At one point Wharram Percy was a thriving sheep-farming community, and this was by no means a small settlement, either. Indeed, there were two manor houses, a number of smaller dwellings and a large church. But in the 16th century the settlement’s inhabitants suddenly began to leave.
A number of different factors are thought to lie behind the decline of Wharram Percy. In particular, farming practices were changing, and the Black Death hit many small rural communities incredibly hard. The village is one of around 3,000 settlements in England that were abandoned during medieval times. Here, six centuries of history were surrendered to nature.
The remains that piqued the interest of modern archaeologists date from between 1000 and 1400 AD, and they were excavated during investigations into the foundations of one of the houses. Those houses are now little more than a series of lumps visible in the green grass that covers the lost village. And, perhaps fittingly, the ruined church is the only structure that still stands to this day.