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Moated site and fishponds immediately west of Park Villas

A Scheduled Monument in Cranworth, Norfolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6193 / 52°37'9"N

Longitude: 0.9046 / 0°54'16"E

OS Eastings: 596719.658131

OS Northings: 306356.222321

OS Grid: TF967063

Mapcode National: GBR SC8.MKJ

Mapcode Global: WHLS9.VFY9

Entry Name: Moated site and fishponds immediately west of Park Villas

Scheduled Date: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020338

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35059

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Cranworth

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Cranworth with Letton and Southburgh

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

Details

The monument includes a medieval moated site and fishponds located immediately
west of Park Villas. The moat lies close to the northern edge of the former
parish of Letton, now part of Cranworth. In 1086 there were three separate
land holdings in Letton in the possession of William de Schohies, William of
Warenne and Hermer of Ferrers. The land holdings were further subdivided in
the 12th century producing a complex pattern of land ownership.

The moated platform or island is rectangular in plan, measuring 100m north
west - south east by 65m and is raised about 0.5m above the surrounding ground
level. A sub-rectangular fishpond is located on the island, adjacent and
parallel to the north eastern arm of the moat. The partly water-filled
fishpond measures approximately 40m by 8m and 1m deep. Situated at the south
east end of the pond are two shallow depressions on the same alignment, each
measuring about 8m in length. The depressions mark further parts of the
fishpond system, depicted on early Ordnance Survey maps, and these will
survive as buried features. The ponds are separated from the north east moat
arm by a bank 3m in width and standing approximately 0.5m high.

The moat enclosing the island measures up to 10m in width and is visible as
water-filled arms, at least 2m deep, on the north west and north east sides of
the island. The north eastern arm formerly extended beyond the north corner of
the moat. This extension, also shown on early Ordnance Survey maps, measures
approximately 10m in length and will survive as a buried feature. The south
western arm of the moat is marked by a linear hollow, measuring up to 1m deep,
which is partly infilled at the southern end. The south eastern arm of the
moat is visible as a linear depression, about 8m wide and 0.4m deep. The
infilled portions of the moat will survive as buried features.

All fence 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.

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 food supply. Groups of up to twelve ponds
variously arranged in a single line or in a cluster joined by leats have been
recorded. The ponds may be of the same size or of several different sizes with
each pond being stocked with different species or ages of fish. Fishponds were
maintained by a water management system which included inlet and outlet
channels. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds in England began
during the medieval period and peaked in the 12th century. They were largely
built by the wealthier sectors of society.

The moated site and fishponds immediately west of Park Villas survive well as
a series of earthwork and buried deposits and will retain valuable
archaeological information concerning the occupation of the site in the
medieval period. Deposits in the water-filled moat and fishpond will preserve
organic remains (such as timber, leather and seeds) which will give an insight
into domestic and economic activity on the site and the local environment in
the past. In addition deposits sealed beneath the artificially raised ground
of the island will contain evidence of the land use prior to construction of
the moat.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Davison, A, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in Six Deserted Villages in Norfolk, , Vol. 44, (1988), 38-47

Source: Historic England

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