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Medieval moated site and 18th century dovecote, 600m east of Outchester

List Entry Summary

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.

Name: Medieval moated site and 18th century dovecote, 600m east of Outchester

List entry Number: 1014570


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Easington

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 08-Mar-1955

Date of most recent amendment: 01-Aug-1996

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24626

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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.

Dovecotes were constructed for the breeding and management of doves in order to provide a constant and sustainable supply of meat, eggs and manure. As such, the possession of a dovecote was a very valuable asset. They were normally owned by the medieval and post-medieval landowning aristocracy, both lay and secular. The majority of dovecotes fell out of use during the late 18th century when a constant supply of other meat became available throughout the winter period. They provide a valuable insight into medieval economy and a significant number of well preserved examples will be identified as nationally important. Despite ploughing, the moated site east of Outchester can be identified on the ground. Its ditch is clearly visible on aerial photographs on the south and east sides of the monument and survives on the ground as a marked change of slope on the south side. It will retain significant archaeological remains. The absence of medieval pottery in the ploughsoil, compared with the abundance of post-medieval sherds, suggests medieval deposits will also be preserved within the moated site. The presence of the post-medieval dovecote is an indication of the continuity of use of the site. Moated sites are uncommon in Northumberland and this one will contribute to any study of the wider rural settlement pattern at this time.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site and an 18th century dovecote on a slight plateau overlooking the deep valley of the Waren Burn. The moated site is irregular in shape. It was enclosed by a broad ditch the course of which can be traced on the ground as a marked change in slope running east-west along the south edge of the monument for c.90m. The ditch on the south and east sides of the monument is also clearly visible on aerial photographs taken in 1989. A small excavation conducted in 1961 to discover whether the earthwork was the site of the missing village of Outchester was inconclusive but confirmed a medieval date. The Northumberland County History documents a farm on the north and east sides of the monument which was demolished c.1855 and which probably accounts for the mass of post-medieval pottery, glass and tiles in the ploughsoil. Within the moated site is a ruined 18th century dovecote. It comprises a tapering tower standing four storeys high with a conical roof. There is a blocked doorway at ground level. The dovecote is a Grade II listed Building and is included in the scheduling. The fence line of the plantation on the east side of the monument is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Bateson, E, 'Bamburgh' in A History of Northumberland, (1893), 199
Bateson, E, 'Bamburgh' in A History of Northumberland, (1893), 199
Harbottle, B, McCord, N, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in An excavation at Outchester, Northumberland, , Vol. 4 ser 43, (1965), 235-242
Easington parish, Department of the Environment, List of Buildings of Special Architectural/Historical Interest, (1987)
Gates, T, NU 1433 C-G 5558/24-29, (1989)
McCord, N, NU 1433 A-B G026015/33-34, (1962)

National Grid Reference: NU 14706 33467


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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2018 at 01:41:44.

End of official listing