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Coates medieval settlement and moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Stow, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.3396 / 53°20'22"N

Longitude: -0.6328 / 0°37'58"W

OS Eastings: 491125.935795

OS Northings: 383387.768438

OS Grid: SK911833

Mapcode National: GBR SY0T.SL

Mapcode Global: WHGHK.7BX5

Entry Name: Coates medieval settlement and moated site

Scheduled Date: 24 November 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016979

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22762

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Stow

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Coates St Edith

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the earthwork remains of the medieval village of Coates.
Recorded in the late 11th century as a small settlement of about six
households, by the early 14th century it had more than doubled in size. In
the late 12th century the church and land at Coates were given to Welbeck
Abbey in Nottinghamshire, who may have established a grange here. The village
was depopulated by the Black Death in the mid-14th century, and thereafter
there were no more than about ten households in the parish, some of which lay
outside the village. The remains of the medieval village, together with the
surviving parts of its open fields, are in two separate areas of protection.
The western area of protection is situated adjacent to St Edith's
churchyard. Approximately 30m to the west of the church is the northern end
of a water-filled depression,`L'-shaped in plan and orientated north-south.
The depression is up to 15m wide and over 1.5m deep. On the eastern side of
the western arm is a broad internal bank with the remains of an external bank
on the western side. Further remains of the western arm are evident as a
shallow depression, partly infilled, extending northwards to the edge of the
present road. The area thus enclosed is raised approximately 1m above the
level of the adjacent fields and includes low earthworks indicating the
presence of buried archaeological deposits. These features represent the
remains of a moated manorial complex,
possibly a grange of Welbeck Abbey established in the late 12th century. The
moated complex, which formerly extended over the area now occupied by Coates
Hall and Hall Farm, is believed to have been constructed on the site of the
earlier medieval settlement at Coates. The Church of St Edith, the earliest
known parts of which date from the late 12th century, was thus enclosed within
the complex. While the larger part of the complex has been greatly altered by
post-medieval and modern activity, and is therefore not included in the
scheduling, the buried remains of the south western part of the complex,
and of the settlement which preceded it, are believed to survive to the south
and west of the church. The church, which is a Grade I Listed Building, and
the churchyard in which it stands, are still in ecclesiastical use and are
not included in the scheduling.
The main area of medieval settlement remains is located east of the moated
complex on the north side of the present road to Grange Farm. They take the
form of a series of substantial earthworks and associated buried remains,
including a linear hollow way about 0.7m in depth and aligned approximately
east-west, which represents the original road through the village. Rectangular
ditched enclosures ranged along each side of the street represent house plots,
within which are the earth-covered remains of houses and outbuildings, while
sunken areas indicate yards and ponds. To the north of the northern range of
house plots, and separated from them by a deep ditch, is a series of larger
rectangular enclosures within which the low earthworks of ridge and furrow
cultivation are evident; these represent paddocks laid out in the medieval
period over earlier arable land. Adjacent to the east of these enclosures,
immediately to the west of Grange Farm, further ridge and furrow cultivation
remains represent the only surviving furlong of a formerly extensive pattern
of open fields surrounding the medieval village.
All fences and gates 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

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Trent sub-Province of the Central Province, where
the broad Trent valley swings in a great arc across midland England. Underlain
by heavy clays, it is given variety by superficial glacial and alluvial
deposits. Although treated as a single sub-Province, it has many subtle
variations. Generally, it is characterised by a great number of villages and
hamlets which cluster thickly along scarp-foot and scarp-tail zones, locations
suitable for exploiting the contrasting terrains. Throughout the sub-Province
there are very low and extremely low densities of dispersed farmsteads, some
of which are ancient, but most of which are 18th-century and later movement of
farms out of earlier villages.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre
of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and
woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as
earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks,
platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed
crofts and small enclosed paddocks. They frequently included the parish
church within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most
villages included one or more manorial centres which may also survive as
visible remains as well as below ground deposits. Villages were the most
distinctive aspect of medieval life in central England, and their
archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding
about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest.
Medieval settlements were supported by a communal system of agriculture based
on large, unenclosed open arable fields. These large fields were subdivided
into strips (known as lands) which were allocated to individual tenants. The
cultivation of these strips 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. Individual
strips or lands were laid out in groups known as furlongs, which were in turn
grouped into large open fields. 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 historic landscape.
The medieval settlement of Coates, and the remains of its open field system,
survive well as a series of substantial earthworks with associated buried
deposits. As a result of detailed archaeological survey and historical
research they are quite well understood. The remains of house plots and hollow
ways will preserve valuable evidence for domestic and economic activity on the
site giving an insight into the lifestyle of the inhabitants. The remains of
the moated manorial complex, which are thought to overlie those of the earlier
settlement, contribute to our understanding of the way in which monastic
property was managed in relation to secular settlement. The association of the
village remains with those of its open fields preserves further evidence for
the economy of the settlement and its place in the wider medieval landscape.

Source: Historic England

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