Moat, fishponds and shifted village earthworks at Ullesthorpe


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010300

Date first listed: 25-Feb-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Jun-1992


Ordnance survey map of Moat, fishponds and shifted village earthworks at Ullesthorpe
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 09:15:27.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Harborough (District Authority)

Parish: Ullesthorpe

National Grid Reference: SP 50166 87333


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

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.

Ullesthorpe moat and fishponds form part of a wider settlement which was deserted as the village either shrank or shifted its focus further northwards. Although part of this settlement has continued in use to the modern day, with consequent disturbance of the earlier remains, earthworks of the earlier settlement include the various house plots and, importantly, the location of a prestigious residence surrounded by a moat and fishponds. Together, the remains of the moat and the shrunken village provide important evidence of the changing patterns of agricultural settlement in the Leicestershire medieval landscape.


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


The site lies south west of the village of Ullesthorpe 4km north west of Lutterworth. The moat comprises a prominent rectangular island measuring approximately 25 x 12m, containing exposed stonework of manorial building foundations, and has a ditch 12-18m wide and 2-2.5m deep on the north, south and east sides. This opens out to form a fishpond 25m wide on the west side, which extends a further 60m to the north and curves around to the east almost enclosing a second island. The whole system is fed by a channel from the north leading to a stream which originally flowed through the site. South of this is a further large fishpond measuring 90 x 55m which contains islands. Below this a channel leads to a prominent water course, 1m deep and 10m wide, which returns to the present stream and has several adjoining house platforms on either side of about 0.5m in height.

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: 17038

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing