Ancient Monuments

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Moated site, prospect mound and fishponds adjacent to Isle Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Bicton, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.7452 / 52°44'42"N

Longitude: -2.8049 / 2°48'17"W

OS Eastings: 345762.156218

OS Northings: 316705.876752

OS Grid: SJ457167

Mapcode National: GBR BG.0251

Mapcode Global: WH8BL.W8J8

Entry Name: Moated site, prospect mound and fishponds adjacent to Isle Farm

Scheduled Date: 18 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019301

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33816

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Bicton

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Bicton Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated
site, a prospect mound and fishponds to the south east of Isle Farm.
The moated site is considered to be the manorial centre of Rossall, which was
held by Vivian de Rossall (Rosshall) in the early 13th century. The manor was
held by the Rossalls until the early 15th century, when it passed to the
Englefield family. A survey of the manor by John Lovell for Francis Englefield
in 1587 records that the moated manor site was used as an orchard by this date
and that no buildings remained standing. This survey also notes the presence
of a former chapel in Chapel Field to the south of the moated site.
Documentary sources list the incumbents from the 13th century until the 15th
century. It has been alleged that the chapel was burnt down during the
Reformation. Its position is approximately marked on the earliest large scale
Ordnance Survey map of 1881 as being adjacent to the south west corner of the
moated site. There are no visible indications of this building since the area
has been heavily disturbed by tree planting. The chapel site is not therefore
included in the scheduling as its exact location and form are not known.
The moated site was built on western side of the neck of a large meander of
the River Severn. It is situated on level ground next to the very steep slope
cut by the river. The rectangular moated island, which measures approximately
60m north-south and 70m east-west, is defined on its western side by the steep
slope and on the other sides by a moat, now dry, consisting of three arms
between 9m and 15m wide. Water within the moat would have been held by dams
constructed at the western ends of the north and south arms. Of these two dams
the one crossing the northern arm is still visible as an earthwork. Material
excavated from the moat has been used to raise the surface of the island by
about 0.5m above the level of the surrounding ground. Material from the moat
has also been deposited along the inner edge of the northern moat arm creating
a bank about 10m wide and up to 1m high. Access onto the island was by means
of a causeway, 3m wide, which crosses the eastern arm. In 1959 the moat was
partially recut and the remains of a curtain or retaining wall was found.
Dressed sandstone blocks, some of which are moulded, found at this time have
been deposited next to the western end of the internal bank.
In the south eastern corner of the moated island there is a circular earthen
mound, 1.5m high. It is approximately 12m in diameter at its base and has a
flat top, 6m across. Stone steps have been inserted into the southern part of
the mound. It is shown on an early 18th century estate map and is considered
to be a prospect mound on which a summerhouse was built. This feature is
probably contemporary with the nearby house known as The Isle, a late 17th
century structure that was substantially altered in the mid-18th century.
To the east of the moated site are the remains of three fishponds. Two are
long and narrow and are at right angles to one another. The third is
subrectangular and lies opposite the other two. On the early 18th century
estate map all three are shown as water-filled. The elongated pond to the
south still contains water, the others have been drained and are largely
infilled. The size and relationship of these ponds suggest that they were used
for the breeding and storing of fish to provide a sustainable supply of food.
The fishponds are included in the scheduling in order to preserve the
relationship between them and the moated site.
All fences, associated gates and stiles, plus the timber bridge across the
western end of the southern moat arm 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 adjacent to Isle Farm is a well-preserved example of this
class of monument. The moated island will retain buried evidence of the
buildings that once stood on the site, which together with the associated
artefacts and organic remains, will provide valuable evidence about the
occupation and social status of the inhabitants. Organic remains surviving in
the buried ground surface under the raised interior and under the internal
bank, and within the moat, will provide information about the changes to the
local environment and the use of the land before and after the moated site was
Fishponds were constructed throughout the medieval period with many dating to
the 12th century. The direct association of the moated site with these ponds
provides further evidence about the economy and lifestyle of the occupants of
the site during the medieval period.
The importance of the site is further enhanced by its association with the
nearby chapel and the detailed documentary references concerning ownership.
The construction of the prospect mound within the moated site also provides
valuable evidence about the use of the site during the post-medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blakeway, J B, 'History of Shrewsbury Hundred or Liberties' in The Isle, Anciently Up Rossall, (1897), 393-407
Sandford, G, 'Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society' in The Rossalls of Rossall in the Parish of St Chad, Shrewsbury, , Vol. 4, (1881), 89-95
Title: A Map of The Isle of Up-Rossal
Source Date:
Owned by Mr and Mrs Sandford

Source: Historic England

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