Ancient Monuments

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Moated site, two fishponds and associated earthworks at Knight House Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Cudworth, Somerset

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Latitude: 50.8933 / 50°53'35"N

Longitude: -2.8932 / 2°53'35"W

OS Eastings: 337272.961911

OS Northings: 110798.355656

OS Grid: ST372107

Mapcode National: GBR MB.S0TD

Mapcode Global: FRA 46TR.4N6

Entry Name: Moated site, two fishponds and associated earthworks at Knight House Farm

Scheduled Date: 18 October 1976

Last Amended: 15 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018635

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32157

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Cudworth

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Church of England Parish: Cudworth

Church of England Diocese: Bath and Wells


The monument includes a medieval moated site, two fishponds and associated
earthworks at Knight House Farm, south of St Michael's Church, Cudworth. The
site is situated on low lying ground to the west of Wall Brook in an area of
undulating hills and coombes rising steeply to the south and declining
gradually to the north towards Ilminster.
The moated site is on the east side of the monument, south of the church, and
includes a sub-circular central platform 50m across elevated above the
surrounding ground level. It is enclosed by a moat with an average depth of
5.5m and an average width of 5m across the base and an external bank on the
west, south and south east sides rising to 5m above the base of the moat. The
bank on the north has been truncated by the hedge which encloses part of the
churchyard, and on the east by a field boundary hedge. There are no
indications that the earthworks at the moated site extend beyond these
boundaries. A 4m wide causeway near the north west corner of the moat is
probably an original entrance.
Matthew de Esse held this manor in 1303 and it has been recorded that in 1333
a licence was granted for an oratory within his widow's house which
documentary evidence suggests was located south of the present church in the
area of the moated site, although this has no visible surviving features.
Also included in the monument and probably contemporary with the moated site,
are two rectangular fishponds, aligned north to south. The more substantial
fishpond is located south of the smaller one and west of the moat. It appears
as a depression 52m long and by 38m wide and is up to 5m deep below a
surrounding bank which survives up to 10m wide on the east and up to 16m wide
on the north where a break in the bank links it to the bank on the south west
corner of the smaller fishpond. Subsidiary earthworks survive adjacent to the
south and east bank of the larger fishpond which may represent part of the
original water management system. The second fishpond is 13m wide, 56m long,
and survives as a depression up to 1m deep. The remains of the east bank have
been incorporated into the hedge which encloses the churchyard.
All fence posts and water troughs 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 at Knight House Farm is one of relatively few recorded
examples in south west England. It also possesses contemporary document
records giving details of the site's occupation and use. Together with the two
fishponds and associated subsidiary linear earthworks, the moated site
survives well and will provide archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating both to the monument and the landscape in which it was

Source: Historic England

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