Haddon estate





Haddon Hall.

Haddon Hall was originally built as a Norman fort in the early 12th Century, and inhabited by the Vernon family from the late 12th Century until the Manners family married Dorothy Vernon, the heiress of Sir George Vernon in 1567.

Evidence of the even earlier settlement of Nether Haddon can still be seen to the south of the river Wye. Extensive imprints in the fields opposite Haddon and above the visitor car park, known as Haddon Fields, clearly show the village and ancient “ridge and furrow” field systems. These date back to Romano British times, and it is believed the village came to an end at the time of the Black Death in the 14th Century. The site of the settlement of Nether Haddon and the fields surrounding it are listed as an ancient monument, and a transcript of the English Heritage listing is reproduced in full below.

Up until the 14th century all land was owned by the Crown, but by the beginning of the 20th Century the Duke of Rutland’s Haddon Estate reached from Hartington in the South to just East of Sheffield in the North.

A 1909 map lists particulars of the estate as follows:

Woods: 2167 Acres
Moors: 9268 Acres
Lands let: 16717 Acres
Total: 28,152

In addition: Cottages: 308
Public Houses: 20
Shops and other houses: 186
Quarries: 46

Owing to Death Duties; rolled over debts from the building of Belvoir Castle at the beginning of the 19th Century; and costs incurred restoring Haddon Hall, which had been empty from 1700; a large part of the Estate was sold in 1926.

Today, the Estate remains a thriving and viable entity with approximately 3800 acres of land including 600 acres of forest, some 80 let residential properties; two quarries; a number of commercial buildings; 20 miles of riverbank; a hotel; and a number of tenant farms.

Although the nature of the business of the Estate has changed little since medieval times, the Estate has survived the ups and downs of history by planning for the long term and constantly innovating.

Transcript of English Heritage listing Nether Haddon as an ancient monument:

Nether Haddon is situated on the East facing slopes of the Wye valley, rising to a plateau on the western edge of the monument. The underlying geology is predominantly limestone, containing mineral veins of lead, calcite, galena and fluorspar.

The medieval settlement is first mentioned in the Doomsday Survey of 1086 where it is recorded as being a berewick of Bakewell. A berewick was a settlement which was physically separate from where the Lord lived, but governed as part of the manorial estate.

Haddon was listed twice in the survey, implying the existence of two settlements of that name, probably Nether Haddon and Over Haddon, although these prefixes were not used at the time. Documentary references to occupation at Haddon continue throughout the 12th century until the mid 13th century when Nether is first recorded as a prefix. It is unclear why the settlement was abandoned, but it appears from documentary sources to have been so by the late 16th century. Many villages in what is now the Peak National Park began to decline during the 14th century when the climate deteriorated, population decreased due to famines and the Black Death and cattle stocks were depleted by disease. It is possible hat the abandoned Nether Haddon was associated with the creation of the deer park in 1330.

The settlement lies on the lower slopes of the valley side, close to the western bank of the river Wye. Here the village is above the valley flood plain, but also close to Haddon Hall, the Lord of the Manors residence. The settlement survives a series of earthwork and buried remain, which although clearly visible on the ground, are most easily defined from aerial photographs.

Central to the settlement is a deeply incised gully, which survives to a depth of approximately 1 meter. This is interpreted as a hollow way and would have formed the main street of the village.

The fields were first documented in the mid 12th century as ‘campo de haddona’, meaning open countryside. This suggests that Nether Haddon was a thriving small village.

The open field system is visible on the ground as parallel ridges know as the ridge and furrow (cultivation strips). Numerous groups of ridge and furrow (furlong) are evident, marked by headlands (larger banks marking the boundaries of the furlongs). The earthworks survive to a height of up to 0.75m. Extensive ridge and furrow is most clearly evident in the western hl of the fields. Strip lynchets are also visible within the open field. A lynchet is an artificial bank which has been deliberately produced as the down slope edge of a cultivation terrace.

Approximately 180m south of Haddon Barn are a series of low earthen banks which form two partly enclosed, small, rectilinear areas. They form part of system of enclosures or small fields which pre-date the 18th century enclosure of this area. Similar field systems have been identified in the Peak district and interpreted as Romano-British in date.

