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Double moated site 60m east of Baxterley church

A Scheduled Monument in Baxterley, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.5704 / 52°34'13"N

Longitude: -1.6224 / 1°37'20"W

OS Eastings: 425691.312951

OS Northings: 297019.292507

OS Grid: SP256970

Mapcode National: GBR 5HL.YF7

Mapcode Global: WHCHC.1NQB

Entry Name: Double moated site 60m east of Baxterley church

Scheduled Date: 18 April 1979

Last Amended: 1 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014683

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21618

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Baxterley

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Baxterley

Church of England Diocese: Birmingham


The centre of the monument is situated approximately 60m to the east of
Baxterley church, and includes a double moated site. The site has two square
moated islands with the smaller one set to the north west of the larger.
The whole site has external dimensions of approximately 70m north west-south
east and 48m north east-south west. The steep-sided moat ditches are now dry
and average 10m wide and up to 5m deep. Some modern dumping has occurred
within the central section of the north eastern moat ditch but this infilled
section will survive as a buried feature and is included in the scheduling.
The western moated island shares a continuous ditch with the eastern moated
island along the south western side. As the western island is smaller,
however, the north eastern moat arm dog-legs to the south and west to contain
it. This dog-leg is marked on the 1888 Ordnance Survey map, suggesting that it
is an original feature of the moated site. A 7m wide external bank runs
alongside the south western moat arm and is believed to have served as a
retaining bank to hold water within the moat ditches.
There is no visible evidence for the original access onto the moated islands
but part excavation and a detailed survey of the site have indicated that
access onto the eastern island was via a bridge across the south eastern arm
of the moat, and that the two islands themselves were connected by a further
bridge. A second access point onto the islands was identified across the
northern end of the south western moat arm. This would have provided easier
access to the parish church.
The western moated island measures 16m square and will retain buried deposits
associated with its occupation and use, although no earthworks are visible on
the surface. The eastern island is 26m north west-south east and 22m north
east-south west and was partly excavated in 1977 when fragments of roofing
tile, a corroded axe and a brass bowl were recovered.
Documentary records indicate that the site was occupied by one of the manor
houses of Baxterley and was constructed in c.1343 only to be abandoned several
years later. Its location immediately to the east of Baxterley church
indicates that a relationship between the 12th century church and the double
moated site is highly likely and the two are situated within a single area of
land defined by Hipsey Lane to the north and east, and by a former trackway
alongside the church to the east.
The animal pen within the south western moat ditch, the oil storage tank and
all fence posts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these
features 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.

The moated site east of Baxterley church is a rare sub-category of this class
of monument; only a few examples of double moated sites are known in
Warwickshire. It survives well and the short-lived occupation of the site
together with the lack of modern development will ensure that early
archaeological deposits will survive undisturbed at the site. Part excavation
has indicated that the two moated islands retain structural and artefactual
evidence for the buildings which originally existed here, allowing an insight
into the structural development and the character of occupation.
Additionally, organic deposits will be preserved within the naturally silted
moat ditches providing information on the economy of the site's inhabitants
and the environment in which they lived.
The interest of the site is enhanced by its close proximity to the 12th
century church which stands alongside it within the same clearly defined area
of land.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fretwell, L, 'West Midlands Archaeological Newsletter (CBA Group 8)' in Baxterley Moat, , Vol. 20, (1977), 92

Source: Historic England

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