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Moat and fishpond at Wanswell Court

A Scheduled Monument in Hamfallow, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.707 / 51°42'25"N

Longitude: -2.4494 / 2°26'57"W

OS Eastings: 369041.359846

OS Northings: 201018.565295

OS Grid: SO690010

Mapcode National: GBR JX.3QKZ

Mapcode Global: VH87K.HCG7

Entry Name: Moat and fishpond at Wanswell Court

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016768

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32336

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Hamfallow

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Berkeley St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Details

The monument includes a moat and fishpond, within two areas of protection
sited on a gentle south facing slope 2.2kms north of the castle at Berkeley.
It comprises a sub-rectangular moat of unusually large size enclosing a late
medieval manor house, with a large fishpond immediately to the north.
The moat is 74m wide at its widest point in the south west corner, and 9m at
its narrowest, measuring between 1.5m and 2m in depth. The moat surrounds an
island measuring 106m north-south and 56m east-west. At the southern end of
the moated site there is evidence for an external bank rising about 0.5m above
the land to the south, along with some revetting of the southern side of the
moat consisting of stone blocks. The fishpond to the north of the moated site
is roughly triangular, measuring 140m north-south with a maximum width of 42m
and a depth of between 2m and 3m.
The moat was created by damming a stream flowing from Holywell Spring
immediately to the north of the site. The stream flowed into the moat through
its north west corner, and the western arm is exceptionally wide, and is
thought possibly to have been used as an additional fishpond. The unusual
shape of the moat was devised in order to take advantage of the topography of
the area, as the southern arm was created by the construction of a long bank
or dam which holds the water in a natural depression. The northern and eastern
arms of the moat are, by comparison, relatively narrow. At present there are
two causeways, one each across the western and eastern arms of the moat, with
stone bridges set opposite each other immediately to the south of the present
house. The large area in front of the house would have contained ranges of
lodgings, stables and service buildings, for which there is no visible
evidence above ground, although they are expected to survive as buried
features.
A house is believed to have stood on the island from before 1256, when a
licence was granted for a chapel to be erected at Wanswell. The core of the
existing manor house,which is a Listed Building Grade I, and which stands at
the northern end of the island, is a hall house of around 1450-1460 with
additions of early 16th and early 17th century date.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are the main
house and its extension to the east, the two surviving service buildings to
the south of the house, the two stone-built causeways, all concrete standing
areas to the south of the main house, the concrete and gravel surface of the
drive and parking area, all post and wire fences, all wooden post fences,
brick built raised flower beds, all brick and stone walls, wooden and metal
gates and stiles, although the ground beneath all these features is, however,
included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 moat at Wanswell Court survives in a relatively undisturbed condition,
despite the presence of later buildings. Buried deposits on the island will
include the remains of medieval structures, and will contain archaeological
information relating to the the construction and subsequent occupation and use
of the moated site. The fishpond also survives well. Fishponds were of
considerable importance during the medieval period as they provided a good
source of protein during the winter months when fresh meat was unavailable.
They are usually associated with manorial, monastic or royal residences and
provide a good indication of the status of its builders. The fishpond to the
north of the moat will therefore provide important information about the
status and economy of the moated site. Within the moat and fishpond,
waterlogged deposits are expected to have preserved archaeological remains
relating to the occupation and use of the site, along with organic material
which will provide information about the economy of the site and the local
environment during the medieval period. The proximity of the moated site to
Berkeley Castle and the likely continuity of occupation at the site place it
at the forefront of research into medieval settlement and occupation in
Gloucestershire.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Heward, J, Williams, M, Yarhan, V, Wanswell Court Farm, Hamfallow: Historic Building Report, (1990), 1-2
Heward, J, Williams, M, Yarhan, V, Wanswell Court Farm, Hamfallow: Historic Building Report, (1990), 1-2
Cooke, J H, 'Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Society' in Wanswell Court And iIs Occupants For Seven Centuries, (1881), 310-323
Cooke, J H, 'Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Society' in Wanswell Court And iIs Occupants For Seven Centuries, (1881), 310-323

Source: Historic England

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