Moated site at New Parks, Leicester


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at New Parks, Leicester
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

City of Leicester (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SK 55283 05895

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.

New Parks is the only well-documented example of its kind known to survive in Leicestershire. Evidence of a substantial building is contained within the island and, although largely infilled, the moat arms and the fishpond retain potential for the preservation of organic remains.


The moated site, known locally as `Birds Nest Lodge', is situated on the New Parks housing estate on the west side of Leicester. The rectangular moat, measuring 100 x 80m, was largely filled in in the 1940's. The moat survives as a very shallow ditch on the northern arm, 10m wide and less than 0.5m deep, and a crop mark for the remaining arms. The island has an uneven surface marking the foundations of a lodge known from documents to have occupied the site. Fifteen metres to the east of the moat, earthwork banks of about 0.5m high and 30m long represent a fishpond associated with the moated area. The site at Birds Nest was a lodge of Leicester Forest, later to become the `New Parks' in the 16th century. First mention of the lodge is in 1362. Shortly after this it was rebuilt with a moat in 1378. A 1526 reference records scouring the moat, and the construction of a drawbridge. In the same century, there is also a detailed description of the lodge building.

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:
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Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of Central Leicestershire, (1989), 49-52
Liddle, P, Leicestershire Archaeology: The Present State of Knowledge, (1982), 36-7


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

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