A village near Harborough that doesn’t actually exist has been given ancient monument status by the Government.
But it isn’t a ridiculous mistake – the long-abandoned “lost” village of Little Oxendon, which lies between Great Oxendon and Market Harborough Golf Club, was selected because of its buried remains.
Archaeologists believe that we can learn a lot about our past by studying lost villages like Little Oxendon, which are, effectively, frozen in time.
English Heritage said Little Oxendon was chosen for protection because of the exceptional survival of its earthworks and buried remains.
Sarah Gibson, English Heritage designation team leader for the east explained: “Abandoned villages are repositories of information about the past.”
The earthworks and ridge and furrow of Little Oxendon are preserved under pasture land, and clearly visible, particularly from the air,
Old documents show that in 1377 there were at least 50 people living in the village, but by 1525 only one occupied house remained.
This population decline is likely to have been caused by ‘enclosure’ of fields, which effectively privatised them, and shut out ordinary villagers.
The remains of a large building, thought to be a church have been found at Little Oxendon, along with a stone-lined well.
The remains of a medieval village at Clipston has also been given ancient monument status. The widely-spread medieval village surrounds the current core of Clipston.
Councillor Alan Chantler, strategic planning portfolio holder at Daventry District Council said: “Protecting our heritage is a priority for the Council.”
The Government’s heritage minister Ed Vaizey said: “Preserving these medieval villages for the future will help us understand our past.
“They are wonderful examples of the hidden heritage that exists across the UK.”