valued at £25.50. Market Charter, Tuesdays; granted 4 Feb 1251, by K Hen III to Hugh de Ardern. To be held at the manor. Fair Charter, vfm, Luke (18 Oct); granted 4 Feb 1251, by K Hen III to Hugh de Ardern. To be held at the manor.
6 Medieval Henley developed as a trading centre for the earlier settlement of Beaudesert to the east. The first reference to Henley occurs in 1185. It is likely that the original market lay in or close to the castle but then moved to a site to the west on the main road from Stratford to Birmingham. In 1220 another charter was granted for a Monday market at Henley, but when this was confirmed in 1226 the location is described as Beaudesert, which may mean that the names were interchangeable. Whatever the case it is clear that when the De Montforts decide, either in the late 12th-century or in 1220 to develop trade in the area further by creating a new town based on the market it was the Henley site that they chose. The new town of Henley was laid out on either side of the main road with a series of long thin plots typical of medieval town planning, combining a maximum area with a minimum of valuable street frontage. The medieval property pattern survives more or less to this day.
7 During evaluation at 98 High Street, only a single sherd of medieval pottery was recorded, from a site that would seem to be laid out on a burgage plot. The lack of finds prior to the 18th-century suggests that the area was either not developed until the pebble surfaces were laid in the 18th-century, or that the plot was cleared of medieval and post-medieval detritus, prior to its redevelopment at that time.
8 Portable Antiquities Scheme find provenance information:
Date found: 2003-03-31T23:00:00Z
Methods of discovery: Metal detector

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