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Medieval moated site, fishponds and associated field system 125m south of Eldmire Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Eldmire with Crakehill, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.1656 / 54°9'56"N

Longitude: -1.3552 / 1°21'18"W

OS Eastings: 442197.934672

OS Northings: 474612.950874

OS Grid: SE421746

Mapcode National: GBR LNZ8.DH

Mapcode Global: WHD8W.4KYF

Entry Name: Medieval moated site, fishponds and associated field system 125m south of Eldmire Cottage

Scheduled Date: 14 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015419

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28292

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Eldmire with Crakehill

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Details

The monument includes a moated site with attached fishponds, adjacent
earthworks and remains of ridge and furrow field systems.
The monument is situated partly on a river cliff overlooking the River Swale.
The moated site occupies the base of the cliff while the adjacent earthworks
occupy the rising ground to the north and west. The ridge and furrow lies in
the field to the east of the moat.
The moated site is visible as a rectangular ditch up to 10m wide enclosing a
raised platform measuring 50m by 30m. Two elongated fishponds 30m long lie to
the west of the moated site and are linked to the west side of the ditch.
There also linear earthworks, small terraces and building platforms to the
north and west of the moat. One rectangular earthwork, on the crest of the
river cliff, contains a circular earthwork which may have been a base for a
small windmill. These further earthworks represent the remains of ancillary
buildings associated with the agricultural and economic functions of the
moated site.
To the east of the moat there are three different alignments of ridge and
furrow which cover the north and east sections of the field. The different
sections are separated by baulks and headlands.
The village of Eldmire was first recorded in 1301 and again in 1327. A chantry
chapel was established adjacent to the monument in 1338, although no remains
of this building are known to survive.
All fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Medieval moated sites were often at the centre of a wider agricultural and
economic unit. This wider complex may have had a range of associated
agricultural buildings located adjacent to the moat itself. These buildings
would have included stables, stores, workshops, dovecots and sometimes
accommodation for staff and workers.
Moated sites are also often found in association with remains of agricultural
features such as fishponds and field systems. Fishponds were an artificial
pool of slow moving water constructed to cultivate, breed and store fish to
provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. They were maintained by a
water management system which included inlet and outlet channels carrying
water from a river or stream, a system of sluices and an overflow leat to
prevent flooding.
The most common form of field system of the medieval period was known as ridge
and furrow. This took the form of parallel rounded ridges separated by furrows
and which provided rich well drained land for planting crops. Over large areas
the system tended to adopt a characteristic `s' shape to accommodate the
turning circle of a plough team. In small areas where use of a plough team was
impractical ridge and furrow would be dug by hand. Although still common in
some areas of central and southern England remains of ridge and furrow are
becoming rare in the north of England.
The moated site at Eldmire survives well and significant archaeological
remains will be preserved within the moat and central platform. Remains of the
wider medieval complex including the associated field system also survive. The
monument offers important scope for the study of the development of domestic
and agricultural arrangements through the medieval period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Le Paturel, J, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire: Monograph Series No. 5, (1973), 14,118
Other
(1977)
AJC 097/5/6/7, (1977)

Source: Historic England

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