In the United Kingdom, a deserted medieval village (DMV) is a former settlement which was abandoned during the Middle Ages, typically leaving no trace apart from earthworks or cropmarks.[ citation needed ] If there are fewer than three inhabited houses the convention is to regard the site as deserted; if there are more than three houses, it is regarded as a shrunken medieval village. There are estimated to be more than 3,000 DMVs in England alone.
Not all sites are medieval: villages reduced in size or disappeared over a long period, from as early as Anglo-Saxon times to as late as the 1960s, due to numerous different causes.
Over the centuries, settlements have been deserted as a result of natural events, such as rivers changing course or silting up, flooding (especially during the wet 13th and 14th centuries) as well as coastal and estuarine erosion or being overwhelmed by windblown sand.
Many were thought to have been abandoned due to the deaths of their inhabitants from the Black Death in the mid-14th century. While the plague must often have greatly hastened the population decline, which had already set in by the early 14th century in England because of soil exhaustion and disease, most DMVs actually seem to have become deserted during the 15th century, when fields cultivated for cereals and vegetables were transformed into sheep pastures, often with ridge and furrow surviving under grass, even until today. This change of land use by landowners to take advantage of the profitable wool trade led to hundreds of villages being deserted.
Later, the aristocratic fashion for grand country mansions, parks and landscaped gardens led to whole villages being moved or destroyed to enable lords of the manor to participate in this trend: a process often called emparkment or enclosure.
Perhaps the best-known deserted medieval village in England is at Wharram Percy in North Yorkshire, because of the extensive archaeological excavations conducted there between its discovery in 1948 and 1990. Its ruined church and its former fishpond are still visible.
In Northamptonshire, around 100 villages can be classified as deserted, there are articles relating to many of them, such as Onley, Althorp, Canons Ashby, Church Charwelton and Coton along with Faxton, Glendon, Snorscombe, Wolfhampcote and Wythmail.
Other examples are at Gainsthorpe and Burreth in Lincolnshire.
A lost city is a settlement that fell into terminal decline and became extensively or completely uninhabited, with the consequence that the site's former significance was no longer known to the wider world. The locations of many lost cities have been forgotten, but some have been rediscovered and studied extensively by scientists. Recently abandoned cities or cities whose location was never in question might be referred to as ruins or ghost towns. The search for such lost cities by European explorers and adventurers in Africa, the Americas, and Southeast Asia from the 15th century onwards eventually led to the development of archaeology.
A ghost town or alternatively deserted city or abandoned city is an abandoned village, town, or city, usually one that contains substantial visible remaining buildings and infrastructure such as roads. A town often becomes a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, prolonged droughts, government actions, uncontrolled lawlessness, war, pollution, or nuclear disasters. The term can sometimes refer to cities, towns, and neighbourhoods that are still populated, but significantly less so than in past years; for example, those affected by high levels of unemployment and dereliction.
The Yorkshire Wolds are low hills in the counties of the East Riding of Yorkshire and North Yorkshire in north-eastern England. The name also applies to the district in which the hills lie.
Quarrendon or Quarrendon Leas is a medieval English village near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, England, which has been depopulated since the 16th century and is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Wharram Percy is a deserted medieval village (DMV) near Malton, North Yorkshire, on the western edge of the chalk Wolds of North Yorkshire, England. It is about 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Wharram-le-Street and is signposted from the B1248 Beverley to Malton road. Wharram Percy was part of the East Riding of Yorkshire until the 1974 boundary changes.
Caistor is a town and civil parish in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. As its name implies, it was originally a Roman castrum or fortress. It lies at the north-west edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, on the Viking Way, and just off the A46 between Lincoln and Grimsby, at the A46, A1084, A1173 and B1225 junction. It has a population of 2,601. Its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon ceaster and was given in the Domesday Book as Castre.
An abandoned village is a village that has, for some reason, been deserted. In many countries, and throughout history, thousands of villages have been deserted for a variety of causes. Abandonment of villages is often related to epidemic, famine, war, climate change, environmental destruction, or deliberate clearances.
Barrowby is a village and civil parish in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It is 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Grantham town centre in a position overlooking the Vale of Belvoir. It has a Grade I listed parish church. The hamlet of Casthorpe is part of the parish. The 2001 Census listed 795 households and a population of 1,996, which fell to 840 households with 1,952 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
Hibaldstow is a village and civil parish in North Lincolnshire, England. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 2,433. It is situated on the B1206 road, 4 miles (6.4 km) south from Brigg and the M180. The site of the deserted medieval village of Gainsthorpe is nearby.
Barwick is a scattered hamlet and civil parish in the north-west part of the English county of Norfolk. It is situated adjacent to the slightly larger village of Stanhoe, some 15 miles (24 km) north-east of King's Lynn and 50 miles (80 km) north-west of the city of Norwich.
Mareham le Fen is a village and civil parish about 6 miles (10 km) south from the town of Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England. The hamlet of Mareham Gate lies about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) south from the village, and it is believed that the deserted medieval village (DMV) of Birkwood is situated nearby.
Wharram-le-Street is a village and civil parish in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, England. The population as of the 2011 census was less than 100. Details are included in the civil parish of Thixendale. Until the 1974 local government reorganisation Wharram-le-Street was part of the East Riding of Yorkshire. The village is on the B1248 road between North Grimston and the boundary with the present East Riding unitary authority.
A redundant church is a church building that is no longer used for Christian worship. The term most frequently refers to former Anglican churches in the United Kingdom, but may also be used for disused churches in other countries.
Maurice Warwick Beresford, MA, FBA, was an English economic historian and medieval archaeologist.
Hungry Bentley is a deserted medieval village and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire, England, located between Uttoxeter and Derby. The site is a scheduled monument and has been called the best "depopulated settlement" in Derbyshire. The name Bentley is said to mean a clearing with bent grass. The more unusual appellation of "Hungry" is said to refer to the poor quality of the land and the local inhabitants' poor food.
The identification of Deserted Villages and Lost Places in Leicestershire owes much to the pioneering work of William George Hoskins during his time at the University of Leicester.
John Gilbert Hurst was a British archaeologist and pioneer of the study of mediaeval archaeology.