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Moated site, fishponds and ridge and furrow cultivation remains, 260m south west of Betton Alkmere

A Scheduled Monument in Berrington, Shropshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6767 / 52°40'36"N

Longitude: -2.7334 / 2°44'0"W

OS Eastings: 350512.818971

OS Northings: 309033.372725

OS Grid: SJ505090

Mapcode National: GBR BK.4FRB

Mapcode Global: WH8BT.ZZKB

Entry Name: Moated site, fishponds and ridge and furrow cultivation remains, 260m south west of Betton Alkmere

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019646

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33822

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Berrington

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Berrington with Betton Strange

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated
site, fishponds and an area of ridge and furrow cultivation. The moated site
is situated on high ground, the north eastern side of which lies within the
tail of a natural gully which continues in a north westerly direction.

The earliest large scale Ordnance Survey map, published in 1882, shows a
water-filled moat with its north eastern arm extended by about 30m to the
south east to form an enlarged reservoir, which probably served as a fishpond.
The moat and its extended arm are now dry. The western and north eastern moat
arms, including the extension, were largely infilled in about 1940, but
survive as buried features. The moat defines a sub-rectangular island,
approximately 28m south west-north east by 32m north west-south east (maximum
dimensions). The arms of the moat are between 8m and 10m wide. Material
excavated from the moat has been used to raise the surface of the island on
its western and north eastern sides by up to 1m above the level of the
surrounding land.

To the south of the extended moat arm is another fishpond. It is rectangular
in plan, 8.5m wide and approximately 44m long. Material excavated during its
construction has been used to raise the level of the surrounding ground to the
north and east in order to form a dam. A narrow channel cuts through the
northern part of the dam and connects this pond to the moat arm extension to
the north. The pond has been largely drained, although it still retains some
water.

To the north east of the moated site are the remains of broad cultivation
strips (ridge and furrow) orientated south west-north east, defined on the
western side by a former field boundary ditch, which is similarly aligned. A
50m by 90m sample of the ridge and furrow cultivation remains, which formed
part of a medieval open field system, and the associated former field
boundary, are included in the scheduling to preserve the relationship between
these features and the moated site and the adjacent fishponds.

All fence and gate posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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, fishponds and cultivation remains 260m south west of Betton
Alkmere are a good example of this class of monument, despite some
modification to the moat during the 20th century. 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 within the moat will provide information about changes to the
local environment and the use of the land before and after the moated site was
constructed.

Fishponds were constructed throughout the medieval period, with many dating to
the 12th century, and were used for breeding and storing fish in order to
provide a sustainable supply of food. The direct association between the
fishponds and the moated site provides additional evidence about the economy
and lifestyle of the occupants of the site during the medieval period.
The relationship between the moated site and the ridge and furrow cultivation
remains also demonstates the nature of agricultural practices and landholding
patterns in the area following the establishment of the moated site.

Source: Historic England

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