Moated site with fishpond and flood banks at Long Whatton


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Moated site with fishpond and flood banks at Long Whatton
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North West Leicestershire (District Authority)
Long Whatton and Diseworth
National Grid Reference:
SK 47831 23861, SK 47862 23720

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 Long Whatton survives in good condition and is unusual in having surviving flood banks associated with it. Excavations have confirmed that this was an important site with a range of well constructed buildings. Further remains of this complex will survive in the unexcavated parts of the site. Unusually, this site is one of two moated sites located in close proximity to the village.


The site at Long Whatton lies to the north of the village, on the north facing slope of the valley of the Whatton Brook, a tributary of the River Soar. It includes a rectangular moated site, a fishpond and a series of flood banks alongside the Whatton Brook. The monument is divided into two separate constraint areas.

The moated site is situated at the top of the valley and measures 55 x 50m in overall dimensions including the outer banks extant on the eastern and northern sides and measuring 4m wide. The moat ditch is an average of 8m wide and has a very silted appearance, giving a present depth of about 1m. Two channels lead down the slope from the north-east and north-west corners of the moat although their survival is poor and they are not included in the scheduling. The position of the moat is such that in order to retain water in the southern half of the moat, dams were constructed across its central axis. Evidence for these dams can be seen now only on the eastern side where a visible earthwork survives. Excavated evidence confirms that a similar feature existed on the western side. The rectangular fishpond is situated 50m to the north of the moat and lies on the south bank of the Whatton Brook. It measures 60m x 45m including the outer banks which exist on all sides except the eastern and measure up to 1m high. Situated either side of the Whatton Brook are extensive flood banks considered to be contemporary with the moated site and fishpond. On the south bank of the brook the bank runs for 150m and is 5m across and up to 1m high. On the north bank four shorter sections extending for 125m are of similar dimensions.

The moat was partly excavated over a ten year period from 1971 to 1981 at which point half the island had been investigated. A suite of four stone built rooms and a yard were revealed with fragments of stained glass representing a chapel located near what is considered to be a gatehouse. Excavation confirmed the presence of the dams mid-way along the east and western arms of the moat. The pottery sequence ranged mainly from the 13th to the 15th centuries, indicating abandonment in the 15th century. Further earthworks in the field, which do not survive well and are not included in the scheduling, indicate an extensive medieval complex of water channels and enclosures.

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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-West Leicestershire, (1987)
Tarver, A, 'Transactions of the Leicestershire Arch and Historical Society' in Long Whatton Moat, , Vol. 56, (1981)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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