Ancient Monuments

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Moat and fishponds at Ratcliffe Culey

A Scheduled Monument in Witherley, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.5916 / 52°35'29"N

Longitude: -1.518 / 1°31'4"W

OS Eastings: 432749.2624

OS Northings: 299415.2461

OS Grid: SP327994

Mapcode National: GBR 6JW.F1S

Mapcode Global: WHCHD.N4C2

Entry Name: Moat and fishponds at Ratcliffe Culey

Scheduled Date: 29 May 1952

Last Amended: 3 April 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010480

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17058

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Witherley

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Sheepy with Ratcliffe Culey Sibson, Orton-on-the-Hill and Twycross

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument at Ratcliffe Culey comprises a moated site and fishponds grouped
around the church on the south side of the village, 1.5km north-east of
The oval-shaped, dry moated site is situated 40m east of the church and
measures 50 x 40m in overall dimensions. The moat ditch is deepest on the
south side, measuring approximately 2.5m deep and 12m wide, and has traces of
an outer bank on this side. A hollow way runs between the north-west side of
the moat and the road leading to the church. Two fishponds, each measuring
25m long and about 1m deep, are located 100m to the south-west of the moated
site. They are connected by a channel which also leads to a natural pond to
the north. The fishponds appear to be linked to the moated site via a series
of field boundary ditches. The boundary ditches have been extensively modified
by modern ploughing and are not considered to be of national importance and
have therefore been excluded from the scheduling.

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.

The moat at Ratcliffe Culey is an above average example of a medieval manorial
site with contemporary fishponds. Both the fishponds and moat survive in good
condition and the moat island has considerable potential for preserving
evidence of the original manor house.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of, (1907)

Source: Historic England

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