Ancient Monuments

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Moat with fishponds at Bagworth

A Scheduled Monument in Bagworth & Thornton, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.6732 / 52°40'23"N

Longitude: -1.3287 / 1°19'43"W

OS Eastings: 445485.76653

OS Northings: 308601.38922

OS Grid: SK454086

Mapcode National: GBR 7KH.DWG

Mapcode Global: WHDJ7.K2HG

Entry Name: Moat with fishponds at Bagworth

Scheduled Date: 9 March 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010485

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17054

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Bagworth & Thornton

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Thornton St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument at Bagworth is situated 1km north-east of the village and
comprises a large moated site with a fishpond to the west and a second pond
250m to the south-east.
The moated site measures 250 x 170m in overall dimensions, enclosing a
rectangular island measuring 110 x 80m. The south, east and west ditches are
on average 20m wide and 3-4m deep and are dry except for a north-south
flowing stream in the eastern arm. The northern arm widens to 70m at the
north-east corner of the island, where it continues northward for a further
50m. There are causeways in the north-west corner and the south; the latter
considered to be the original entrance. The dry, triangular fishpond to the
west is 55m long and 45m wide in maximum dimensions, with an extension channel
25m long on the north-west side and a triangular island 30m long. The
fishpond to the south-east is dry and irregularly shaped, being 75 x 100m in
maximum dimensions, and was fed by a stream from the north which forms the
southern boundary. The stream bed is here included in the scheduling. The
western side is bounded by a bank 3m high which is broken in several places,
the remainder being dug out leaving a small irregularly shaped island which
retains the original land surface.
Documentary records for the site begin in 1279 when Anthony le Bek held a
park in Bagworth with two fishponds. In 1318 Robert de Holland was granted a
licence to crenellate a house but by 1372 the house had fallen into decay and
the ponds are again mentioned because they had not been repaired. In the 15th
century the site was acquired by William Hastings together with the
Leicestershire sites of Ashby and Kirby Muxloe. He had licence to empark,
build and again crenellate but never completed the work. Another house was
built on the site in the early 17th century, and fell into ruin during the
Civil War. The present house was built from the ruins in 1769. A 19th
century account recalls the moat being full of water and later a great many
antlers being found in the soil of the ditch when a drain was laid.
Excluded from the scheduling are all standing buildings, structures and tennis
courts although the ground beneath them is included.

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

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 Bagworth is an unusual example of a manorial site with
exceptionally well-documented evidence of the manor and the associated
fishponds. The water management complex and the moat survive in good
condition and evidence for various stages of building and repair of the
medieval house will be preserved in the moat's interior.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cooper, H R, An Historical Sketch of the Parish of Thornton, Bagworth etc., (1905)
Cantor, L, 'Transactions of the Leicestershire Arch and Historical Society' in The Medieval Castles of Leicestershire (Volume 53), , Vol. 53, (1978)

Source: Historic England

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