Moated site and fishponds 300m south west and 470m north of Durrance Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016480

Date first listed: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Moated site and fishponds 300m south west and 470m north of Durrance Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Worcestershire

District: Wychavon (District Authority)

Parish: Upton Warren

National Grid Reference: SO 90747 71054, SO 90941 71590


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.

The moated site and fishponds 300m south west and 470m north of Durrance Farm survive as a largely undisturbed and well preserved example of a medieval moated site, despite some disturbance of its associated fishpond complex and water control features. Excavations on the island and through the ditches of the moat have confirmed the preservation of archaeological deposits and evidence of former structures, including both domestic and ancillary buildings and their associated occupation levels. These remains will illustrate the nature of use of the site and the lifestyle of its inhabitants in addition to providing evidence which will facilitate the dating of the construction and subsequent periods of use of the moat. The moat ditch will preserve earlier deposits including evidence of its construction and alterations during its active history. Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow moving fresh water constructed for the purpose of breeding and storing fish in the medieval period and reached a peak of popularity in the 12th century. Fishponds were often grouped together, either clustered or in line, and joined by leats, each pond being stocked with a different age or species of fish, which could be transferred to other bodies of water such as moats. They were largely the province of the wealthier sectors of society and are considered important as a source of information concerning the rural economy of various classes of medieval settlements and institutions. The fishpond is expected to preserve evidence for its construction and use, while its waterlogged deposits will preserve climatic and environmental information about its management regime.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a medieval moated site and associated fishpond complex within two areas of protection. The first area includes the moated site, attached fishpond and leat, while the second includes a further fishpond and leat 600m north west of the moat. The monument is located on Keuper Marl with substantial drift deposits in a shallow valley 10km to the west of Bromsgrove. It is believed the site may be that of Cooksey Manor. Excavations in the 1950s identified three main periods of development. Between 1200 and 1250 a small irregular shaped moated site was constructed. The moat ditch was later recut between 1250 and 1300 when buildings were erected on the island. The site remained in this form until 1350 to 1450 when the site was modified to its present form and the fishponds were added. The moated site includes a dry ditch which surrounds a rectangular island 39m by 44m which is approximately 1m higher than the surrounding ground level, and is uneven with the remains of seven trenches left by archaeological excavation in the 1950s clearly visible. To the south the moat ditch has been widened for two thirds of its length to approximately 30m, and the retaining dam for this widening is clearly visible. The north, west and east arms are approximately 6m to 12m wide, and all arms of the moat are approximately 2m to 3m deep. The present stream runs southwards passing adjacent to the eastern arm of the moat in a 2m to 3m deep cutting which appears to be natural. The earthwork remains of a pond are visible, connecting to the centre of the northern arm of the moat ditch. A leat runs northwards from the north eastern corner of the moat for approximately 300m before dividing to the north west and north east and connecting with further ponds. The leat is dry and approximately 2m to 3m wide by 2m to 3m deep running parallel with and east of the present stream for approximately 100m at which point it is no longer visible. Approximately 300m north east of the moat are the remains of a large pond, originally connected to the leat, which utilised the natural contours of the land for water retention. A second pond, also connected by a leat lies a further 200m to the north east. These ponds have been damaged by later landscaping and agriculture and are not, therefore, included in the scheduling. A final pond lies 600m to the north east of the moat, within the second area of protection. This pond is waterlogged, with a stream running southwards through its centre. It measures approximately 100m north to south by approximately 30m west to east. At its southern end are the remains of a dam approximately 6m wide by 30m long. A section of the leat supplying water to the fishpond complex and lying to the west of the pond is included in the scheduling. A circular pond approximately 30m to the north east is believed to represent a later marl pit and is not included in the scheduling. All modern fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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: 31954

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Oswald, A, Taylor, G S, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Durrance Moat, Upton Warren, Worcestershire., , Vol. LXXIX, (1961), 61-75
Oswald, A, Taylor, G S, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Provisional List of Moats, Worcestershire, , Vol. LXXIX, (1961), 61-75
Bond, C.J., Provisional List of Moats in Worcestershire, (1972)

End of official listing