Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Court House Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Pembridge, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.2169 / 52°13'0"N

Longitude: -2.8932 / 2°53'35"W

OS Eastings: 339075.061023

OS Northings: 258006.869282

OS Grid: SO390580

Mapcode National: GBR FB.2JZ2

Mapcode Global: VH77B.SJVW

Entry Name: Moated site at Court House Farm

Scheduled Date: 4 December 1951

Last Amended: 2 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014538

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27494

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Pembridge

Built-Up Area: Pembridge

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Pembridge with Moorcourt

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated
site, situated on the southern edge of Pembridge village, on ground which
slopes gently northwards towards the River Arrow. The moat itself was
originally D-shaped; its straight western arm was infilled in the 17th
century and is now partly occupied by the house and outbuildings of Court
House Farm. The monument is bounded to the north by St Mary's churchyard, and
to the east and south by pasture fields. The monument measures a maximum of
77m north-south, and 81m west-east. The moated platform is now used as a
garden area for the farm, and is planted with apple and hazel trees. The moat
ditch is steep sided and up to 5m deep, with a growth of brambles and trees
(mostly elderberry and young elm), which has been cleared in some areas.
Averaging 15m in width, the moat is damp and water-filled in places to a depth
of 0.4m. The west end of the southern arm was infilled in the 1960s to provide
access from the platform to the farmland to the south; a gate now divides the
two areas. A stone wall marks the western extent of this arm prior to its
infilling. A box hedge divides the platform from the courtyard area to the
south of the house. In the north west quarter, east and north east of the
farmhouse, the line of the infilled western moat arm is indicated by a
distinct slope, currently supporting a rockery, which descends from the
platform to another area of garden. A brick wall divides this area from the
churchyard at the north west corner, continuing eastwards as a dry stone wall
supporting the northern edge of the moat ditch for c.10m. A wooden fence marks
the outer edge of the moat ditch on the church side, with a gate through into
the field in the north east quarter through which the public footpath
continues, now unsurfaced. There is a wooden fence across the eastern arm of
the moat itself. It is thought that the infilling of the western ditch and the
construction of Court House Farm in the 17th century marked the point when the
principal residence was moved away from the moated platform. Prior to its
18th century modifications the house would have been similar to many buildings
in Pembridge, almost all of which are timber-framed, including the fine timber
market hall at its centre, which is the subject of a separate scheduling.

All fences and gates around and across the monument, the walls at the north
west and south west corners of the moat, the churchyard footpath, the house
and gravelled courtyard surface, the rockery, and all farmbuildings and
ancillary structures are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath these features 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.

The moated site at Court House Farm is in good condition, with little modern
disturbance, and survives well both as earthwork and below ground remains. The
platform area will retain evidence of the original buildings and/or activities
that took place there, allowing the original and any subsequent uses of the
site to be understood. Material that has accumulated in the ditch since its
construction will preserve environmental evidence for activity at and around
the moat and, due to waterlogging, it is likely that organic remains survive.
Evidence for structures such as a bridge will also be preserved by these ditch
fills, or buried in the infilled parts of the western and southern ditches.

Court House Farm moat is a well preserved example of a class of monument which
occurs less frequently in this part of the county than further east. When
viewed alongside other examples in the region it increases our understanding
of the social organisation of the county in the medieval period. Its proximity
to St Mary's Church may indicate that its owners were associated with the
reconstruction and refurbishment of the church and its famous timber
bell-tower; the 12th century core of the tower may even be contemporary with
the creation of the moat. The construction of Court House in the 17th century
illustrates the continuation of lordly occupation at the site into the post-
medieval period. These associations further enhance interest in the moated
site itself.

Source: Historic England


Richardson, R E, FMW report, AM107, (1979)

Source: Historic England

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