Nucleated Rural Settlements Zone
Each character area within this zone, equating to an individual settlement core, has been described and mapped separately in the Nucleated Settlement Gazetteer. As a result, this zone description will concentrate on a brief overview only.
Further historic settlements are described in the Complex Historic Town Core zone.Summary of Dominant Character
The character areas within this zone represent the majority of the areas of nucleated settlement1 established by the time of the first 6inch survey of the Rotherham area by the Ordnance Survey, published between 1851-4.
Character area boundaries within this zone have been drawn to include areas developed by this time and also related peripheral areas, including village greens, churches, former manorial sites and open areas surrounded by development. Within this zone most character areas include some 20th century infill. Where this has respected earlier property boundaries and scales it has generally been included within units of earlier character. Where it has introduced new plan forms and patterns within an area of older settlement it has been shown on the mapping included in the gazetteer as characteristic of a later period.
The streetscapes within this zone are generally less regular and more varied in their built form than those in later areas of settlement. The replacement of buildings on a piecemeal basis, over many centuries, is commonplace.
There are three basic types of plan form from which the settlements in this zone have originated (see table below) The most common form within this zone, the linear ‘row plan’ village (Roberts 1987, 33), features a principal street (often called Main or High Street) along which each property has a narrow frontage providing access to a long narrow plot. The main streets are rarely perfectly straight, with the building lines along them following the sinuous course of the street. Where the settlement has roads leading to and from more than two other settlements, there is often a larger, often triangular, open area at the centre (sometimes maintained as a green). Many of these settlements feature a medieval church and sometimes a manor house. (Where ‘row plan’ villages include more than one row these have been described in the table below as Row plan - Developed).
The next most common form of settlement within this zone are small hamlets, generally made up of a small number of loosely nucleated farmsteads, the buildings of which typically date from a number of periods. The regular plan form of the row plan village is generally absent, with no clear form apparent in these settlements’ layout.
The final class of villages, the estate village, is sometimes a rebuilt version of one of the first two plan forms, after the deliberate patronage of a rich landowner. At least one village, Street near Wentworth, is likely to have been an entirely post-medieval foundation - built by the family resident at nearby Wentworth Woodhouse. More often, such as at Harley, Hoober, Firbeck, Wentworth and Ravenfield, the development of an ‘estate’ character is the result of the rebuilding of an existing medieval village in the 18th or 19th centuries.
The larger of these villages typically include parish churches and vernacular buildings of the medieval (1066-1539) and post-medieval (1540-1749) periods. Later developments often include more ‘polite’ architectural forms related to the gentrification of settlements by landed estates, and the construction of middle class villa housing in the 19th century. In addition, many villages within this zone that lie close to industrial and extractive centres include brick built terraces dating from the mid 19th century onwards, developed as part of the ‘industrial settlement’ trend. Later modifications usually include examples of semi-detached and detached suburban housing, primary schools and replaced shop fronts.
|Settlement||Plan form||Boundary |
|Origin of |
|Is there a |
|Has the |
|Aston||Row Plan||Fair||Medieval||No||Medieval||No||On one edge||Yes|
|Brampton en |
|Row Plan |
|Hamlet||Fair||Medieval||Yes||No||No||On one edge||No|
|Dalton Magna||Row Plan||Fair||Medieval||No||No||No||No||No|
|Dalton Parva||Row Plan||Fair||Medieval||No||No||No||On one edge||Yes|
|Dinnington||Row Plan |
|Hooton Levitt||Row Plan||Fair||Medieval||Yes||No||No||No||Yes|
|Hooton Roberts||Row Plan||Good||Medieval||No||Medieval||No||No||No|
|Laughton en |
|Nether Haugh||Row Plan||Fair||Medieval||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|North Anston||Row Plan |
|Slade Hooton||Row Plan||Poor||Medieval||No||No||No||No||No|
|South Anston||Row Plan |
|Swinton||Row Plan |
|Thorpe Hesley||Row Plan||Fair||Medieval||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Thorpe Salvin||Row Plan||Good||Medieval||Yes||Medieval||Yes||No||Yes|
|Todwick||Row Plan||Poor||Medieval||Yes||Medieval||No||On one edge||Yes|
|Upper Haugh||Row Plan||Fair||Medieval||Yes||No||No||On one edge||Yes|
|Upper Whiston||Row Plan||Good||Medieval||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Wales||Row Plan||Good||Medieval||Yes||Medieval||No||On one edge||Yes|
|Wath upon |
|Row Plan |
|West Melton||Row Plan||Poor||Medieval||Yes||Medieval||Yes||On one edge||Yes|
|Whiston||Row Plan |
|Fair||Medieval||Yes||Medieval||Yes||On one edge||Yes|
|Woodsetts||Row Plan||Good||Medieval||No||No||No||On one edge||Yes|
Relationships with Adjacent Character Zones
Figure 1: Nucleated Rural Settlements in Rotherham in relation to underlying geology.
