Moated site and deserted medieval village at Old Ingarsby


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009236

Date first listed: 27-Jun-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Jan-1993


Ordnance survey map of Moated site and deserted medieval village at Old Ingarsby
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Harborough (District Authority)

Parish: Hungarton

National Grid Reference: SK 68422 05188, SK 68433 04756, SK 68547 05069


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 deserted settlements are moated sites which often served as prestigious manorial residences and had associated systems of fishponds. Such moated sites form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. In rare cases a moated site would be purchased by an abbey and thereafter become a grange site.

The village earthworks at Ingarsby are exceptionally well preserved with a wide diversity of features and good documentation with the rare mention of the construction of a pond. Ingarsby is also interesting as being the site of a moated manor that was subsequently purchased by an abbey. Religious ownership provides a date of village desertion and important documentation for a site that was the richest possession of Leicester Abbey in the county.


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


The monument at Ingarsby is located about 6km east of the city of Leicester. The majority of the site is situated on a west facing slope and lies on both sides of the Houghton to Hungarton road. It includes a deserted medieval village site with a large manorial moat to the north, which was later purchased by Leicester Abbey to become an extensive grange, and a large pond south-west of the moat with a smaller fishpond south of the village. The monument is divided into three separate areas.

The village earthworks are well defined, occupying a roughly rectangular area measuring 400m x 250m and clearly showing many features of medieval rural settlement. Running down the slope to a stream and following the line of a footpath leading to Billesdon Coplow and Tilton is the hollow of the main street. Many side lanes lead off from this with well spaced house platforms and spaces for adjoining gardens and orchards. A large bank and ditch over 3m deep and 10m wide forms the southern boundary of the village between the road and a stream. Beyond the boundary bank and ditch is a small fishpond approximately 50m x 10m situated beside the stream.

To the north of the village earthworks are the north, west and southern arms of a moated site defining an area with maximum dimensions of approximately 150m square. The moat has an outer bank measuring up to 1.5m high, and is an average of 8-10m wide and 2m deep, with the exception of a section of the northern arm which is up to 20m wide and 3m deep. Enclosed by the moat are some surviving grange buildings incorporated into Tudor and later structures. Earthworks on the eastern side of the moat show an extension of the northern arm and outer bank of the moat for 50m which then turns southward, at which point a large outer mound adjoins the corner. The southward ditch continues, but ceased to function as part of the moat at this point due to an uphill gradient, and represents stock enclosures together with a further ditch crossing it at right angles further up the slope. Some 50m to the east is an outer boundary bank running north-south dropping down 1.5m on the far side. At the southern end of this and connecting with the village earthworks, is a large hollow way up to 12m wide which is embanked on the northern side. To the south-west of the moat is a large pond, identified as a millpond, lying alongside the stream and measuring 200m x 80m. It was formed by damming the end of the valley with a bank up to 2m high, building a bank alongside the stream 1.5m high and digging a scarp to a depth of 3m to form the eastern side of the pond. A hollow way running up the slope links the pond with the moated area.

Ingarsby is first mentioned in Domesday Book and by 1381 contained a dozen families. The majority of the manor, at that time owned by the Daungervills, was granted to Leicester Abbey in 1352, with the remainder purchased by the middle of the following century. The large millpond was also constructed by the abbey at the time of the original grant. Village desertion occurred in 1469 when the abbey enclosed the whole of the land and converted most of it to sheep and cattle pastures. It was by far the most valuable grange property in Leicestershire when it was sold at the Reformation in 1540. A watermill, also mentioned in Domesday Book, the site of which is not known, still existed by 1599.

All buildings, including Ingarsby Old Hall which is Listed Grade II*, modern yards, road surfaces and other above ground modern features on the moat island are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 17069

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hoskins, WG, Essays in Leicestershire History, (1950)

End of official listing