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Knaptoft medieval settlement and manorial complex including church, three fishponds and windmill mound

A Scheduled Monument in Knaptoft, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.4993 / 52°29'57"N

Longitude: -1.0763 / 1°4'34"W

OS Eastings: 462798.747398

OS Northings: 289443.166802

OS Grid: SP627894

Mapcode National: GBR 9QL.BPD

Mapcode Global: VHCT8.9FBW

Entry Name: Knaptoft medieval settlement and manorial complex including church, three fishponds and windmill mound

Scheduled Date: 7 October 1954

Last Amended: 28 October 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008817

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17103

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Knaptoft

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Mowsley

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


Medieval settlement and manorial complex including church, fishponds, ridge and furrow and a windmill mound, first documented in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Source: Historic England


The medieval settlement and manorial complex at Knaptoft is situated 11km south of Leicester and includes the earthwork, buried and standing remains of an abandoned medieval village, manorial centre, church, ridge and furrow and a windmill mound. Also included are the buried remains of Knaptoft Hall and the associated post medieval formal garden earthworks.

The area of protection slopes gently to the south, extends for c667m east to west and c350m north to south at its widest, and includes the standing remains of the church, ground beneath the remains of Knaptoft Hall and that beneath part of a modern agricultural building. The scheduling incorporates two previously separate scheduled areas, that of the windmill mound to the east and of the medieval settlement (NHLE 1008817).

The monument lies to the south of an access road leading to Knaptoft Hall Farm. Situated approximately midway along the northern boundary are the standing remains of the largely C13 church which was consolidated in the C20 and is currently both listed at Grade II and scheduled. The original plan consisted of a nave with a north tower and chancel: the walls of the tower survive up to a height of c1.5m and are substantial in places. In the field to the south east of the church earthworks depict what appear to be a nucleated and discreet group of settlement tofts and crofts at the head of the minor valley c300m south east of the church. These are 'enclosed' by a sunken track around the north-east and north-west sides and a natural stream on the south eastern and south western sides. The sunken track survives to a depth of approximately 2m and leads northwards from the corner of the ‘enclosed’ tofts and crofts to link with the existing farm access track. To the north east of the settlement lie the earthwork remains of ridge and furrow, providing a physical link between the settlement and the windmill mound at the extreme east of the scheduled area. The circular mill mound measures c20m in diameter and c0.5m high with a pronounced circular depression in the centre.

To the west and north-west of the sunken track and settlement remains are earthworks forming a coherent group of sub-rectangular enclosures. These remains are less easily defined in the field but aerial photographs suggest they are agricultural enclosures at least one of which displays evidence of a furlong of ridge and furrow defined on the southern side by a head land. The sunken track curves to the west serving the area of enclosures but appears to have been truncated by the post medieval garden earthworks further to the west.

The garden earthworks lie in the field immediately south of the church and the remains of Knaptoft Hall. Here the earthworks form a pattern of terraces and rectangular compartment boundaries defining the extensive remains of the post-medieval formal garden laid out, presumably by the Turpin family, to accompany Knaptoft Hall. The garden earthworks have been cut by areas of quarrying into the hillside but remain intelligible. At the southern boundary of the field are two large sub-rectangular fishponds fed by the natural stream (both still water filled), the easternmost of which has a central island. The 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1886 marks these as 'Old Fishponds' indicating some antiquity. The ponds are now used commercially for leisure angling and although some dredging will have taken place to maintain the fishponds the shape and size of these are as shown on the early maps.

From the eastern end, the area of protection runs from the field boundary north of the windmill mound, along the south edge of the access track to Hall Farm. At the point at which it meets the parking area the line skirts around the car park before continuing to the west, cutting across the small field containing the church, and continues beneath the C20 agricultural buildings to the western edge of the farm yard just north of the barn containing the standing remains of Knaptoft Hall. The line then turns to the south 2m west of the C19 barn; this 2m buffer zone is considered necessary for the support and preservation of the monument. At the southern edge of the paved yard the line of the scheduled area runs to the east before turning south along the eastern edge of Hall Farm House until it meets with a field boundary fence. Here it follows the field boundary fence to the west then south, then west again to skirt around the C20 agricultural building complex. The line then follows a straight line to the west until it meets with another field boundary fence. It follows the boundary to the south-west before running south, following the field boundary, to the south-west corner of the ponds. The line then follows the field boundary fence south of the ponds to the east before turning north and east again continuing along the field boundaries. At the southern tip of the area of protection the line turns to the north-east, again following the fence line to the southern edge of the field containing the mill mound. The line then turns to the east following this boundary before heading north to meets the edge of the farm access track.

All agricultural buildings, including the ranges which incorporate the remains of Knaptoft Hall (assessed for listing separately), modern fences and path surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Knaptoft medieval settlement and manorial complex, including the church, ridge and furrow, fishponds and windmill mound, first documented in Domesday survey of 1086, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: for the well defined settlement earthworks and the associated ridge and furrow depicting the form and plan of the settlement and its associated agricultural practices;

* Potential: for the stratified archaeological deposits which retain considerable potential to increase our understanding of the physical characteristics of the buildings and settlement. Buried artefacts will also have the potential to increase our knowledge and understanding of the social and economic functioning of the settlement within the wider medieval landscape;

* Documentation: for the high level of historical and archaeological documentation pertaining to the settlement’s evolution;

* Group value: for its close proximity to other related contemporary designated monuments;

* Diversity: for the range and complexity of features such as tofts, crofts, trackways, manorial centre, windmill mound, fishponds and ridge and furrow which, taken as a whole, provide a clear plan of the settlement and retain significant stratified deposits which serve to provide details of the continuity and change in the evolution of the settlement.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Dyer, C, Jones, R, Deserted Villages Revisited, (2010)
Hilton, RH, The Victoria History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume II, (1954), 194-5
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, (1984), 195
Allen Archaeology Ltd, Historic Building Survey: Knaptoft Hall Farm, Knaptoft, Leicestershire, May 2012, Historic Building Survey: Knaptoft Hall Farm, Knaptoft, Leicestershire.

Allen Archaeology, Archaeological Evaluation Report: Trial Trenching on land at Knaptoft Hall Farm, Knaptoft, Leicestershire, December 2011,

Source: Historic England

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