Welcome to the MSRG

About the Group

MSRG is a multi-disciplinary group that facilitates collaboration between archaeologists, historians, geographers and other interested parties dedicated to developing understanding of settlement between the fifth and sixteenth centuries AD.


The Medieval Settlement Research Group (MSRG) was founded in November 1986 from an amalgamation of two well-established organisations, the Moated Sites Research Group and the Medieval Village Research Group. It is a long-established, widely recognised and open multi-disciplinary research group that facilitates collaboration between archaeologists, geographers, historians and other cognate disciplines. The Group is dedicated to developing knowledge and advancing understanding of rural settlements and their associated landscapes between the fifth and the sixteenth centuries. Although the Group’s interest is concentrated on British and Irish rural settlements and landscapes, it actively encourages wider chronological and pan-European perspectives.

We now have a more refined understanding of the origins of regional differences in settlement form and patterns of land-use that continue to define the present-day countryside. Alongside these persistent themes, current research agendas increasingly seek to move beyond categorising medieval settlements to address the social and ideological factors which shaped medieval perceptions of the landscape.

As it looks to the future, the Group actively strives towards a closer integration of field archaeology, local history, standing building recording, place-name study, and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction towards a better understanding of medieval settlements as integrated components of the historic landscape. It is this holistic approach, underpinned by a continually developing battery of methodologies, that will define the Group’s research agenda for the coming 50 years and beyond.

MSRG Principle Aims

  • Increase public awareness of the subject by spreading information about medieval settlement as widely as possible.
  • Report on progress in medieval settlement studies through the Group’s annual journal.
  • Sponsor original research.
  • Hold regular meetings, lectures, seminars and conferences around the country.
  • Influence national policy on the excavation and recording of threatened sites.
  • Provide advice and information to individuals and organisations conducting research into settlement.

Achievements of the Group

  • Long-term research projects at Wharram Percy deserted village in Yorkshire and Whittlewood on the borders of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.
  • Work closely with English Heritage, Historic Scotland and other national bodies on a variety of projects and policy issues.
  • Publisher of annual journal, Medieval Settlement Research, which contains articles, details of field-work and excavations, reviews and bibliography.
  • Sponsored the key overview of the subject: Neil Christie and Paul Stamper (eds) Medieval Rural Settlement: Britain and Ireland, AD 800-1600 (Windgather Press, 2012)