Ancient Monuments

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Lower Booth moated site and deserted medieval village

A Scheduled Monument in Blithfield, Staffordshire

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Latitude: 52.8417 / 52°50'30"N

Longitude: -1.9372 / 1°56'14"W

OS Eastings: 404324.054878

OS Northings: 327135.023913

OS Grid: SK043271

Mapcode National: GBR 397.WK3

Mapcode Global: WHBDQ.6TRV

Entry Name: Lower Booth moated site and deserted medieval village

Scheduled Date: 7 December 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009336

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22440

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Blithfield

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Blithfield St Leonard

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes Lower Booth moated site and deserted medieval village.
It is divided into two separate areas by a deep ditch which is not part of the
scheduling. The moated site includes a platform upon which stands the 15th
century Lower Booth farmhouse. Building foundations associated with an
earlier structure are known to lie beneath the present house. A partially
infilled waterlogged moat, now reduced to 4m wide and 2m deep exists on the
east, south and southern half of the west sides of the platform, but has been
completely infilled elsewhere. A dry outlet channel issues from the moat's
eastern arm and an outer bank up to 14m wide flanks the eastern arm. South-
east and east of the moated site are the earthworks of a deserted medieval
village. To the south-east these earthworks consist of a hollow way flanked
on either side by raised platforms identifying the tofts and crofts of the
inhabitants. There is also a rectangular platform measuring 17m by 15m cut
into the hillslope west of the hollow way. East of the moated site is a
rectangular earthwork measuring 25m by 15m that is considered to be the site
of an oratory mentioned in documentary sources of 1368. A raised causeway 5m
wide and 0.2m high runs from the north towards the oratory. Ridge and furrow
lies west of this causeway. Other earthwork features include shallow dry
ponds, a ditch and a waterlogged pond.
The earliest mention of Lower Booth, then called Bold, is 1175-1176. In 1368
Richard de La Bolde was granted a licence from the Bishop of Lichfield for an
oratory. The oratory was depicted on 17th century maps which also show a
bridge across the moat's now infilled northern arm. Lower Booth farmhouse is
a Listed Building Grade II*. Lower Booth farmhouse, a septic tank, and all
service pipes, fences, telegraph poles and field boundaries are excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigniorial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They 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 village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets,
paddocks often with a green, manor and a church, 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. Many villages declined in size or were abandoned throughout the
medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly during the 14th and 15th
centuries. The reason for desertion were varied but often reflected declining
economic viability, changes in land use such as enclosure or emparkment,or
populations 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
The monument at Lower Booth survives reasonably well and is a rare example in
Staffordshire of a juxtaposed moated site and deserted medieval village. The
monument remains largely unencumbered by modern development and the moated
site is known to retain structural foundations associated with the building
that originally occupied it. Additionally organic material will be preserved
in the waterlogged moat. The deserted medieval village will contain remains
of house plots and field and property boundaries, thus affording an
opportunity for interpreting the function of the buildings and the arrangement
of the settlement. The site will possess evidence of the original land
surface beneath the structural features and survival of environmental evidence
in the fills of pits, ditches, postholes and beam slots. Earthworks
associated with the 14th century oratory survive well.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Hist Coll Staffs' in Hist Coll Staffs, , Vol. 1, ()
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
Pagination 44, Hist Coll Staffs (N.S. No. VIII), Hist Coll Staffs (N.S.),
To Robinson, K.D. MPPFW, To Robinson, K.D., MPPFW, Mrs Simpson (Site Owner), (1991)

Source: Historic England

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