(Key: Light Brown=Coal Measures; Blue=Magnesian Limestone; Yellow=Alluvium and Peat.
This zone includes the historic cores of villages that are still isolated within rural countryside in addition to ones that have become absorbed within the large-scale suburbanisation of the district.
Of those still largely associated with enclosed landscapes, there are clear relationships with surrounding zones and the underlying geology. The ‘Agglomerated Enclosure’ and ‘Surveyed Enclosure’ zones dominate the Coal Measures and Magnesian Limestone. Here most settlements are linear nucleations of demonstrably medieval date, often featuring medieval parish churches and constructed to quite regular plans. Historically these villages were frequently surrounded by common arable open fields, typically enclosed in the post-medieval period. The estate villages of Firbeck, Wentworth, Hoober, Street and Harley are most closely associated with the ‘Private Parklands’ character zone.
20th century suburbanisation is a major feature of 64% of these settlements. This suburbanisation typically began as ribbon development along main roads, before further growth outside the historic boundaries of the settlement in the mid 20th century - as they became increasingly attractive to commuters. Most of the smaller villages in this zone have experienced continuing infill of their historic cores and piecemeal replacement of older buildings throughout the 20th century, as part of a similar trend.
A small number of these character areas, e.g. Maltby, Dinnington, Bramley and Wath, have a close relationships to the ‘Planned Industrial Settlement’ zone, with new model villages either close to or built around their historic core. Similar, although less planned, development contributed to the suburbanisation of Bramley, Catcliffe, Greasbrough, Kimberworth, Rawmarsh, South Anston, Swinton, Thorpe Salvin, Wath upon Dearne, West Melton and Whiston. The expansion of all these settlements was influenced by nearby industrialisation; most of these settlements now form a part of the main Rother or Dearne valley conurbations.
By the mid 19th century, village settlement across the Rotherham borough was typically made up of nucleations of farms and cottages grouped along single roads. These settlements also frequently included a church of medieval origin, the earliest phases of which usually date to the Norman period, although a number may have pre-conquest origins (Ryder 1982).
Where later development of these settlements has consisted of little more than the piecemeal replacement of properties within existing boundaries, the form of the medieval settlement often survives well. Well preserved ‘row plan’ villages include: Greasbrough, Harthill, Hooton Roberts, Laughton en le Morthen, Thorpe Salvin, Ulley, Upper Whiston, Wales, Wentworth, Wickersley and Woodsetts. Less well-preserved former planned medieval villages include Catcliffe, Kimberworth, Maltby, Rawmarsh, Slade Hooton, Todwick and West Melton. There is a clear relationship between the preservation of the internal property boundaries of these villages and the extent to which later suburban development has encircled them. Those with poorly preserved plot patterns are much more likely to form part of a larger, more modern conurbation than those with better preserved patterns, which more often retain their identity as individual rural settlements.
Figure 2: Laughton en le Morthen historic core (within thick red line) shows a clear planned medieval linear pattern of plots along a main street, preserved by piecemeal property replacement. Note the way the church and castle motte dominate the western end of the village. Note the way the site of the church and castle motte dominates the western end of the plan.
© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Sheffield City Council 100018816. 2007
A pattern that can be observed by looking at South Yorkshire SMR 2 records associated with this zone is the frequent presence of medieval buildings, many of which originated as timber framed structures. 51% of the character areas within the zone include domestic buildings with either timber framed or medieval elements, a figure likely to increase after further detailed and comprehensive internal surveys of buildings within these settlement cores.
The more complex plan forms of some settlements within this zone are likely to have resulted from piecemeal expansion of earlier hamlets and row-plan villages.
The later development of these settlements is intimately related to the processes of suburbanisation discussed above. The identification and designation of many as Conservation Areas in the 1960s and 1970s has served to preserve the character of many, despite their recent growth. This process was, however, criticised in the Doncaster district, as it tends to result in, “the creation of a fossilised village centre containing buildings of historic interest surrounded by areas of dense modern housing of an unsympathetic character” (Magilton 1977, 90). This statement is valid for Rotherham, too. Outside of Conservation Areas, or where redevelopment preceded their creation, suburbanisation has frequently reduced the historic legibility of these villages. A common cause of this reduction of legibility is backland development and the amalgamation of historic plots, to produce larger plots of land for the development of estate housing.
Character Areas within this Zone
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- Abdy (Map)
- Aston (Map)
- Aughton (Map)
- Barrow (Map)
- Bramley (Map)
- Bramley Grange (Map)
- Brampton (Map)
- Brampton en le Morthen (Map)
- Brinsworth (Map)
- Brookhouse (Map)
- Catcliffe (Map)
- Dalton Magna (Map)
- Dalton Parva (Map)
- Dinnington (Map)
- Dropping Well (Map)
- Firbeck (Map)
- Gilberthorpe Hill Top (Map)
- Gildingwells (Map)
- Grange (Map)
- Greasborough (Map)
- Hardwick (Map)
- Harley (Map)
- Harthill (Map)
- Hellaby (Map)
- Hoober (Map)
- Hooton Levitt (Map)
- Hooton Roberts (Map)
- Kimberworth (Map)
- Laughton en le Morthen (Map)
- Letwell (Map)
- Listerdale (Map)
- Maltby (Map)
- Masbrough (Map)
- Morthen (Map)
- Nether Haugh (Map)
- Nether Thorpe (Map)
- Newhill (Map)
- North Anston (Map)
- Ravenfield (Map)
- Rawmarsh (Map)
- Scholes (Map)
- Slade Hooton (Map)
- South Anston (Map)
- Street (Map)
- Swinton (Map)
- Thorpe Hesley (Map)
- Thorpe Salvin (Map)
- Throapham (Map)
- Thrybergh (Map)
- Todwick (Map)
- Treeton (Map)
- Ulley (Map)
- Upper Haugh (Map)
- Upper Whiston (Map)
- Wales (Map)
- Wath upon Dearne (Map)
- Wentworth (Map)
- West Melton (Map)
- Whiston (Map)
- Wickersley (Map)
- Woodall (Map)
- Woodsetts (Map)
- Magilton, J.R.
- 1977 The Doncaster District: an Archaeological Survey. Doncaster: DMBC Museum and Arts Service.
- Roberts, B.K.
- 1987 The Making of the English Village. Harlow: Longman Group UK.
- Roberts, B.K.
- 1996 Landscapes of Settlement; Prehistory to the Present. London: Routledge.
- Ryder, P.
- 1982 Saxon Churches in South Yorkshire. Barnsley: South Yorkshire County Council, Recreation Culture and Health Department.
1 The term ‘nucleated settlement’ is used to describe a pattern of settlement “where buildings are built together in clusters (i.e. hamlets or villages)” (Roberts 1996, 24)
2 SMR – ‘Sites and Monuments Record’ an index maintained on behalf of local government of sites, monuments and buildings of archaeological interest.