Beresford’s Lost Villages

A website dedicated to deserted medieval villages

Welcome to a website dedicated to the study of Deserted Medieval Settlements. It has been made possible by a generous legacy bequeathed to the University of Hull by Professor Maurice Beresford. This launch of the website has concentrated on those settlements identified as being deserted in the seminal publication of 1971, edited by Maurice Beresford and John Hurst entitled ‘Deserted Medieval Villages’. This main website contains information on the settlements and sources used, by clicking the menus above. Click the button below to launch the interactive map of villages.

In the book, Beresford and Hurst produced a consolidated list of what were then classed as Deserted Medieval Villages (DMV) in 1968, 2,263 in total. These are villages which appear in documentary sources such as the Domesday Book, medieval tax records and maps, but have since seen a dramatic decline in population to the extent that at some point they have been classed as deserted. The reasons for this desertion are varied, whether from land exhaustion, coastal erosion, a change in land use or the whim of wealthy landowners. For more information explore the website. Elsewhere in this website there is general information on what is a deserted medieval village and why they become abandoned, the sources the website has used to provide an outline of the settlements, and useful links for further research. Each of the settlements listed as known in 1968 has an individual page which explores a range of datasets for the settlement. In the near future it is hoped that all these sites will also contain a description of the site and links to further sources. For the time being this is only possible for a few counties. The future development of the website hopes to add all the settlements that have been identified since 1968 which will at least double the number of settlements listed. To provide an example of one county with all the 1968 and more recent additions, see Berkshire where we have attempted to produce a completed list. Please see the About page for information on the stages of development of the website as this is still a work in progress…..