Ancient Monuments

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Moated site immediately adjacent to St Peter's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Abbots Morton, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.1939 / 52°11'38"N

Longitude: -1.9626 / 1°57'45"W

OS Eastings: 402649.651841

OS Northings: 255073.551613

OS Grid: SP026550

Mapcode National: GBR 3K4.GLV

Mapcode Global: VHB0D.X3SZ

Entry Name: Moated site immediately adjacent to St Peter's Church

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016940

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31953

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Abbots Morton

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Abbots Morton

Church of England Diocese: Worcester


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the moated site and
associated enclosure, pond and medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains
adjacent to the Church of St Peter. The site is located on the brow of a hill
and was acquired by Ecgwine, bishop of the Hwicce, in the eighth century for
Evesham Abbey. It is believed that the site was a favoured retreat for the
abbots of Evesham prior to the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
The moated site is situated approximately 90m north of the church and is well
preserved, although the moat, which measures up to 8m wide by 4m deep on the
north, south and west sides is dry. The eastern arm of the moat is
approximately 15m wide by 3m deep and has an external bank measuring 4m to 5m
wide by 1m high. The banks of the moat are steep, being nearly vertical.
The island is rectangular and measures approximately 48m east to west by 35m
north to south. There are traces of an internal bank measuring 3m wide by 0.5m
high at the north west and south east corners, and an `L'-shaped depression
0.5m deep is located to the north and west of the centre of the island. This
measures approximately 18m from north to south and 30m from east to west with
the junction of the two arms, which measure up to 4m wide, to the north west.
This feature is believed to represent the former house site. Medieval ridge
and furrow cultivation remains are located to the north and east of the moat,
and a 20m sample of this is included in the scheduling to preserve their
relationship to the moat.
Immediately to the south of the moat and north of the church is a rectangular
enclosure measuring approximately 80m by 60m and oriented east to west which
is believed to have been a stock pen, and would have contained ancillary
buildings. The eastern boundary of this enclosure is formed by a clay-lined
pond measuring approximately 35m by 15m. To the south, the enclosure is
defined by a ditch 1m wide by 0.5m deep, and to the west by a hollow way which
measures up to 4m wide by 2m deep running from north to south, and forming the
western boundary of the churchyard. The churchyard is not included in the
A second hollow way, to the south of the churchyard, measures up to 4m wide by
up to 3m deep and connects the moated site to the main street of the village
located to the east.
All modern fencing and surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them 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 immediately adjacent to St Peter's Church is a well-preserved
example of a high status medieval moated site with a documented pre-Conquest
foundation. It is believed to have acted as a residence or retreat for the
abbots of Evesham until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th
The undisturbed nature of the island will preserve 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 its construction and subsequent
periods of use. The moat ditch can be expected to preserve earlier deposits
including evidence for its construction and any alterations during its active
The hollow ways at Abbots Morton are particularly well defined and provide
evidence for the relationship between the moated site and the church in
addition to the relationship between the village and its agricultural fields.
Ridge and furrow cultivation remains are the remnants of a communal system of
agriculture based on large, unenclosed arable fields. These large fields were
subdivided into strips (known as lands) which were allocated to individual
tenants. The cultivation of these lands with heavy ploughs pulled by
oxen teams produced long, wide ridges and the resultant ridge and furrow where
it survives is the most obvious physical indication of the open field system.
Well-preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context
adjacent to settlement earthworks, is both an important source of information
about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character
of the landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hooke, D, Worcestershire Anglo Saxon Charter Bounds, (1990), 23-165
Bond, C.J., Provisional List of Moats in Worcestershire, (1972)
Bond, C.J., Provisional List of Moats in Worcestershire, (1972)
Record Cards, (1970)

Source: Historic England

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