Ancient Monuments

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Holmesfield moated site and headland

A Scheduled Monument in Holmesfield, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2975 / 53°17'50"N

Longitude: -1.5188 / 1°31'7"W

OS Eastings: 432169.886154

OS Northings: 377942.816383

OS Grid: SK321779

Mapcode National: GBR KZT9.ZN

Mapcode Global: WHCCX.MCZY

Entry Name: Holmesfield moated site and headland

Scheduled Date: 29 December 1952

Last Amended: 17 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011621

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23298

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Holmesfield

Built-Up Area: Holmesfield

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Dronfield St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument is a moated site comprising a roughly square island surrounded by
a 2m deep moat with an average width of c.12m. The island measures c.40m along
each side and includes a large rectangular building platform at its north
corner in addition to a bank which extends round the edge of the island. It is
best preserved round the west corner where it is c.1m high. This bank marks
the site of a wall or palisade.
Near the south corner, crossing the moat from the south-west, is the remains
of a 6m wide causeway onto the island. A similar but much wider feature on the
north-west side of the moat is believed to be modern infill. Inflow and
outflow channels connect the east and north corners of the moat to the
adjacent stream, but are now partially filled in due to modern recutting of
the stream. A low bank follows the outer edge of the moat on the south-east
side and a second, more substantial bank is set 5m from the edge on the
north-west side. The latter is a headland and marks the limit of medieval
ploughing carried out in the strip field north of the moat.

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 moated site at Holmesfield is a reasonably well preserved example of a
small homestead moat which retains visible evidence of buildings and other
structures on the island. In addition, organic and environmental remains will
survive in the waterlogged areas of the moat. The adjacent headland is the
only visible surviving evidence of a once extensive open-field system and
preserves valuable evidence of the latter's association with the moat and the
medieval village. The monument is also of interest for the evidence it
provides concerning the development of the medieval manor through its
relationship with the earlier motte and bailey castle at Castle Hill and the
later post-medieval manor house at Hall Farm, Holmesfield.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Derby: Volume I, (1905), 389

Source: Historic England

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