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Moated grange with fishpond at Muston

A Scheduled Monument in Bottesford, Leicestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.9331 / 52°55'59"N

Longitude: -0.7711 / 0°46'16"W

OS Eastings: 482693.390473

OS Northings: 338010.573685

OS Grid: SK826380

Mapcode National: GBR CNF.3VX

Mapcode Global: WHFJ9.4J1R

Entry Name: Moated grange with fishpond at Muston

Scheduled Date: 5 March 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009175

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17041

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Bottesford

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Muston St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

Details

The large moated grange site containing an internal fishpond lies on the
western bank of the River Devon, 150m north-west of Muston church.
The moated area is subrectangular, the longest dimension measuring 200m and
lying on a north-west, south-east axis. The moated boundaries of the site are
straight, with the exception of the north-eastern side which follows the
course of the river defining the maximum width of the site as 125m. There is
an external bank on the north-east side which follows the river. Its original
dimensions are difficult to determine because of river dredging and
disturbance. An internal bank exists on the northern half of the site and is
approximately 0.5m in height. The moat arms are on average 12-15m wide and
1.5-2m deep, with the exception of the southern part of the western side which
narrows to 10m and is only 1m deep. A house platform 20m square and 0.5m in
height is situated near the centre of the moated area. A faint trace of a
hollow trackway exists leading from the platform to the moat on the eastern
side, suggesting an original access point. Traces of further building
platforms exist in the southern half of the site but are difficult to define.
Midway along the western side of the site is an `L' shaped fishpond 1.5m deep,
the arms of which measure 35m x 15m.
The manor of Muston was part of Olveston Priory near Bristol, the moated area
being the grange farm. The site at Muston has similarities to grange sites in
the parishes of Owston and Melton Mowbray in north-east Leicestershire.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and
independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile
labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for
consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide
surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th
century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution.
This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon
imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers
(secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident
labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were
specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms,
bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and
industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the
wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands
immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange.
Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands.
On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the
parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular
farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the
size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the
buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to
be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was
without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed
is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of
monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small
percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of
identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the
evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to
medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological
survival are identified as nationally important.

The moated grange at Muston contains substantial earthworks and has well
documented connections with the distant priory of Olveston near Bristol.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-West Leicestershire, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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