Keys to the Past


Deserted Medieval Village; Deserted Medieval Settlement

These are settlements which have been abandoned leaving only the remains of earthworks. Confusingly many of these villages are not completely deserted nor are they all medieval. Villages shrank in size or completely disappeared over a long period for many different reasons. Some declined after the Black Death, a deadly plague, killed many people in the 14th century. Often changes in the economy or farming practices led people to find other jobs than farming and move away to the towns. This happened at many villages in Northumberland and Durham, mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries. Occasionally, wealthy landowners deliberately moved villages because they though that they spoilt the view. They were then often rebuilt somewhere else. Archaeologists often know deserted medieval villages as DMVs.

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