Ancient Monuments

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Ernesford Grange moated site, Binley

A Scheduled Monument in Binley and Willenhall, Coventry

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Latitude: 52.395 / 52°23'42"N

Longitude: -1.4574 / 1°27'26"W

OS Eastings: 437020.295882

OS Northings: 277584.47183

OS Grid: SP370775

Mapcode National: GBR HSS.YG

Mapcode Global: VHBX5.P2D9

Entry Name: Ernesford Grange moated site, Binley

Scheduled Date: 5 October 1954

Last Amended: 7 June 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014046

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21617

County: Coventry

Electoral Ward/Division: Binley and Willenhall

Built-Up Area: Coventry

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Binley St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument is situated on a north facing slope within the grounds of
Ernesford Grange School in Binley and includes a moated site.

The moated site is roughly square in plan with external dimensions of up to
77m. The moat arms are now dry with the exception of the northern moat
arm, which remains water-filled and is considerably wider. They average 13m in
width and are approximately 1.5m deep. Access onto the moated island is by
means of a 3m wide causeway towards the northern end of the eastern moat arm
which is believed to be the original entrance. The moated island is raised
above the surrounding ground surface and measures 51m east to west and 43m
north to south.

Part excavation of the moated island in 1971 located the buried remains of an
L-shaped sandstone building within the western half of the island. It had been
erected on a raised platform of levelled clay. A kitchen, hall, chamber and
garderobe have been identified within the building together with two circular
ovens, a hearth and the garderobe pit.

Ernesford Grange was a farm complex belonging to the Cistercian monastery of
Combe Abbey to the east of Coventry, and the moated site is likely to have
been surrounded by agricultural and other buildings, the precise locations of
which are not known. Documentary sources indicate that the site was in the
possession of the abbey in 1279 and remained in monastic use until the
Reformation. In 1544, on the orders of Henry VIII, it was granted to Thomas

The surfaces of all paths and driveways, the fence posts, lamp-posts and
signposts are all excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.

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.

Ernesford Grange moated site survives well and part excavation of the moated
island has indicated that it retains the foundations of an extensive building.
Further buried archaeological remains will survive within the moated island
and these will include information on ancillary structures associated with the
occupation of the moated site and its use as part of the grange. Silts within
the lower parts of the moat ditches, particularly in the water-filled
northern arm of the moat, will contain artefactual and environmental evidence
relating to the period of monastic and later use. In particular we would
expect to learn something of the grange's internal economy during the 13th
century when it would have been run by Cistercian lay brothers. The interest
of the site is enhanced by survival of documentary records which describe its
dependence on Combe Abbey in Warwickshire and give some indication of its
economic role. The monument is ideally situated, within the school grounds, to
provide a valuable educational resource.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Dugdale, W, The History of Warwickshire, (1656), 149
Hobley, B, 'West Midlands Archaeological Newsletter' in Ernesford Grange, Binley, , Vol. 14, (1971), 29
Webster, L E, Cherry, J, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Warwickshire: Binley, Ernesford Grange, , Vol. 16, (1972), 196

Source: Historic England

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