Ancient Monuments

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Ferneyrigg moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1468 / 55°8'48"N

Longitude: -2.0651 / 2°3'54"W

OS Eastings: 395950.707068

OS Northings: 583603.487258

OS Grid: NY959836

Mapcode National: GBR G80X.QV

Mapcode Global: WHB1F.7WWS

Entry Name: Ferneyrigg moated site

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1961

Last Amended: 12 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011101

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21012

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirkwhelpington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirkwhelpington with Kirkharle and Kirkheaton

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument is a medieval moated site occupying the western end of a low
ridge. The moat includes a raised rectangular platform 120m east-west by 50m
north-south. This is surrounded on the north and west sides and on the
north-east angle by a ditch 8m wide, and an outer bank 8m wide which is 1.4m
high above the bottom of the ditch. On much of the southern side of the site
the ditch and bank have been infilled and built over. The eastern half of the
central platform is now occupied by the present farm of Ferneyrigg. The
original buildings are likely to have been more centrally placed on the
platform. The monument is surrounded on all sides by an extensive system of
medieval ridge and furrow. The following features are excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath them is included: the surface of the track
which crosses the ditch and bank at the northern end, the two wooden sheds
which are situated on the edge of the constraint area to the west of the
present farm, all stone walls and fences which cross or delimit the constraint
area and the sheep dip situated within the southern edge of the monument.

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.

Despite partial infilling of the southern arm of the moat and the present
occupation and use of the eastern half of the enclosed platform, the moated
site at Ferneyrigg remains well preserved and retains significant
archaeological remains, including evidence of the buildings which originally
occupied the western half of the platform. The importance of the monument is
enhanced by the survival of other moated sites and a deserted medieval village
in the area. Moated sites are uncommon in Northumberland and this one will
contribute to any study of the wider rural settlement pattern at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960), 36

Source: Historic England

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