England has about three thousand villages that were deserted throughout history for one reason or another – plague or famine might drive people out or the enclosing of land by the gentry and even the monks. They are often referred to as DMVs – deserted medieval villages.
Cistercian monks – who were very industrious and closely linked to the Templars through the Cistercian abbot Bernard of Clairvaux – were pretty ruthless with their tenants. These men of God thought nothing of booting serfs out of their villages if it suited them. So these monks created quite a few DMVs.
Little Barford in Bedforshire is one such village that you just wouldn’t know was there but for some grassy bumps and lumps. In Stapleford Park in Leicestershire, the old market cross has survived but none of the buildings and shops that once surrounded it. Winchelsea is a medieval town that was lost to the sea during a series of very violent storms in the Middle Ages. It was rebuilt as a major port under Edward I but then suffered when its harbour silted. up. So having once been swallowed up by the sea, it was this time destroyed by the sea moving away!
This is one DMV that has been extensively excavated though I’m not to blame for the soundtrack – very odd music choice! But turn the volume down and watch the pictures.