Villages became deserted in almost every century, although their abandonment has not always been well documented. For example, a great deal is known about those of medieval England through the work of archaeologists and historians of the Deserted Medieval Villages Group which has found and examined sites in great detail. One of the earliest areas to receive the group's attention was Leicestershire, where it was shown that villages were deserted largely because of depopulation caused by the plague. As population declined villagers could no longer maintain isolated communities. A similar process seemed to have occurred at Wharram Percy on the Yorkshire wolds where the population declined to such an extent that its owners initiated the abandonment of the village and its land became grazing for sheep.
An important contemporary account of the use of land was the survey by commissioners in 1517, who gave accounts of the ‘pulling down of towns’ to create pastures. A similar awareness of such melancholy consequences occurred in the works of Oliver Goldsmith, in the 18th cent., and the Revd George Crabbe in the early 19th cent., each of whom wrote on the theme.
One of the most dramatic examples of the enforced abandonment of villages was the ‘Highland clearances’ of the early 19th cent. when landowners removed people to provide pasture and land for hunting and shooting. Protests were made by the evicted people and in popular songs and poems.
One of the most unusual cases of enforced desertion of a village occurred on Salisbury Plain during the Second World War when the government relocated the entire population of Imber in order to provide for military training, including practice in street fighting.
Ian John Ernest Keil
"deserted villages." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/deserted-villages
"deserted villages." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved September 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/deserted-villages
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.