Moated site 170m north of Wholsea Farm


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


Ordnance survey map of Moated site 170m north of Wholsea Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
Holme upon Spalding Moor
National Grid Reference:
SE 84150 33719

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 moated site 170m north west of Wholsea Farm, survives in good condition and as the moat island is unencumbered by modern building it will retain evidence of the structures which originally occupied it. The surrounding moat ditches survive well, are undisturbed and will thus retain environmental evidence relating to the period of the monument's construction. The monument is one of a number of moated sites in this part of East Yorkshire, clustering along both the northern and southern sides of the River Humber, which represent a typical form of settlement of low-lying and flood plain land such as this in the medieval period. It is recorded as being a Knights Hospitaller manor of the 12th century, which increases its importance and rarity as a moated site in this area.


The monument includes a moated site 170m north west of Wholsea Farm. The moated site includes a large, slightly irregular, quadrangular raised platform area with dimensions of 105m north-south by 93m east-west, surrounded on its four sides by moat ditches. Overall the site measures 125m north-south by 113m east-west. The `U' shaped moat ditches range from between 8m-12m wide, across their tops, and each are around 1m deep. They are intact on all sides and are surrounded by low exterior banks. Along the western arm, but elsewhere, there is also evidence of interior banks up to 1m in height. Within the raised platform there are the remains of two channels 30m apart, both at a right angle to the main northern moat ditch. The eastern of these channels is up to 10m wide in places, 0.5m deep and 50m long, and is interpreted as the remains of a fishpond. The second, western channel is narrower, being about 5m wide but it too is 50m long, however its southern end is less clearly defined than the eastern channel. These channels may mark an interior division on the moat platform. There are a number of low raised, platform-like areas and other undulations on the moat platform indicative of structural remains associated with the occupation of the moat. An inlet channel is located in the north western corner of site, and is included in the scheduling. The remains of what is thought to be an outlet channel is located at the opposing south eastern corner of the moat, but this is not included in the scheduling owing to the uncertainty of its date and association as a related feature. The remains of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation is visible as crop marks on aerial photographs to the south of the site, but this area is not included in the scheduling. The Wholsea moat is not included in the Domesday survey. It is thought to date to the 12th century AD and to be the site of a Knights Hospitaller manor. All post and wire fencing and gates, animal feed and water dispensers, telegraph poles, and the paved surface to modern access roads are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features 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.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Le Patourel, H.E J, 'Monograph Series No 5' in The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, (1973), 18; 117


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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