Moated site and fishpond 140m south of St Helen's Church


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


Ordnance survey map of Moated site and fishpond 140m south of St Helen's Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Selby (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 65690 38374

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.

A fishpond is an artificially created pool of slow moving freshwater constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing 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, and sluices and overflow leats which controlled fluctuations in the water flow. The moated site at Skipwith survives well and significant archaeological remains will be preserved within the platform and the accumulated silts of the ditches. The site had an integrated water management system using ponds for the exploitation of fish and to regulate the water supply to the moat. Thus the site offers important scope for the study of the economic and domestic arrangements of medieval moated sites and their role in the wider landscape.


The monument includes a moated site visible as a rectangular platform and surrounding ditch with an `L' shaped fishpond attached to the west. The monument lies on a gentle slope south of the village of Skipwith. The moat ditch has a `U' shaped profile, and varies in width from 9.55m in the west to 12.25m in the south. It encloses a central, level platform measuring 46m north to south by 38m east to west. On the northern side there is a 2m wide causeway which links the platform to the surrounding land. The fishpond takes the form of a wide `L'shaped ditch with prominent raised sides along most of its length. The north-south arm is 54m long and increases in width from 5m at the north to 9.5m at the south angle. The east-west arm is 42m in length and varies in width from 12m to 15m. It was originally linked directly to the west arm of the moat, and it is thought that it also served to feed and regulate the water supply to the moat. The area where the moat and fishpond join was infilled in the mid-20th century. From c.1400 to 1709 the manor of Skipwith was held by the Skipwith family, and it has been suggested that the manor house occupied the moat platform until the 17th century. In 1657 the house or hall was demolished and a cottage called Moat Hall was built which stood on the site until the 20th century.

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:


Title: Park Farm Skipworth Presentation Survey Source Date: 1993 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Park Farm Skipworth Presentation Survey Source Date: 1993 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


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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