Ancient Monuments

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Moated site and fishponds 300m north east of Snitterton Hall

A Scheduled Monument in South Darley, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.1413 / 53°8'28"N

Longitude: -1.5831 / 1°34'59"W

OS Eastings: 427985.860035

OS Northings: 360544.88875

OS Grid: SK279605

Mapcode National: GBR 58W.2KX

Mapcode Global: WHCDN.N9CM

Entry Name: Moated site and fishponds 300m north east of Snitterton Hall

Scheduled Date: 26 January 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019529

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29974

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: South Darley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: South Darley St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a moated site and
fishponds situated on the north side of the small hamlet of Snitterton. The
monument is situated at approximately 100m above sea level on the south
eastern edge of the Peak District National Park. At this point the limestone
plateau of the Peak District dips beneath Yoredale Shales and Millstone Grits.

Snitterton is first mentioned in the Domesday Book where it is recorded that
`Sinitretone', as it was then known, was one of several berewicks belonging to
Matlock Bridge. A berewick was a settlement which was physically separate from
the village where the lord lived but still governed as part of the manorial
estate. The manor of Snitterton belonged to the royal manor of Matlock Bridge
but the de Snitterton family assumed the lordship of the manor from at least
the Norman Conquest. Late 13th century documents record that Jordan de
Snitterton held a house or group of houses with attached demesne land (the
demesne is the lords' home farm as distinct from the land of sub-tenancies)
within Snitterton Manor. It is believed the moated platform was the site of
these buildings.

The monument survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains. The moat,
which is approximately 10m wide and up to 1.5m deep, surrounds a roughly
square, central, platform. A break in the southern arm of the ditch indicates
the site of a causeway which would have provided access to the interior of the
platform. The eastern arm of the ditch has been infilled, probably during the
construction of the adjacent turnpike road in 1759.

The enclosed platform measures approximately 50m by 50m and retains evidence
of features on its internal surface. These take the form of low banks and are
interpreted as the buried remains of walls. The walls which stand to a height
of up to 0.5m are thought to represent the site of medieval buildings.

Extending at right angles from the western arm of the moat are two sunken
compartments defined by a series of low, linear banks. The compartments are
roughly rectangular in shape with slightly rounded, western, ends. They
measure approximately 35m long, between 16m and 10m wide and survive to a
depth of up to 0.75m. The two compartments, which are interpreted as
fishponds, lie parallel to each other and are divided by a single bank. A
shallow gully at the western end of the dividing bank links the two ponds. A
break in the surrounding bank in the north west corner of the ponds may mark
the position of a second gully but there is no evidence of this continuing
beyond the edge of the ponds.

All modern fences are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath
them 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.

Fishponds were constructed largely by the wealthy sectors of society with
monastic institutions and royal residences often having large and complex
examples. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds in England began
during the medieval period and peaked in the 12th century. They were
constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to
provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. The difficulties in
obtaining fresh meat in the winter and the value placed on fish in terms of
its protein content and as a status food may have been factors which favoured
the development of fishponds and which made them so valuable.

The moated site and fishponds 300m north east of Snitterton Hall are
particularly well preserved and will retain important archaeological and
environmental evidence in the deep basal silts of the moat, the ponds and
beneath the surrounding banks. The platform will also retain important
information relating to the structure and use of the buildings. Taken as a
whole the moat and fishponds will add to our knowledge and understanding of
the development and working of medieval manorial centres in the area and the
position they held in the wider landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500, (1981), 128-129
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Derbyshire, (1905), 330
Parker, R, The Manor House sites of Snitterton: Lead, Land and the Gentry.., (1991), 1-40

Source: Historic England

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