Ancient Monuments

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Olveston Court moat complex and earthworks

A Scheduled Monument in Olveston, South Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.5814 / 51°34'53"N

Longitude: -2.582 / 2°34'55"W

OS Eastings: 359770.726569

OS Northings: 187111.996499

OS Grid: ST597871

Mapcode National: GBR JR.CM6M

Mapcode Global: VH882.6JC1

Entry Name: Olveston Court moat complex and earthworks

Scheduled Date: 17 October 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012362

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10505

County: South Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Olveston

Built-Up Area: Olveston

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Olveston

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


The monument comprises the remains of buildings ancillary to the manor
of Olveston Court, parts of which date from the 13th century, with
subsequent additions and redevelopment most particularly in the 15th
century; its structural development is understood from a comprehensive
archaeological survey. Included in the scheduling are the courtyard,
kitchen courtyard, curtain wall and moat and the earthworks to the north
and south-east, which are the remains of other outbuildings and
boundaries. Standing structures in the kitchen courtyard include the
kitchen and oven blocks, with fireplaces and ovens; in the courtyard
walls there are doorways and a gable and fireplace.
The curtain wall, a fine example of fifteenth century embellishment for
display rather than defence, retains evidence of battlements, a
wallwalk, windows, doorways and putlog holes. The moat, which runs along
the southern face of the curtain wall, is thought to have been developed
from an existing mill leat. Earthworks along the north side of the leat
define the boundaries to the west beyond the curtain wall and to the
east beyond the Court buildings. Above ground parts of the modern
buildings in the kitchen courtyard are excluded from the scheduling, the
ground beneath the buildings, however, 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.

Olveston Court is one of several examples in the Bristol area which
were owned by nationally influential figures during the Medieval period.
Its development as a major site between the 13th and 15th centuries
reflects the growth to prominence of the nearby city and port. The
existence of extensive and well-preserved earthworks indicate the high
status of the moat and its potential for archaeological remains.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ellis, P, 'Trans Bristol and Gloucester Arch Soc' in Earthworks and remains at Olveston Court, (1983)
Ellis, P, 'Trans Bristol and Gloucester Arch Soc' in Earthworks and remains at Olveston Court, (1983), 185-187
Ainslie, J, Olveston Court, 1978, Unpublished research in Shoesmith rpt
Shoesmith, R, Olveston Court, 1988, Report commissioned by EH

Source: Historic England

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