Thornton Deserted Medieval Settlement

Description of this historic site

The site of the deserted settlement of Thornton which dates to the Medieval period. The earthworks of the village street and house platforms are still visible. A large quantity of Medieval pottery has been found at the site, which is also known from documentary sources.

Notes about this historic site

1 Fifteen tenants are mentioned in Rous’ list at ‘Thornden’. Dugdale describes it as ‘long since depopulated’. The Tithe Award of 1845 has the name ‘Thornton Town Ground’.
2 The village site is bisected by a disused railway. To the N of the line the earthworks are under grass and apart from the moat (surveyed at 25″) are entirely amorphous. S of the line the fields are arable with a considerable surface stone scatter.
3 Several Samian sherds were found amongst large quantities of Medieval pottery.
4 The earthworks lie in two fields S of Thornton Farm but pottery scattered to S of railway shows that the site is more extensive. The moated manor (PRN 6284) on the W of the site is particularly well preserved. The stone foundations of buildings are visible on the island of the moat. The moat widens on the W to form a fishpond (PRN 6285). In the E field a wide street ran down towards the stream and house platforms survive on the E side. To the S of the railway all earthwork features have been removed by modern ploughing but scatters of pottery extend as far as the stream. Pieces of stonework suggest that substantial buildings occupied the site. Sherds of Romano British pottery, including Samian, indicate Romano British occupation on the site.
8 The medieval village was a large one & lay beside a stream, here a tributary of the River Dene. The earthworks of its moated manor are some of the best in the county & the village consisted of blocks of settlement between streets running down to the stream. Roman and medieval pottery collected from that part of the village near the stream. There is no separate entry for Thornton in the Domesday survey. Thornton was sublet in the13th century when it had some 21 inhabitants, but by 1447 there were only 5 tenants, there are few details of how the depopulation came about. Today, a house of mid 16th century date stands on higher ground overlooking the village and manor house site.
9 Plan of site.

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