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Moated site at Churchill Court

A Scheduled Monument in Churchill, Worcestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.1806 / 52°10'50"N

Longitude: -2.1131 / 2°6'46"W

OS Eastings: 392365.910289

OS Northings: 253596.572665

OS Grid: SO923535

Mapcode National: GBR 2HT.6M0

Mapcode Global: VH92W.BG87

Entry Name: Moated site at Churchill Court

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018545

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31943

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Churchill

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: White Ladies Aston with Churchill and Spetchley

Church of England Diocese: Worcester

Details

The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the moated site and
its associated fishponds, quarries and enclosures at Churchill Court. The
monument is located on a promontory of high ground in a commanding position
to the north east of St Michael's Church.
The island is sub-rectangular, almost circular, and measures approximately 55m
by 40m. It is defined by a substantial moat which, although silted, still
maintains a depth of water throughout most of its circuit. The moat measures
up to 3m deep and 6m wide, narrowing to 3m on the northern and eastern,
downhill sides where it is retained by a substantial outer bank. There is a
short projection at the moat's south east corner. The moat now relies largely
on rain water for its supply. The island is generally level and undisturbed,
and no traces of structures are evident, although there is a considerable
amount of stone scatter visible. An `L'-shaped depression in the south and
west areas of the moat island may be the site of former buildings. There is no
evidence of formal access to the island, access currently being gained at the
dry north west corner.
To the north of the moat are a pair of large depressions and banks which may
represent quarry pits relating to the moat. Running from a point midway along
the northern arm of the moat and partly defined by the moat's outer bank, is a
substantial hollow way approximately 3.5m wide and 1.5m deep, which terminates
after 110m at the base of the slope.
To the east of the moat, on a downhill slope, are the remains of a large
enclosure approximately 100m by 80m, within which earthworks are visible.
These consist of a slight terrace running across the enclosure from north to
south; at the midpoint of this feature is an 8m by 3m depression. These
earthworks are thought to be associated settlement and agricultural remains.
They will provide evidence for the relationship between the moated site and
the outer enclosures and for the agricultural regime and economy and
subsistence of the moat's inhabitants. By the south east projection of the
moat is a large 20m by 15m hollow which represents the remains of an attached
fishpond.
All post and wire fencing is excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath 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 at Churchill Court survives as a largely undisturbed and well-
preserved example of a medieval moated enclosure including associated fishpond
and earthwork remains. The undisturbed nature of the island will preserve
evidence of former structures, including both domestic and ancillary 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
evidence which will facilitate the dating of the construction and subsequent
periods of use of the moat.
The moat ditch can be expected to preserve earlier deposits including evidence
of its construction and any alterations which occurred during its active
history. In addition, its waterlogged condition will preserve environmental
information about the ecosystem and landscape history of the moat from the
medieval period.
The substantial outer bank on the north and east sides of the moat will
preserve evidence for its construction, use and any alterations which may have
occurred during the moat's active life. This feature will also provide
information about whether it was built as an integral part of the original
construction programme or added at a later date.
Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow-moving fresh water
constructed for the purpose of breeding and storing fish in order to provide a
consistent and sustainable supply of food. The tradition of constructing and
using fishponds began in the medieval period and reached a peak of popularity
in the 12th century. They were largely the province of the wealthier sectors
of society, and are considered important as a source of information concerning
the economy of various classes of medieval settlements and institutions.
The fishpond remains at Churchill Court, although degraded, will in their
waterlogged condition, provide climatic and environmental evidence in addition
to important complimentary information about the economy and subsistence of
the moat's inhabitants.
Quarry pits are the visible remains of mineral extraction and will provide
evidence of industrial activity on the site, possibly related to the
construction or use of the moat and its buildings.
The earthworks to the east of the moat are thought to be the remains of
associated settlement and agricultural use of the site. They will provide
evidence for the relationship between the moated site and the outer enclosures
and for the agricultural regime and economy and subsistence of the moat's
inhabitants.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Moger, O, Wragge, A, The Victoria History of the County of Worcestershire, (1913), 297
Other
Aston M, (1970)
Bond, C J, HW Provisional List of Moats, 1972,
Various SMR officers, SMR Records, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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