Cowlam

 

 

Site type: DMV

Described by Beresford in 1952 as 'a worthy twin to its neighbour, Cottam', [1] Cowlam has sadly seen a different fate in the late twentieth century, its earthworks being ploughed level. The layout of the village is shown on the 25 inch Ordnance Survey map of 1890 with two main streets heading east-west and north-south, and building platforms and tofts shown north of one street and east of the other. Aerial photography showed at least 12 crofts to the north of the east-west route, ten to the south and a further 12 to the east of the north-south route. [2] A rescue excavation was conducted in 1971-2 in advance of ploughing, uncovering four structures within the area of one croft. [2] This croft has shown evidence of a courtyard farm and the excavations showed that this had been created by the merger of two croft units towards the end of the medieval period. [2] Three of the structures were typical longhouses with chalk footing walls. Pottery from the site suggested this farm was occupied until the late seventeenth century. [2] A field visit in 1975 still found discernable earthworks in the north whilst the southern parts had been ploughed. By the late 1990s air photographs show the whole site to have been ploughed level, albeit that some features are still visible as cropmarks. [3] The features suggest some element of planning to the settlement and perhaps the eastern row was a later extension. [2]

A late Anglo-Saxon strap end in Hull Museum is said to be from Cowlam, [4] and the settlement and a chuch were present in Domesday Book, supporting two manors, one belonging to the King, the second, waste in 1086, belonging to the Archbishop of York. Like Cottam, Cowlam seems to have suffered considerably as a result of the Black Death, with a 65% tax relief granted in 1354. [1] Oddly however, the village, which had rendered only half the amount of tax as Cottam in 1334 had slightly more tax payers (54) by 1377, a figure which suggests a viable village had survived. In the 1524/5 Lay Subsidy Cowlam paid 14s 2d, more than twice Cottam’s contribution. In the Hearth Tax of 1674 at least 14 houses still existed. [2] Analysis of parish records suggests that desertion occurred around 1680 when baptisms disappear from the record. [2] Cowlam appears to have been taxed separately throughout the period covered by the E179 database, including the seventeenth century. By the early eighteenth century the village had become almost entirely deserted. Beresford noted the ruination of the church and that by 1735 the parish was 'depopulated not any inhabitants save two shepherds'. [1]

Appears in the Gazetteer of Deserted Medieval Villages known in 1968.

References:
[1] Beresford, M.W. 1952. 'The Lost Villages of Yorkshire, Part II', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 38: 60.
[2] Hayfield, C. 1988. 'Cowlam Deserted Village: a Case Study of Post-Medieval Village Desertion', Post-Medieval Archaeology 22: 21-109.
[3] NMR Pastscape Record No. 64666.
[4] NMR Pastscape Record No. 910717.
Pre-1974 county:
Yorkshire East Riding
Historic parish:
Cowlam
Present county or unitary area:
East Riding of Yorkshire
Modern parish:
Cottam
Grid reference:
SE 966 657
Latitude:
54.078191
Longitude:
-0.525036

Documentary resources
Domesday reference:
YORK 1E60. 2B18. 8E1. SE,Th7. SE,Th,9
Domesday minimum number of individuals:
31
Taxation 1291 (main):
1920
Taxation 1291 (portions):
Not recorded
Lay subsidy 1334 total paid:
204
Poll Tax 1377 number who paid:
54
Poll Tax 1377 total paid:
216
Poll Tax 1379 number who paid:
No surviving record
Poll Tax 1379 total paid:
No surviving record
Poll Tax 1381 number who paid:
44
Poll Tax 1381 total paid:
552
Lay subsidy 1524 number who paid:
Not recorded
Lay Subsidy 1524 total paid:
170
Lay Subsidy 1525 number who paid:
Not recorded
Lay Subsidy 1525 total paid:
170
Lay Subsidy 1543/4 number who paid:
No surviving record
Diocesan returns 1563:
No surviving record
Census 1801 total population:
17 (Parish)
Census 1841 total population:
44 (Parish)
Census 1841 inhabited houses:
2 (Parish)
E179 date and type last doc:
1692 quarterly Poll tax for one year
Additional information
Alternative names:
Presumed date of depopulation:
1674-1680
NMR number:
64666
HER number:
HUMB 739
Investigation history:
1971-2 Excavation.
1975 Field Visit.
Cartographic or photographic records:
CUCAP BS40 Taken 22 July 1948.
CUCAP DP88-93 Taken 10 July 1949.
CUCAP MN78-79 Taken 22 July 1953.
CUCAP RV54-55 Taken 26 March 1956.
CUCAP RW91-95 Taken 27 March 1956.
CUCAP AQT79-83 Taken 4 February 1967.
CUCAP ARM34-37 Taken 8 June 1967.
CUCAP AUH76-78 Taken 13 May 1968.
CUCAP AXH67-69 Taken 17 April 1969.
CUCAP BAA53-55 Taken 13 November 1969.
CUCAP BAF30-34 Taken 27 November 1969.
CUCAP BAG31-34 Taken 3 January 1970.
CUCAP BS17-20 Taken 11 August 1975.
NMR SE 9665/37-41.
NMR 17049/25-6.
NMR 17058/52-4.
Beresford, M.W. and J.K. St Joseph 1958. Medieval England: An Aerial Survey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 117-118.
Beresford, M.W. and J.K. St Joseph 1979. Medieval England: An Aerial Survey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 124-126.
Hayfield, C. 1988. 'Cowlam Deserted Village: a Case Study of Post-Medieval Village Desertion', Post-Medieval Archaeology 22: 21-109. Photos p.32, p.34.
Site status:
Not Scheduled
x coordinate:
496600
y coordinate:
465700
Bibliography:
Beresford, M.W. 1952. 'The Lost Villages of Yorkshire, Part II', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 38: 44-70.

Beresford, M.W. 1954. The Lost Villages of England. London: Lutterworth: 393.

Beresford, M.W. and J.G. Hurst (eds) 1971. Deserted Medieval Villages. London: Lutterworth.

Beresford, M.W. and J.K. St Joseph 1958. Medieval England: An Aerial Survey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 117-118.

Beresford, M.W. and J.K. St Joseph 1979. Medieval England: An Aerial Survey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 124-126.

Brewster, T.C.M. 1973. 'Cowlam', Medieval Village Research Group 20/21: 36-37.

Hayfield, C. 1988. 'Cowlam Deserted Village: a Case Study of Post-Medieval Village Desertion', Post-Medieval Archaeology 22: 21-109.
See also:
NMR Pastscape
www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=64666
Open Domesday
www.domesdaymap.co.uk/place/SE9665/cowlam/
CUCAP Aerial Photographs
www.cambridgeairphotos.com/location/rw93/