Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Stainsby Deserted Village (NZ465157)

The deserted medieval settlement of Stainsby is a bit of an oddity, sited, as it is, near to thriving conurbations and a busy dual carriageway. There’s not a lot of it left, save for a few lumps and bumps in a field a little to the west of the bustling A19, near Thornaby.

With mention in the Domesday Book and its place-name derivation, the village’s roots lie well before the coming of the Conqueror – most likely being founded in the Viking era (from Steinn-by, Steinn’s settlement). It is reportedly shown as effectively deserted on a 1757 map, with only a single farm remaining, but it is not known when or why it was abandoned. As with many such cases, the Black Death or raiding Scots may have been a factor, but it is more likely down to fluctuating populations and/or financial fortunes.

Basically, the old place was arranged in two rows of enclosures/plots either side of a central track, though the layout was more complex, or random, than most of its type. Being a Scheduled Ancient Monument, it was deliberately spared when the modern-day A19 was laid around 1970. Intriguingly, though, a WWII pillbox was built amidst the ‘ruins’ when the defence of nearby Thornaby Aerodrome was at stake during hostilities.

[The above was based on information at Tees Archaeology’s website + fabulous image here]

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