Wharram Percy the deserted medieval village in North Yorkshire is one of the best preserved and most researched medieval sites in Britain. Set in the picturesque countryside 6 miles south-east of Malton, it is free to visit and maintained by English Heritage.
The site has been occupied since the late Iron – Age and was later developed into a village, most likely in the late Saxon period approx. 900AD. The site is huge, and the findings are clearly visible, particularly from the air. You can see foundations of houses in different sizes from manor houses to peasant’s structures, mostly developed in rows.
Down by the stream still partly standing is the church of St Martin which originally started as a 10th century wooden building. It was later rebuilt in stone a century later – the outline of which is marked out with paving slabs. St Martins was extended in the 1200’s only to be decreased 200 years later and rebuilt again in the 16th century which are the remains you can still see standing.
Built into the walls are old stone grave slabs from the 12-14th centuries which can be found next to the porch. I find them quite interesting and after looking at them for a few minutes two of them gave me a clue as to who these individuals were.
They both contain a Calvary cross and are most definitely high status. Next to the cross on both slabs I noticed a sword which had been missed off the information board diagrams. This indicates to me that they were nobility and probably a crusader. Maybe part of Holy Order ie The Knights Templar, Hospitallers and is identical to crusader grave slabs I have seen – it’s fascinating.
Next to St Martins is the medieval millponds and the place where the water mill would have stood. With the babbling stream it’s a very scenic place to relax on a sunny day. The site is reached via a ¾ mile walk from the car park down a track that is well marked. If you are in the area, maybe heading to the coast it is well worth the slight detour.