Shifted medieval village earthworks and moat at Easthorpe


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009195

Date first listed: 05-Mar-1993


Ordnance survey map of Shifted medieval village earthworks and moat at Easthorpe
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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 81112 38675


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

Reasons for Designation

The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets, paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant component of the rural landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages provided some services to the local community and acted as the main focal point of ecclesiastical, and often of manorial, administration within each parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were abandoned throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. As a result over 2000 deserted medieval villages are recorded nationally. The reasons for desertion were varied but often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land use such as enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their abandonment these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Because they are a common and long-lived monument type in most parts of England, they provide important information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy between the regions and through time.

Also sometimes associated with shifted or shrunken settlements are prestigious residences surrounded by moats. These sites 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 settlement at Easthorpe includes village earthworks and a high status manorial site. Although part of this settlement has continued in use to the present day, with consequent disturbance to the earlier remains, an extensive complex of village closes and the moat survive in good condition. Together these will retain considerable archaeological potential for understanding development and change in medieval rural village settlements.


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


Shifted medieval village earthworks are located at Easthorpe on the south side of the village of Bottesford, with an associated moated site adjoining on the western side. The earthworks are located on the east side of the present village of Bottesford and lie within a rectangular parcel of land measuring approximately 275m by 250m. The village remains are identifiable as a series of house plots, gardens and closes subdivided by a network of ditches. The whole monument is bounded on the south side by the Manor Road and on the east side by drainage ditches and the River Devon. On the north-west side the cross- cutting of ditches indicates at least two separate phases of construction. On the west side the earthworks are preserved as far as the houses which face Easthorpe Road. The moat occurs in the south-western corner of the monument. It is circular with a diameter of 130m and is partly bounded by the main road which respects the western edge of the moat. The moat ditch is up to 10m wide and 1.5m deep and is infilled on the east side. Two entrances on the north and south sides are considered to be original access points. Manor Farm house occupies the southern area of the moat and, just to the west of this, foundations of an earlier building have been recorded. A prominent house platform with a pronounced hollow, measuring 15m by 12m, is situated to the west of Manor Farm house. There is also evidence of low earthworks in the northern half of the island. Excluded from the scheduling are the standing buildings of Manor Farm and metalled trackways on the moat island but the ground beneath all these features 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: 17043

Legacy System: RSM


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

End of official listing