Ancient Monuments

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Moat, fishponds and shifted village earthworks at Ullesthorpe

A Scheduled Monument in Ullesthorpe, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.4816 / 52°28'53"N

Longitude: -1.2628 / 1°15'46"W

OS Eastings: 450158.797235

OS Northings: 287327.205797

OS Grid: SP501873

Mapcode National: GBR 7MW.KJJ

Mapcode Global: VHCT5.2W7H

Entry Name: Moat, fishponds and shifted village earthworks at Ullesthorpe

Scheduled Date: 25 February 1953

Last Amended: 4 June 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010300

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17038

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Ullesthorpe

Built-Up Area: Ullesthorpe

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Claybrooke St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The site lies south west of the village of Ullesthorpe 4km north west of
The moat comprises a prominent rectangular island measuring approximately 25 x
12m, containing exposed stonework of manorial building foundations, and has a
ditch 12-18m wide and 2-2.5m deep on the north, south and east sides. This
opens out to form a fishpond 25m wide on the west side, which extends a
further 60m to the north and curves around to the east almost enclosing a
second island. The whole system is fed by a channel from the north leading to
a stream which originally flowed through the site. South of this is a further
large fishpond measuring 90 x 55m which contains islands. Below this a
channel leads to a prominent water course, 1m deep and 10m wide, which returns
to the present stream and has several adjoining house platforms on either side
of about 0.5m in height.

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 seigneurial 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.

Ullesthorpe moat and fishponds form part of a wider settlement which was
deserted as the village either shrank or shifted its focus further northwards.
Although part of this settlement has continued in use to the modern day, with
consequent disturbance of the earlier remains, earthworks of the earlier
settlement include the various house plots and, importantly, the location of a
prestigious residence surrounded by a moat and fishponds. Together, the
remains of the moat and the shrunken village provide important evidence of the
changing patterns of agricultural settlement in the Leicestershire medieval

Source: Historic England

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