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Moated site and deserted medieval village at Old Ingarsby

A Scheduled Monument in Hungarton, Leicestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6397 / 52°38'22"N

Longitude: -0.9887 / 0°59'19"W

OS Eastings: 468526.697108

OS Northings: 305140.626361

OS Grid: SK685051

Mapcode National: GBR 9NZ.GTT

Mapcode Global: WHFKJ.SXC6

Entry Name: Moated site and deserted medieval village at Old Ingarsby

Scheduled Date: 27 June 1958

Last Amended: 4 January 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009236

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17069

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Hungarton

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Hungarton St John The Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

Details

The monument at Ingarsby is located about 6km east of the city of Leicester.
The majority of the site is situated on a west facing slope and lies on both
sides of the Houghton to Hungarton road. It includes a deserted medieval
village site with a large manorial moat to the north, which was later
purchased by Leicester Abbey to become an extensive grange, and a large pond
south-west of the moat with a smaller fishpond south of the village. The
monument is divided into three separate areas.

The village earthworks are well defined, occupying a roughly rectangular area
measuring 400m x 250m and clearly showing many features of medieval rural
settlement. Running down the slope to a stream and following the line of a
footpath leading to Billesdon Coplow and Tilton is the hollow of the main
street. Many side lanes lead off from this with well spaced house platforms
and spaces for adjoining gardens and orchards. A large bank and ditch over 3m
deep and 10m wide forms the southern boundary of the village between the road
and a stream. Beyond the boundary bank and ditch is a small fishpond
approximately 50m x 10m situated beside the stream.

To the north of the village earthworks are the north, west and southern arms
of a moated site defining an area with maximum dimensions of approximately
150m square. The moat has an outer bank measuring up to 1.5m high, and is an
average of 8-10m wide and 2m deep, with the exception of a section of the
northern arm which is up to 20m wide and 3m deep. Enclosed by the moat are
some surviving grange buildings incorporated into Tudor and later structures.
Earthworks on the eastern side of the moat show an extension of the northern
arm and outer bank of the moat for 50m which then turns southward, at which
point a large outer mound adjoins the corner. The southward ditch continues,
but ceased to function as part of the moat at this point due to an uphill
gradient, and represents stock enclosures together with a further ditch
crossing it at right angles further up the slope. Some 50m to the east is an
outer boundary bank running north-south dropping down 1.5m on the far side.
At the southern end of this and connecting with the village earthworks, is a
large hollow way up to 12m wide which is embanked on the northern side. To
the south-west of the moat is a large pond, identified as a millpond, lying
alongside the stream and measuring 200m x 80m. It was formed by damming the
end of the valley with a bank up to 2m high, building a bank alongside the
stream 1.5m high and digging a scarp to a depth of 3m to form the eastern side
of the pond. A hollow way running up the slope links the pond with the moated
area.

Ingarsby is first mentioned in Domesday Book and by 1381 contained a dozen
families. The majority of the manor, at that time owned by the Daungervills,
was granted to Leicester Abbey in 1352, with the remainder purchased by the
middle of the following century. The large millpond was also constructed by
the abbey at the time of the original grant. Village desertion occurred in
1469 when the abbey enclosed the whole of the land and converted most of it to
sheep and cattle pastures. It was by far the most valuable grange property in
Leicestershire when it was sold at the Reformation in 1540. A watermill, also
mentioned in Domesday Book, the site of which is not known, still existed by
1599.

All buildings, including Ingarsby Old Hall which is Listed Grade II*, modern
yards, road surfaces and other above ground modern features on the moat island
are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is
included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 deserted settlements are moated sites which
often served as prestigious manorial residences and had associated systems of
fishponds. Such moated sites form a significant class of medieval monument
and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and
status in the countryside. In rare cases a moated site would be purchased by
an abbey and thereafter become a grange site.

The village earthworks at Ingarsby are exceptionally well preserved with a
wide diversity of features and good documentation with the rare mention of the
construction of a pond. Ingarsby is also interesting as being the site of a
moated manor that was subsequently purchased by an abbey. Religious ownership
provides a date of village desertion and important documentation for a site
that was the richest possession of Leicester Abbey in the county.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hoskins, WG, Essays in Leicestershire History, (1950)

Source: Historic England

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