Moated grange with fishpond at Muston


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009175

Date first listed: 05-Mar-1993


Ordnance survey map of Moated grange with fishpond at Muston
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Melton (District Authority)

Parish: Bottesford

National Grid Reference: SK 82693 38010


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution. This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers (secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms, bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange. Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands. On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological survival are identified as nationally important.

The moated grange at Muston contains substantial earthworks and has well documented connections with the distant priory of Olveston near Bristol.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The large moated grange site containing an internal fishpond lies on the western bank of the River Devon, 150m north-west of Muston church. The moated area is subrectangular, the longest dimension measuring 200m and lying on a north-west, south-east axis. The moated boundaries of the site are straight, with the exception of the north-eastern side which follows the course of the river defining the maximum width of the site as 125m. There is an external bank on the north-east side which follows the river. Its original dimensions are difficult to determine because of river dredging and disturbance. An internal bank exists on the northern half of the site and is approximately 0.5m in height. The moat arms are on average 12-15m wide and 1.5-2m deep, with the exception of the southern part of the western side which narrows to 10m and is only 1m deep. A house platform 20m square and 0.5m in height is situated near the centre of the moated area. A faint trace of a hollow trackway exists leading from the platform to the moat on the eastern side, suggesting an original access point. Traces of further building platforms exist in the southern half of the site but are difficult to define. Midway along the western side of the site is an `L' shaped fishpond 1.5m deep, the arms of which measure 35m x 15m. The manor of Muston was part of Olveston Priory near Bristol, the moated area being the grange farm. The site at Muston has similarities to grange sites in the parishes of Owston and Melton Mowbray in north-east Leicestershire.

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: 17041

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-West Leicestershire, (1987)

End of official listing