A View From the Train

by Zoe Tomlinson, Community Archaeologist and Finds Specialist.

I love a train journey, I always have. I have undertaken some lengthy journeys, Paris to Sicily, London to Edinburgh, Lincoln to Newark!  Even now with the inevitable delays, less than clean trains and uncomfortable seats (if you can get one) I love to sit and look out at the landscape and spot what are often now called ‘heritage assets’. I particularly love to spot deserted medieval villages (DMVs). Some routes are better than others for this. But they are out there if you know what to look for. As I sit writing this, on a train of course, I have spotted two in close proximity. Lumps and bumps in a field arranged along a ‘hollow way’ with a bit of ridge and furrow at one end. The buried remains of building platforms or houses along a roadway. These are the remains of villages that became de-populated between the 5th and 16th century often with no clear reason why. Perhaps famine, plague or reorganisation of the landscape. Each village has its own history. Lincolnshire itself is full of them. Riseholme and Greetwell are the closest to Lincoln but Gainsthorpe to the North and Biscathorpe to the East are all worth a visit. The best time to see them from the train is in the winter as the afternoon light starts to fade. Ooh…and look….there’s another one…….

Lumps and bumps: the deserted medieval village (DMV) at Riseholme, near Lincoln
Lumps and bumps: the deserted medieval village (DMV) at Riseholme, near Lincoln