Ancient Monuments

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Moated site immediately north west of St Mary's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Tarrant Rawston, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.8544 / 50°51'15"N

Longitude: -2.0907 / 2°5'26"W

OS Eastings: 393708.230068

OS Northings: 106102.151338

OS Grid: ST937061

Mapcode National: GBR 30X.68L

Mapcode Global: FRA 66HV.59J

Entry Name: Moated site immediately north west of St Mary's Church

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1962

Last Amended: 11 February 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017283

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33540

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Tarrant Rawston

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Tarrant Monkton with Tarrant Launceston All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a medieval moated site on the eastern bank of the River
Tarrant immediately north west of St Mary's Church, which sits on a terrace
about 1m above the level of the river.
A rectangular platform, 52m by 40m, is enclosed by the River Tarrant on the
western side and a ditch on the other side. On the northern and southern sides
of the platform, the ditch has inner and outer banks, whilst on the eastern
side it has only an inner ditch. The earthworks have been partially levelled
and disturbed over the years by garden features and other activities. The
ditch, now visible only on the northern and eastern sides, is very irregular,
up to 8m wide and 1.5m deep at the south eastern corner. The inner and outer
banks are most clearly visible on the northern side although short sections of
bank are visible on the southern side. No outer bank would have been necessary
on the eastern side because the river terrace rises 1m above the level of the
moat. The inner bank is up to 9m wide and 0.5m high while the outer bank is up
to 10m wide and 0.3m high. There is a 9m gap in the inner bank but no
corresponding gap in the outer bank on the northern side. At the south eastern
corner of the enclosure there is a gap between the end of the eastern ditch
and the southern outer bank perhaps to allow access from the site to the
church. This suggests that there would have been an entrance on the southern
side as well. Two irregular platforms at right angles to eachother on the
inner bank at the north eastern corner of the site may represent the site of a
Slight earthworks are visible on the ground surface at the southern end of the
site; these may be old garden features. There is an old water channel leading
from the river towards the centre of the site, which may have been part of the
water meadow system, still visible to the north of the moated site. The site
was formerly thought to be that of a religious house or hospital dedicated to
St Leonard mentioned in medieval documents, but there appears to be no
evidence to connect this reference with Tarrant Rushton.
All fence and gate posts, the pole supporting overhead wires, and the
livestock sheds and pens are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath these features 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 north west of St Mary's Church is a comparatively
well preserved example of its class in an area of the country where such sites
are rare. It will contain archaeological and environmental remains providing
information about medieval society, economy and landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Drew, C D, 'Proceedings of the Dorset Nat Hist and Archaeological Society' in The House of St Leonard of Rushton, Dorset, , Vol. 64, (1942), 34-42

Source: Historic England

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