Essendine Castle moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010693

Date first listed: 16-Apr-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Sep-1991


Ordnance survey map of Essendine Castle moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Rutland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Essendine

National Grid Reference: TF 04932 12839


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.

Essendine Castle moated manorial site is one of the most impressive of its kind in Leicestershire, with its exceptionally large ditches and pronounced inner banks indicating the defensive nature of the site. The position of the Norman church in the adjacent enclosure is also an unusual feature and indicates the high status of this manorial site.


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


Essendine Castle is a large fortified manor site with a fishpond and an ajoining enclosure containing a church. A further set of fishponds originally lay to the south of this, but were destroyed in the last fifty years. The moat is very large, the outer dimensions being about 100m square. The ditch is 30m wide on the western side, up to 40m on the north, and 3-4m deep. The moat island occupies an area of 55m x 50m. The adjoining fishpond, of roughly triangular shape, measures about 60 x 30m in maximum dimension, and has a break in the bank connecting it to the moat ditch where some stonework is showing. A substantial stream called the West Glen River flows from north to south on the eastern side of the site which is bounded by an earth bank. The outer enclosure to the south side is rectangular, measuring 120 x 50m in overall dimension and has access via a bridge. The church is of Norman origin. Historical records indicate that the medieval complex was probably built by the Busseys or Robert de Vipont at the end of the 12th or early 13th centuries. It is described in an account of 1417. The strong defensive nature of the site, and its similarities to Woodhead Castle 5km to the east, suggest a variation on a ringwork. St.Mary's Church is a listed building grade II* and is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath the church is included. The modern burial area to the south of the church is totally excluded.

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: 17012

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Rutland, (1911), 250
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of Rutland, (1983), 15/18

End of official listing