In 1968 there were 2263 DMVs…..

Currently research is progressing on the various lists of DMVs within the Medieval Village Research Group Archive. In the 1971 publication ‘Deserted Medieval Villages’ edited by Maurice Beresford and John Hurst the Gazetteer of deserted villages known upto 1968 recorded a total of 2263 villages, split into county lists. Also in the book in a chapter reviewing the historical research into deserted villages Beresford provides a summary of the number of deserted villages per county (Beresford 1971: 35). This highlighted areas which needed further research as well as those counties where a considerable number of villages had already been identified. It has only recently come to my attention when I have been trying to reconcile which villages were added to this gazetteer at a later date, that the listed number of villages per county does not match the number of sites actually listed in the gazetteer. Possibly by luck the total number of villages on the gazetteer is still the same – the total is still 2263, just not quiet in the same counties as suggested – see the hand-edited table below…….

county table editted
Table from Beresford (1971:35) showing the errors in numbers of DMVs in Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Oxfordshire and the North Riding of Yorkshire


Minor errors but these numbers were carried through on many tables in the Medieval Village Archive when plotting the changing numbers of villages…..

Handwritten list of accepted DMVs per county from the Medieval Village Research Group Archive (Copyright Medieval Settlement Research Group)

Here Cambridge is still listed as having 17 recorded DMVs in 1968 when there were only 16 listed and Cornwall as having 8 when 11 were listed.

Just one example where information entered the public domain and from then on was repeated without simple cross checking – it has taken me a number of years to spot this and I have been working with the gazetteer for over 7 years!


Beresford, M.W. 1971. ‘A Review of Historical Research (to 1968)’, in M.W. Beresford and J.G. Hurst (eds) Deserted Medieval Villages: Studies: 3-75. London: Lutterworth Press.

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