Deserted settlement

A term used to describe a rural settlement that has either been deserted, moved or that has shrunk in extent. Most deserted settlements date to the medieval period and exist as a series of earthworks, such as house platforms and holloways, or as cropmarks visible from the air. There are many reasons for the abandonment of a settlement including forced removal, a drop in population or migration. Further detail on many deserted medieval settlements can be found in medieval documents such as the Domesday Book, a great survey of land undertaken in 11th century.


Medieval village earthworks around PadburySome deserted settlements are known only from historical records, such as Averingedown in Buckinghamshire. Others are complete villages preserved only as earthworks such as at Quarrendon where there are three such villages though the best preserved is Quarrendon I. Some deserted villages surround a now isolated farmstead, such as at Sedrup Farm near Stone. An example of probably forced removal resulting in a deserted settlement are the villages in Stowe landscape gardens, abandoned during the landscaping in the eighteenth century, of which Dadford is one example. It is difficult to know why other settlements were abandoned.