Ancient Monuments

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Old Hays moated site and associated manorial earthworks, Ratby

A Scheduled Monument in Ratby, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.6543 / 52°39'15"N

Longitude: -1.2765 / 1°16'35"W

OS Eastings: 449036.533242

OS Northings: 306531.492383

OS Grid: SK490065

Mapcode National: GBR 7KR.G38

Mapcode Global: WHDJ8.CKC0

Entry Name: Old Hays moated site and associated manorial earthworks, Ratby

Scheduled Date: 29 May 1952

Last Amended: 21 January 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017584

English Heritage Legacy ID: 11563

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Ratby

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Ratby

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument includes the remains of a Medieval moated enclosure and
its associated manorial earthworks. The moated enclosure is rectangular
in shape measuring some 40m by 50m in maximum external dimensions
inclusive of the 10m wide moat. The partially dry moat has been infilled
along part of the south and east arms, elsewhere it varies in depth
between 3m and 4m with its inner edge faced with masonry. The moated
island is level with the surrounding land and contains the upstanding
remains of Old Hays farmhouse and an outhouse building. The farmhouse
was built in 1733 and is a grade II listed building. The upstanding
remains of these buildings are excluded from the scheduling although
their below-ground remains are included as they are considered to
preserve the remains of earlier buildings and features. Entrance to the
site is via a covered bridge building (the upstanding remains of which
are similarly excluded from the scheduling).
Immediately to the north and west of the moated enclosure are the well-
defined earthwork remains of two rectangular enclosures and a series of
small rectangular hollows, comprising a related manorial complex. The
enclosures each measure some 90m by 40m and have been constructed to
form terraces adjacent to the moat. The enclosures are defined by low
banks, scarps and ditches. Between the enclosures are a series of at
least three hollows measuring about 8m by 6m, considered to mark the
sites of contemporary peasant cots. The hollows are located along a
slight scarp slope which joins a 40m long length of ditch running south-
east dividing the two enclosures. Two low banks west of the moat define
a further small enclosure.

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.

Old Hays is a well-preserved example of a Leicestershire moated
enclosure which is unusual for the depth of the surrounding moat. The
significance of the site is greatly increased by the range of
historical documentation relating to the manorial complex and its
association with Leicester Abbey.

Source: Historic England


L.M.S. record office, Graf, A, (1989)
Ordnance Survey Record, A.J.T., Ordnance Survey Record, (1981)
SMR record, R.F.H., SMR Record, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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