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Moated site at Earl's Court

A Scheduled Monument in St John, Worcestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.1913 / 52°11'28"N

Longitude: -2.2594 / 2°15'33"W

OS Eastings: 382362.084964

OS Northings: 254819.565932

OS Grid: SO823548

Mapcode National: GBR 0DR.RKK

Mapcode Global: VH92S.S5DY

Entry Name: Moated site at Earl's Court

Scheduled Date: 3 April 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017229

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31957

County: Worcestershire

Electoral Ward/Division: St John

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Worcester St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Worcester

Details

The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the moated site,
enclosures and associated water control features at Earl's Court. The site is
located on Keuper Marl, approximately 3km south west of the centre of
Worcester and occupies generally flat ground. The moated site was formerly
located in St John in Bedwardine parish. A large farm complex which formerly
occupied the land immediately to the west and north west of the moat was
demolished in 1977. The County Museums service carried out some survey work on
the site at that time. The manor of Earl's Court is believed to have been
formed through the amalgamation of a number of small holdings in the early
16th century by Arnold Gower.

The site includes a complete rectangular moat with the adjoining remains of
what is believed to be an earlier, round moat to the north and a system of
leats defining a series of enclosures to the east.

The rectangular moat is 1m to 2m deep and is water-filled in its north, south
and eastern arms and waterlogged in the western arm. The moat encloses an
island which measures approximately 45m by 30m which is level with the
surrounding land. A leat leaves the moat from its south eastern corner and
runs to the east for approximately 60m to connect with a second leat which
runs from south west to north east. Both of these leats measure 1m to 2m wide
by up to 0.5m deep and are waterlogged.

A waterlogged extension to the east from the end of the northern arm of the
rectangular moat runs in a shallow curve to the north east for approximately
55m measuring 1m to 2m deep. Site investigation in 1977 indicated that this
arm was originally part of a large round ditch which enclosed a roughly
circular island of approximately 70m diameter and was partially infilled
later. The infilled line of the round ditch is visible on the ground. The
foundations of the demolished farm buildings are visible on the surface of
this island. It has been suggested that this was the site of a water mill in
the 17th century. Two waterlogged leats, 1m to 2m wide by up to 0.5m deep,
leave the round ditch from just before and just after its easternmost point
and run to the east to join the south west to north east leat.

The system of leats form the boundaries for two enclosures which may have
contained ancillary buildings or alternatively served as stock pounds or for
the garden closes.

All modern post and wire fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath it 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.

The moated site, enclosures and associated water control features at Earl's
Court survive well. The unusual form of the site, extended with the addition
of the rectangular island and the later reuse of the round island as a
possible water mill will provide evidence for continuity and adaptation of use
throughout a wide chronological period. It is believed that the rectangular
island will preserve evidence of former structures, including both domestic
and ancilliary 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. In addition,
the northern island preserves foundation levels of former buildings which will
give information on the site's later use. It is believed that earlier
remains will also be preserved in this area as on the rectangular island.
The moats are likely to preserve earlier deposits including evidence of
their construction and any alterations during their active history. In
addition, their waterlogged condition will preserve environmental information
about the ecosystem and landscape in which the monument was set.

The leats will provide evidence of the water management regime at the site and
preserve environmental evidence in their waterlogged deposits. This will
illuminate the nature of use of the site and the relationship between the main
holdings of the moated site and ancillary structures of the enclosure.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
(1970)
(1977)
Moger, Olive, Various, VCH, (1913)
various, Various, (1970)

Source: Historic England

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