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.
The moated site at Barmston Old Hall Farm survives well and is part of a more
extensive complex of medieval remains including the church, fields and
fishponds. The main moated island will retain evidence of the buildings which
formerly occupied it and the waterlogged moat and fishponds provide conditions
suitable for the preservation of organic materials. Taken as a whole, the
complex, will provide important evidence for medieval occupation and land use
in the area.
The monument consists of an extensive complex of medieval remains, including a
moated site, a second smaller moated area, a pond, three fishponds, associated
enclosures which include part of a ridge and furrow field system, and other
earthwork remains. The area also includes a church and churchyard but these
are excluded from the scheduling.
The main moated site lies in the west central part of the monument. The
waterlogged moat is between 15m and 20m wide and up to 2m deep, except for a
30m long section at the northern end of the western arm which has been
in-filled. The enclosed island is sub-rectangular in shape and measures about
100m north-south by 70m east-west. Old Hall, a late 16/17th century house
which is listed grade II*, stands at the centre of the island and will have
replaced earlier buildings since the site is known to have been occupied from
at least the mid-13th century. Access to the enclosed island is provided by a
brick and stone bridge which crosses the northern arm of the moat.
To the south of the main moated site and defining the southern part of the
monument is a large square enclosure defined by a ditch and bank; the bank is
up to 2m high and 7m wide and the ditch is 2m deep by 6m wide. Much of the
enclosed area was used for agriculture in the medieval period and the
earthwork remains survive of ridge and furrow ploughing. However, in the
north-west corner of the enclosure, immediately to the south of the main
moated site, are two fishponds.
The two fishponds now appear as L-shaped features which lie close together
with the southern pond partly enclosing the northern. The northern and eastern
arms of the northern pond are 7m wide by up to 2m deep and have an overall
length of 140m; there appears to have also been a south-eastern arm which is
now almost entirely in-filled. The southern pond is up to 20m wide by 2m deep
and now has an overall length of some 110m. Silted channels some 6m wide
appear originally to have connected the southern arm of the pond to the ditch
of the surrounding enclosure.
To the north of the southern enclosure and to the east of the main moated
site, continued agricultural use of the land has altered and obscured the
original pattern of boundary ditches although slight traces of ridge and
furrow ploughing are still visible. However, the eastern boundary of the
southern enclosure appears to have extended further north and eventually to
have joined up with the eastern boundary of the monument where it is
well-defined in the north-eastern corner. The northern boundary of the
monument is defined by the ditch which runs alongside the road but the area of
the modern farm buildings is not included within the scheduling since the
extent and survival of remains beneath the buildings is uncertain.
To the north-east of the main moated site, on a ridge of slightly higher
ground, lies the medieval church which is listed grade I and the churchyard of
All Saints. Although an integral part of the medieval complex, the church and
churchyard remain in ecclesiastical use and are therefore totally excluded
from the scheduling.
To the north-east of the churchyard, in the north-east corner of the monument,
lies the second moated area which appears to have been set within a pre-
existing enclosure, so that it now has two sets of ditches on the south and
east sides; the original access to the church appears to have been along the
strip of land between these ditches although the modern access now runs over
the western side of the moated area. The moated area measures 50m north-south
by 40m east-west surrounded by a ditch 4m wide and 0.75m deep.
To the west of this second moated area and to the north of the church is a
square silted pond measuring 38m by 38m and 0.75m deep. The sides of the pond
have been revetted with brick and stone. West of this is a silted up medieval
fishpond measuring 38m by 13m by 1m deep. Further earthworks survive between
this fishpond and the modern farm buildings but are difficult to interpret.
The site at Barmston was occupied from at least the mid 13th century and was
originally part of the Burton Agnes estate. During the 16th century the site
was the main residence of Sir Thomas Boynton, though the estate's principal
house was, and remains, Burton Agnes Hall.
The areas of the modern farm buildings are not included in the area of the
scheduling. The parish church, a grade I listed building and churchyard are
totally excluded from the scheduling. Barmston Old Hall, a grade II* listed
building, and all other buildings within the monument are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.