Moated fishpond complex with moat, fishstews, seven fishponds with sluices, ridge and furrow and a leat
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Newark and Sherwood (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
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 fishponds at Egmanton are a well-preserved example and illustrate well the diversity of form and function of this class of monument. The associated leat and ridge and furrow survive equally well, the latter being a particularly rare survival in Nottinghamshire.
The monument includes a group of seven fishponds with sluices, a line of
smaller filled-in fishstews, the moat which encloses four of the fishponds and
the line of fishstews, a leat and an area of ridge and furrow.
The moat consists of a rectangular island surrounded by a ditch averaging 9m
wide by 3m deep and enclosed, in turn, by a 5m wide revetment bank. To
compensate for the slope of the surrounding land, the height of the revetment
bank increases from less than 0.5m on the north side to 1m on the south side.
On the north side, a levelled area approximately halfway along indicates a
likely bridging point onto the island where there is a corresponding
depression. On the west side, the bank has been disturbed by modern ploughing
so that its state of preservation is not fully understood. For this reason
this bank has been excluded from the scheduling on this side.
The island measures 92m from west to east by 56m from north to south and is
the site of three rectangular fishponds. The easternmost is orientated north
to south and is set 10m in from the edge of the island on the north and east
sides, and 6m in on the south side. It measures 12m by 39m, and a channel
representing a sluice to control the movement of water and fish runs into the
east arm of the ditch from a point 15m up from the south-east corner of the
pond. To the east of the fishpond, against the edge of the island, is a line
of faint rectangular depressions which have been interpreted as a group of
fishstews, each measuring c.7m by 5m. Fishstews are small ponds used for
spawning and care of fry. The second and third fishponds lie 10m to the west
of the first and are both 41m long by 10m wide and orientated west to east.
The southernmost lies 6m in from the south edge of the island and is connected
to the south arm of the moat by a sluice which runs from its south-east
corner. The northernmost lies 10m in from the north side and both are c.20m
from the west side. A 2m wide channel extends from the south-west corner of
the northern fishpond towards the south-west corner of the island. Here it
widens into a fourth partially filled-in fishpond measuring c.10m square. The
west side of this fourth pond connects directly with the moat and would have
been the site of wooden sluice gates. Each of the rectangular fishponds is
In addition to the four fishponds on the island, there are three on the
outside of the moat. The largest lies off the south-east corner of the moat,
connected to it via a sluice which runs through the south arm of the revetment
bank, angling slightly westward. This pond is c.1m deep and measures 33m from
north to south by 11m from east to west. It is enclosed by a 3m wide bank
which stands c.0.5m high. Another sluice runs off the north-west corner of
the pond, just south of its junction with the bank round the moat. This
additional sluice indicates that another fishpond lay to the west, and this is
supported by the fact that the revetment bank round the south side of the moat
stops 10m short of the south-west corner where the moat formerly fed into this
other pond. This pond may have gone out of use at an earlier date than the
rest of the complex since the area it occupied now contains the earthwork
remains of ridge and furrow ploughing. A corresponding but less pronounced
break in the revetment bank lies at the north-west corner of the moat. To the
north of it can be seen a shallow rectangular depression representing another
fishpond measuring 12m from east to west by 6m north to south.
The stream which originally fed the moat now runs from west to east c.10m
north of this last fishpond. The two would originally have connected, and a
faint depression leading north from the fishpond may be the old line of the
stream though it is now filled-in. Leading from the east arm of the moat, 50m
south of the north-east corner, is a distinct 2m wide watercourse or leat
which can be traced as far as the eastern field boundary as a deeper
depression in the surrounding ridge and furrow. It follows the same
reversed-C curve as the ridge and furrow running east to west on either side
of it, but continues through the revetment bank on the east side of the moat
while the ridge and furrow stops short of the bank on a pronounced headland.
North of the moat, just south of the modern field boundary, another block of
ridge and furrow meets the first at right-angles but cannot be seen north of
the field boundary where it has been ploughed away. To the south of the moat
can be seen a dried-up roughly circular pond. This cuts through the ridge and
furrow and therefore post-dates it. Ridge and furrow cultivation was carried
out throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, and so the surviving
earthworks cannot be precisely dated without evidence from documents or
excavation. However, they were once part of a much wider open-field system
and will be broadly contemporary with the fishponds.
All field boundaries and gates are excluded from the scheduling though the
ground underneath is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire: Volume I, (1906), 312
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