Thorpe in Balne moated site, chapel and fishpond


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


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

Doncaster (Metropolitan Authority)
Thorpe in Balne
National Grid Reference:
SE 59909 11148, SE 59935 11012

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 Thorpe in Balne example was an important medieval manorial site. Its historical associations are documented and it is unusual in having a medieval chapel on site that was used as the parish church of Thorpe in Balne until the loss of its endowment in 1556. Although somewhat disturbed by post-medieval building and activity, substantial remains will survive beneath the modern buildings on the island, and across the whole of the site.


Thorpe in Balne moat consists of a large rectangular island, measuring c.140m east to west and c.120m north to south, and a surrounding moat c.10m wide, largely dry and partly filled in on the south side to provide access to New Marche House and the farmyard. Several fishponds are to be seen on the island, one a linear depression running north to south across the centre of the island which joins, at its northern end, a dry 2m deep fishpond which lies in the NE corner of the site and has a sluice leading into the east arm of the moat. A third fishpond, now filled in, can be seen in the NW corner where the grass varies in colour from that round about, and others may be represented by areas of earthwork and infill in the garden behind the house. Another fishpond, now sliced through by the road, exists to the south of the island and was an extension of the east arm of the moat. To the south of the house, amongst the farm buildings, is the chancel of a twelfth century chapel, the nave of which was demolished in the nineteenth century. The footings of its south wall, with two buttresses, can be seen in the cow byre. The chapel is thought to have been built by Otto de Tilli who was granted the manor of Thorpe in Balne by William Vavasor in the mid twelfth century. The manor later passed through the hands of the Newmarches, the Gascoigns and the Wentworths. The chapel lost its endowment at the time of the Reformation. It is now a Grade II* Listed Building and is also scheduled. All modern buildings, surfaces, structures and fencing, and two telegraph poles and their stays are excluded from the scheduling. All the ground beneath, however, is included. The monument is divided by a modern road into two separate areas.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hunter, J, South Yorkshire , (1831), 218-219
Le Patourel, H E J, Moated site of Yorkshire, (1973), 128
Magilton, J, The Doncaster District, (1977), 74/93-4


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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