Medieval moated site, fishponds and associated field system 125m south of Eldmire Cottage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015419

Date first listed: 14-Feb-1997


Ordnance survey map of Medieval moated site, fishponds and associated field system 125m south of Eldmire Cottage
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Hambleton (District Authority)

Parish: Eldmire with Crakehill

National Grid Reference: SE 42185 74649


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.

Medieval moated sites were often at the centre of a wider agricultural and economic unit. This wider complex may have had a range of associated agricultural buildings located adjacent to the moat itself. These buildings would have included stables, stores, workshops, dovecots and sometimes accommodation for staff and workers. Moated sites are also often found in association with remains of agricultural features such as fishponds and field systems. Fishponds were an artificial pool of slow moving water constructed to cultivate, breed and store fish to provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. They were maintained by a water management system which included inlet and outlet channels carrying water from a river or stream, a system of sluices and an overflow leat to prevent flooding. The most common form of field system of the medieval period was known as ridge and furrow. This took the form of parallel rounded ridges separated by furrows and which provided rich well drained land for planting crops. Over large areas the system tended to adopt a characteristic `s' shape to accommodate the turning circle of a plough team. In small areas where use of a plough team was impractical ridge and furrow would be dug by hand. Although still common in some areas of central and southern England remains of ridge and furrow are becoming rare in the north of England. The moated site at Eldmire survives well and significant archaeological remains will be preserved within the moat and central platform. Remains of the wider medieval complex including the associated field system also survive. The monument offers important scope for the study of the development of domestic and agricultural arrangements through the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a moated site with attached fishponds, adjacent earthworks and remains of ridge and furrow field systems. The monument is situated partly on a river cliff overlooking the River Swale. The moated site occupies the base of the cliff while the adjacent earthworks occupy the rising ground to the north and west. The ridge and furrow lies in the field to the east of the moat. The moated site is visible as a rectangular ditch up to 10m wide enclosing a raised platform measuring 50m by 30m. Two elongated fishponds 30m long lie to the west of the moated site and are linked to the west side of the ditch. There also linear earthworks, small terraces and building platforms to the north and west of the moat. One rectangular earthwork, on the crest of the river cliff, contains a circular earthwork which may have been a base for a small windmill. These further earthworks represent the remains of ancillary buildings associated with the agricultural and economic functions of the moated site. To the east of the moat there are three different alignments of ridge and furrow which cover the north and east sections of the field. The different sections are separated by baulks and headlands. The village of Eldmire was first recorded in 1301 and again in 1327. A chantry chapel was established adjacent to the monument in 1338, although no remains of this building are known to survive. All fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath 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: 28292

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Le Paturel, J, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire: Monograph Series No. 5, (1973), 14,118
AJC 097/5/6/7, (1977)

End of official listing