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Moated site and fishponds 300m south west and 470m north of Durrance Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Upton Warren, Wychavon

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Latitude: 52.3373 / 52°20'14"N

Longitude: -2.1373 / 2°8'14"W

OS Eastings: 390740.4347

OS Northings: 271037.6329

OS Grid: SO907710

Mapcode National: GBR 1DJ.DGJ

Mapcode Global: VH922.WJY1

Entry Name: Moated site and fishponds 300m south west and 470m north of Durrance Farm

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016480

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31954

County: Wychavon

Civil Parish: Upton Warren

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Stoke Prior, Wychbold and Upton Warren

Church of England Diocese: Worcester


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a medieval moated
site and associated fishpond complex within two areas of protection. The first
area includes the moated site, attached fishpond and leat, while the second
includes a further fishpond and leat 600m north west of the moat. The monument
is located on Keuper Marl with substantial drift deposits in a shallow valley
10km to the west of Bromsgrove. It is believed the site may be that of Cooksey
Excavations in the 1950s identified three main periods of development.
Between 1200 and 1250 a small irregular shaped moated site was constructed.
The moat ditch was later recut between 1250 and 1300 when buildings were
erected on the island. The site remained in this form until 1350 to 1450 when
the site was modified to its present form and the fishponds were added.
The moated site includes a dry ditch which surrounds a rectangular island 39m
by 44m which is approximately 1m higher than the surrounding ground level, and
is uneven with the remains of seven trenches left by archaeological excavation
in the 1950s clearly visible. To the south the moat ditch has been widened
for two thirds of its length to approximately 30m, and the retaining dam for
this widening is clearly visible. The north, west and east arms are
approximately 6m to 12m wide, and all arms of the moat are approximately 2m to
3m deep. The present stream runs southwards passing adjacent to the eastern
arm of the moat in a 2m to 3m deep cutting which appears to be natural. The
earthwork remains of a pond are visible, connecting to the centre of
the northern arm of the moat ditch. A leat runs northwards from the north
eastern corner of the moat for approximately 300m before dividing to the north
west and north east and connecting with further ponds. The leat is dry and
approximately 2m to 3m wide by 2m to 3m deep running parallel with and east of
the present stream for approximately 100m at which point it is no longer
Approximately 300m north east of the moat are the remains of a large pond,
originally connected to the leat, which utilised the natural contours of the
land for water retention. A second pond, also connected by a leat lies a
further 200m to the north east. These ponds have been damaged by later
landscaping and agriculture and are not, therefore, included in the
A final pond lies 600m to the north east of the moat, within the second area
of protection. This pond is waterlogged, with a stream running southwards
through its centre. It measures approximately 100m north to south
by approximately 30m west to east. At its southern end are the remains of a
dam approximately 6m wide by 30m long. A section of the leat supplying water
to the fishpond complex and lying to the west of the pond is included in the
A circular pond approximately 30m to the north east is believed to represent a
later marl pit and is not included in the scheduling.
All modern fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it 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 and fishponds 300m south west and 470m north of Durrance Farm
survive as a largely undisturbed and well preserved example of a medieval
moated site, despite some disturbance of its associated fishpond complex and
water control features. Excavations on the island and through the ditches of
the moat have confirmed the preservation of archaeological deposits and
evidence of former structures, including both domestic and ancillary buildings
and their associated occupation levels.
These remains will illustrate the nature of use of the site and the lifestyle
of its inhabitants in addition to providing evidence which will facilitate the
dating of the construction and subsequent periods of use of the moat. The moat
ditch will preserve earlier deposits including evidence of its construction
and alterations during its active history.
Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow moving fresh water
constructed for the purpose of breeding and storing fish in the medieval
period and reached a peak of popularity in the 12th century. Fishponds were
often grouped together, either clustered or in line, and joined by leats, each
pond being stocked with a different age or species of fish, which could be
transferred to other bodies of water such as moats. They were largely the
province of the wealthier sectors of society and are considered important as a
source of information concerning the rural economy of various classes of
medieval settlements and institutions.
The fishpond is expected to preserve evidence for its construction and use,
while its waterlogged deposits will preserve climatic and environmental
information about its management regime.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Oswald, A, Taylor, G S, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Durrance Moat, Upton Warren, Worcestershire., , Vol. LXXIX, (1961), 61-75
Oswald, A, Taylor, G S, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Provisional List of Moats, Worcestershire, , Vol. LXXIX, (1961), 61-75
Bond, C.J., Provisional List of Moats in Worcestershire, (1972)

Source: Historic England

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