The monument also includes two areas of lead mining activity. The shaft at this site is a single shaft which is characteristic of lead mining remains in the region. These are typically in groups following lead veins know as rakes ands this may be part of a rake which continues outside the monument to the south east. The shaft post dates both the medieval ridge and furrow and a hollow way and is probably associated with the mining activity in the area between the 16th and 18th centuries.

Assessment of Importance

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad provinces on the basis of each area’s distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.

This monument lies in the Cheshire plain sub-province of the Northern and Western Province, a gently rolling plain of red marl covered by ice-carried clays, sands and gravels. It is diversified by occasional sandstone escarpments, notably the Central Cheshire Ridge east of the Dee Valley. It has lower densities of nucleated settlements than surrounding areas, and high concentrations of dispersed farmsteads and small hamlets. In the Wirral and the lower Dee and Weaver valleys, the settlement mix is different, with low and medium densities of dispersed farmsteads intermixed with more frequent villages. Doomsday book records a thin scatter of settlement in the Wirral, the Dee lowlands and the central and southern plain in 1086, with much woodland.

The High Edge and Miller’s Dale-Wyedale local region is a mixture of high Millstone Grit ridges around the plateaux and dales cut deeply into shales and mountain limestones. Besides having numerous scattered farmsteads related to settlement of marginal lands, this is an exceptional landscape of upland village settlements which, with their former communal townfields, occupied the dales and more fertile limestone tops.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. They frequently include the parish church within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages include one or more manorial centres which may also survive as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the Central Province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life, and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. Medieval villages were supported by a communal system of agriculture based on large, unenclosed open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into strips (known as lands) which were allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of these strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen-teams produced long, wide ridges and resultant ‘ridge and furrow’ where it survives is the most obvious physical indication of the open field system.

Individual strips or lands were laid out in groups known as furlongs defined by terminal headlands at the plough turning points and lateral grass baulks. Furlongs were in turn grouped into large open fields. Well preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context adjacent to village earthworks, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to he character of the historical landscape. It is usually now covered by the hedge or walls of subsequent field enclosures.

Approximately 10,000 lead industry sites are estimated to survive in England, spanning nearly three millennia of mining history from the later Bronze Age (around 1000 BC) to the present day, though before the Roman period it is likely to have been on a small scale. Lead mining features often follow a lead vein resulting in lines of shafts, waste heaps and other features.

These are known as rakes but shafts can also be found in isolation. Rakes can be broadly divided between: rakes consisting of continuous rock-cut clefts; rakes consisting of lines of interconnecting or closely spaced shafts with associated spoil tips and other features; and rakes whose surface features were predominantly produced by reprocessing of earlier waste tips. The majority of rake workings are believed to be of 16th – 18th century date, but earlier examples are likely to exist. Rakes are the main field monuments produced by the earlier and technologically simpler phases of lead mining. Single shafts may simply represent areas where the vein was particularly close to the surface or possibly trials to test the quality and/or accessibility of the deposit.

Earthworks defining the buildings of Romano-British farms and the fields that surround them are uncommon in the Peak District, surviving at only 50 sites in the region. They mostly occur on the limestone plateau on the fringes of traditional settlement zones. They survive in locations where later farming activity has not obliterated the surface evidence. In contrast, the majority of Romano-British farms that probably existed on the most favourable parts of the limestone or in the valleys have now been lost.

The earthwork and buried remains of the abandoned medieval settlement of Nether Haddon and the associated open field system are particularly well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. The quality of the settlement remains and the extent of the surviving open field system is a rare combination. This is complimented by the historical and archaeological documentation and together provides an important insight into the development, use and subsequent abandonment of the settlement. Taken as a whole, Nether Haddon medieval settlement will add greatly to our understanding of the village and its social and economic status in the wider rural landscape. The Romano-British field system remains are an unusual and important survival in the Pak District. The lead mining remains are also well-preserved and will contribute to an understanding of this industry in the area.