Moated site, fishponds, formal garden and settlement earthworks east of St Michael's Church


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1011458.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 20-Oct-2021 at 07:37:55.


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

North West Leicestershire (District Authority)
Appleby Magna
National Grid Reference:

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.

The site east of St Michael's Church is an example of a moated site in excellent condition which retains important early buildings intact; the 15th- century gatehouse is unique in the county. The moat island also retains below-ground remains of a manor house. In addition, the monument contains parts of the once more extensive field system and adjoining village remains which illustrate the complex relationships between such moated sites and their associated settlements. The changes in such relationships are demonstrated here by the conversion of part of the settlement site and field system into formal gardens in the early post-medieval period.


The site is situated along the south side of Mawby's Lane within the village of Appleby Magna. It includes a moated site, two fishponds, settlement remains and formal garden earthworks. The site extends for a total of 240m eastwards from St Michael's churchyard wall and is a maximum of 100m north-south. In the centre of this area is the moated site which formerly contained the medieval manor house of the Appleby family and which was the subject of a small excavation in 1960. George Appleby sold the ancestral manor in 1560 and the present half-timbered house, standing adjacent to the medieval house site, was built soon afterwards. Also surviving on the moated island is a 15th-century gatehouse of two stories with a central arch. The gatehouse is now joined to the 16th-century house by a 19th-century passage, forming a single private dwelling (Listed Grade II*). The square water-filled moat surrounding the house, which was fed by a north- flowing stream situated on its west side, measures 60m x 60m. The central sector of the west arm of the moat is infilled to form a modern causeway on the site of the original access. The moat arms are an average of 12m wide and over 3m deep. To the south of the moated site is a dry fishpond, measuring 10m x 25m and approximately 1.5m deep, which was also fed by the stream. The earthworks of a second horseshoe-shaped pond (now dry) are situated on the west side of the site. The pond originally measured approximately 30m x 50m and 1.5m deep but the eastern part has been modified to form a modern entrance drive. This pond was constructed to provide a head of water for a watermill situated on the platform now occupied by the Post Office (which is not included in the scheduling). To the south of the fishpond is a 16th or 17th-century square plan dovecote which is Listed Grade II. South of this are the slight earthworks representing a tithe barn, the superstructure of which was dismantled in the early 20th century. On the far east side of the site is a small paddock known as the "bull ring" which contains earthworks representing the sites of village houses considered to be contemporary with the moated site. These are the visible remains of the medieval village which extended to the north and has subsequently been built over. A narrow hollow way, approximately 5m wide, leads off from this area to the south. Vestiges of medieval ridge and furrow ploughing are situated between the hollow way and the moat to the west with a headland bank, which has a maximum height of 1m, lying parallel to the hollow way. This is the only surviving part of the field system which has been modified by modern development to the south. Later occupation of the site is represented by an area of 16th or 17th-century formal gardens, set into medieval ridge and furrow ploughing, to the east of the moat. The area measures 50m x 60m overall and consists of a series of low banks dividing the area into four parts. Excluded from the scheduling are the gatehouse and adjoining house on the moat island which are Listed Grade II*, the dovecote, Listed Grade II, all modern buildings and hard surfaces 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-West Leicestershire, (1984)
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, (1984)
The Landowner,


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].