Moat, cockpit and enclosure immediately south west of Manor Farm.
Reasons for Designation
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. Cockpits are the arenas in which cockfighting took place. The sport was a popular pastime at all levels of society during the 17th and 18th centuries, and examples of cockpits have been recorded from the 12th century until the sport was declared illegal in 1849. Betting on the outcome of a contest provided the impetus to construct specialised buildings for the sport, usually in the cellars or gardens of public houses, or in the gardens of the local aristocracy. After the activity was banned, major cockpits appeared in remote locations away from the eyes of the law. The arena takes the form of a circular hollow, or a raised bank of raked seating or standing room, usually about 30m in diameter, with a sunken floor and a table in the centre. The arena was often temporary, but permanent examples survive with the raised banks and even the tables in the cases where these were made of stone. As garden features they continued in use as convenient picnic areas. There was often a wooden or stone-built circular tower raised on the banks within which there were galleries for the spectators. These were roofed against the weather. Cockpits were originally common features both in towns and in the countryside. Relatively few were constructed from enduring materials and the few well-preserved examples that survive intact are very important survivals. The moat, cockpit and enclosure immediately south west of Manor Farm survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, function, longevity, social significance, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 December 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes a moat, cockpit and enclosure situated in the valley to the south west of the settlement of Stourpaine at the confluence of the Rivers Iwerne and Stour. The moat survives as a rectangular level platform with a peripheral bank measuring 7m wide and 1.8m high surrounded by a partially in-filled ditch up to 7m wide and 3m deep with a length of external bank on the western side. The cockpit lies immediately south of the moat and survives as an oval enclosure defined by a bank of 7m wide and 0.5 high with an outer ditch measuring 6m wide and 0.3m deep. Adjoining the south eastern corner of the moat and surrounding the cockpit is a rectangular enclosure defined to the east by a low spread bank, to the south by a bank and outer ditch and to the west by a slight scarp which peters out as a visible earthwork towards the north. Possible building platforms within the outer enclosure have been interpreted as deserted dwellings and moat may have been the site of an abandoned manor house. The north eastern corner of the moat contains a track.