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Kelfield moated site and fishpond, 180m north of Kelfield Church

A Scheduled Monument in Kelfield, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.8397 / 53°50'22"N

Longitude: -1.0971 / 1°5'49"W

OS Eastings: 459506.447821

OS Northings: 438538.452127

OS Grid: SE595385

Mapcode National: GBR NSS1.89

Mapcode Global: WHFCP.3RT8

Entry Name: Kelfield moated site and fishpond, 180m north of Kelfield Church

Scheduled Date: 15 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017459

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30112

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Kelfield

Built-Up Area: Kelfield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Stillingfleet St Helen

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a roughly circular moated site, now partly occupied by a
mid-19th century farmhouse, and an adjacent fishpond.
The moated site is identified as the site of the manor house held by Henry son
of Conan, also known as Henry of Kelfield, in 1290-91. The manor of Kelfield
had passed from the Hermer family to Henry between 1201 and 1204, remaining
within the family until at least the mid-14th century. The manor passed into
the Stillington family between 1496 and 1534, and it is believed that around
this time the moated site was abandoned in favour of Kelfield Hall, which is
first mentioned in 1598, sited besides the river on the south side of the
village. The current manor house sited on the island dates to the mid-19th
The moat ditch is still partially filled with water and is now horse-shoe
shaped in plan, being infilled on the north eastern side. The roughly
circular, 35m diameter island rises above the level of the surrounding land
surface. The current house stands in the north eastern quadrant of the island,
with most of the remaining area forming a garden. The fishpond survives as a
partly infilled feature approximately 10m wide and 55m long, extending north
westwards from the south western side of the moat, separated from the moat by
a narrow strip just over 5m wide.
The farmhouse, the hardstanding to the north and all post and wire fencing
are excluded from scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features
is included.

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 tradition of constructing and using fishponds started in the medieval
period and peaked in the 12th century, their use declining after the
Dissolution. They are often associated with moated sites, the moat ditches
often also acting as fishponds. They were designed to retain slow moving fresh
water to allow the breeding, cultivating and storing of fish to provide a
sustainable year round supply of fresh food. They typically had a water
management system of leats and sluices to control water levels.
Documentary sources provide a wealth of information about the way that ponds
were stocked and managed. Fishponds are found widely scattered across the
country, the majority in central, eastern and southern parts and in areas with
heavy clay soils. Although approximately 2000 examples are recorded
nationally, this is thought to be only a small proportion of those originally
in existence. Despite being relatively common, fishponds are important for
their association with other classes of medieval monuments, and in providing
evidence of site economy.
Kelfield moated site is a good, well preserved example of a 13th century small
seigneurial manor house site. The island is unusual in form, being circular
rather than polygonal in plan. Medieval archaeological deposits will survive
throughout the island, both beneath the farmhouse and in open areas, and will
include building foundations, rubbish pits, and evidence of gardening
activity. The area between the moat and the fishpond will include the buried
remains of a leat and sluice originally linking the two bodies of water. The
moat and fishpond, still being partly water filled, will retain well preserved
organic remains. These will include timbering related to one or more bridges
across the moat, wooden and leather items lost or thrown away, animal and fish
bones, together with pollen, seeds and other environmental remains which
rarely survive elsewhere and will provide valuable information into the life
of the medieval site.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire East Riding: Volume III, (1976), 104
Le Patourel, H.E J, 'Monograph Series No 5' in The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, , Vol. 5, (1973), 113

Source: Historic England

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