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Shifted medieval village earthworks and moat at Easthorpe

A Scheduled Monument in Bottesford, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.9393 / 52°56'21"N

Longitude: -0.7942 / 0°47'39"W

OS Eastings: 481131.533011

OS Northings: 338675.057786

OS Grid: SK811386

Mapcode National: GBR CN6.Q0S

Mapcode Global: WHFJ8.SC0Z

Entry Name: Shifted medieval village earthworks and moat at Easthorpe

Scheduled Date: 5 March 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009195

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17043

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Bottesford

Built-Up Area: Bottesford

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Bottesford St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


Shifted medieval village earthworks are located at Easthorpe on the south side
of the village of Bottesford, with an associated moated site adjoining on the
western side.
The earthworks are located on the east side of the present village of
Bottesford and lie within a rectangular parcel of land measuring approximately
275m by 250m. The village remains are identifiable as a series of house
plots, gardens and closes subdivided by a network of ditches. The whole
monument is bounded on the south side by the Manor Road and on the east side
by drainage ditches and the River Devon. On the north-west side the cross-
cutting of ditches indicates at least two separate phases of construction. On
the west side the earthworks are preserved as far as the houses which face
Easthorpe Road. The moat occurs in the south-western corner of the monument.
It is circular with a diameter of 130m and is partly bounded by the main road
which respects the western edge of the moat. The moat ditch is up to 10m wide
and 1.5m deep and is infilled on the east side. Two entrances on the north
and south sides are considered to be original access points. Manor Farm house
occupies the southern area of the moat and, just to the west of this,
foundations of an earlier building have been recorded. A prominent house
platform with a pronounced hollow, measuring 15m by 12m, is situated to the
west of Manor Farm house. There is also evidence of low earthworks in the
northern half of the island.
Excluded from the scheduling are the standing buildings of Manor Farm and
metalled trackways on the moat island but the ground beneath all these
features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets,
paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community
devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant component of the rural
landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages
provided some services to the local community and acted as the main focal
point of ecclesiastical, and often of manorial, administration within each
parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied
continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were
abandoned throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly
during the 14th and 15th centuries. As a result over 2000 deserted medieval
villages are recorded nationally. The reasons for desertion were varied but
often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land use such as
enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread
epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their abandonment
these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain
well-preserved archaeological deposits. Because they are a common and
long-lived monument type in most parts of England, they provide important
information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming
economy between the regions and through time.

Also sometimes associated with shifted or shrunken settlements are prestigious
residences surrounded by moats. These sites form a significant class of
medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution
of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions
favourable to the survival of organic remains.
The settlement at Easthorpe includes village earthworks and a high status
manorial site. Although part of this settlement has continued in use to the
present day, with consequent disturbance to the earlier remains, an extensive
complex of village closes and the moat survive in good condition. Together
these will retain considerable archaeological potential for understanding
development and change in medieval rural village settlements.

Source: Historic England


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

Source: Historic England

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