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Eastfield Sike medieval moated site, associated fishpond, and medieval woodland boundary banks and ditches at Burtergill Wood and Kiln Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Warcop, Eden

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Latitude: 54.5417 / 54°32'29"N

Longitude: -2.3661 / 2°21'57"W

OS Eastings: 376412.601

OS Northings: 516327.0513

OS Grid: NY764163

Mapcode National: GBR CHXX.KQ

Mapcode Global: WH937.M3HM

Entry Name: Eastfield Sike medieval moated site, associated fishpond, and medieval woodland boundary banks and ditches at Burtergill Wood and Kiln Hill

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018598

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27831

County: Eden

Civil Parish: Warcop

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Warcop St Columba

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Eastfield Sike
medieval moated site, an associated fishpond, and adjacent medieval woodbanks
and ditches at Burtergill Wood and Kiln Hill. It lies on the fringe of open
moorland which gradually rises northwards before joining the limestone scars
of Warcop Fell. It includes a moated platform measuring approximately 26.5m
by 10m upon which there are a number of low earthworks, indicating the
survival of buried remains of timber buildings, together with a slight stony
bank interpreted as the remains of a small enclosure. Surrounding the platform
is a flat-bottomed ditch approximately 9m wide by 1m deep which is dry on all
sides except the north where a small stream flows through the north east
corner of the moat before exiting through a break in the west ditch. Remains
of an inlet channel which originally supplied water to the moat survive on the
eastern side. There is an outer bank 2.5m wide by 0.4m high on the moat's
north side. An associated fishpond measuring approximately 13.5m by 12.5m and
surrounded on all sides except the south by an outer bank lies on the western
side of the moat. To the north west of the moat lies Burtergill Wood which is
enclosed by a relatively well-preserved wood bank consisting of an earthen
bank up to 6.4m wide by 1.1m high and an external ditch with maximum
dimensions of 5.5m wide by 2m deep. To the south of the moat the bank and
ditch continue and define a piece of land on the western side of Kiln Hill
which, although now largely treeless, is shown on 19th century maps as being a
continuation of Burtergill Wood.
Although no documentary evidence has yet been forthcoming to confirm the date
of the monument, the date range for the construction of moated sites generally
lies between the 12th and 15th centuries. Moated sites and wood banks are
commonly associated and Eastfield Sike moated site is interpreted as the
location of a woodward's cottage constructed by the Warcop family, lords of
the manor of Warcop.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all modern
field boundaries, all fence posts and gateposts, all signposts, a small
concrete military structure built on the north east corner of the wood bank
surrounding Burtergill Wood, and the surfaces of all roads and tracks; the
ground beneath all these features, however, 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.

A fishpond is an artificially created pool of slow moving freshwater
constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to
provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. They were maintained by a
water management system which included inlet and outlet channels carrying
water from a river or stream, a series of sluices set into the bottom of the
dam and along the channels and leats, and an overflow leat which controlled
fluctuations in water flow and prevented flooding. The tradition of
constructing and using fishponds began during the medieval period and they
were largely built by the wealthier members of society. Most fishponds fell
out of use during the post-medieval period. Despite being relatively common,
fishponds are important for their associations with other classes of medieval
monument and in providing evidence of site economy.
Woodland has been managed since at least the fourth millennium BC in order to
produce timber and smaller wood for fencing, wattlework and fuel, including
charcoal. However, it is only for more recent periods that evidence for
woodland management survives in the woods themselves, generally in the form of
wood boundaries and features relating to wood crafts. Ancient wood boundaries
(pre AD 1700) are either sinous or zig-zagged and are usually in the form of a
bank with an outer ditch which was traditionally set with a hedge to keep out
livestock and pollarded trees to define the legal boundary. During the
post-medieval period the introduction of forestry plantations, the decline in
the demand for coppiced wood and the widespread introduction of coal for
household and manufacturing use have all led to a reduction in the demand for
woodland products and since 1945 there has been a dramatic rise in the
destrucion of old woodland due to increased competition for land.
Despite some damage to the monument sustained during military training
exercises, Eastfield Sike medieval moated site, associated fishpond and
medieval woodland boundary banks and ditches at Burtergill Wood and Kiln Hill
survive reasonably well. The moat and fishpond are good examples of these
classes of monument and the moated platform contains buried remains of the
medieval structures which occupied it. Additionally the monument is a rare
survival in Cumbria of the juxtaposition of a moated site and medieval wood

Source: Historic England


RCHME Survey, Lax, A, Burtergill Wood, Warcop, Cumbria, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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