Cistercian grange of Upper Smite, 200m south east of Mobbs Wood Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016847

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cistercian grange of Upper Smite, 200m south east of Mobbs Wood Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Jan-2019 at 03:49:15.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: Rugby (District Authority)

Parish: Combe Fields

National Grid Reference: SP 42700 82624


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

Reasons for Designation

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution. This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers (secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms, bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange. Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands. On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological survival are identified as nationally important.

The Cistercian grange of Coombe at Upper Smite survives well as a series of a earthworks and buried remains which will preserve evidence of its development and establishment on the site of an earlier settlement.

The large fishponds were a dominant feature of the grange. Fish formed an important part of the monastic diet, being consumed particularly on fast days and holy days. Large fishponds are a particular feature of many Cistercian estates. They will preserve both environmental and artefactual evidence including information about the surrounding natural environment and agricultural regime during the occupation of the grange. The fishponds will also illustrate the technological and engineering methodology associated with such water management features.

The area of small enclosures, believed to be stock pounds, and of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains are also believed relate to the grange which was constructed over or incorporated into the remains of the medieval settlement. The earthworks will include buried land surfaces associated with this period of the settlement. These will contain environmental and artefactual remains which will illuminate the history of the settlement prior to its desertion in 1150.


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


The monument includes the known extent of earthwork and buried remains of the fishponds and associated enclosures of the Cistercian grange of Coombe at Upper Smite. Documents record that the Cistercian abbey of Coombe depopulated an existing settlement at the site of Upper Smite in 1150. The monks subsequently developed the site as a grange or farm, and the surviving earthworks of the large fishpond complex and enclosures are believed to relate to the period of the monastic estate.

A large artificially enhanced platform survives to the south east of the farm and is overlain by traces of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains. The platform is defined on its western and south eastern sides by hollow ways measuring 8m wide and up to 2.5m deep and 4m wide and 1m deep respectively.

To the south of this platform is an area of small enclosures defined by ditches, the largest measuring 35m north to south by 45m east to west. These are believed to be animal pounds or stock enclosures.

A large `L'-shaped fishpond is located to the south east of the platform and is defined by banks measuring up to 2.5m high and 6m wide; the banks are best preserved on the western and northern sides of the pond. Remnants of a leat orientated north east to south west cut through the longest side of the pond, running to the south west. A second pond, now dry, is located to the north east of the large pond. It is sub-rectangular measuring up to 2.5m deep, 10m to 12m long, and 5m wide.

Further earthworks and crop mark remains formerly survived to the east, south and west of the monument, including remains of further enclosures associated with the grange and possible remains of the former medieval settlement. These remains have been extensively damaged by ploughing and are not included in the scheduling.

All modern post and wire fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 30066

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Beresford, M W, Deserted Medieval Villages of Warwickshire, (1945), 95-6
various SMR Officers, Various unpublished notes in SMR, WA5703 SMR Number

End of official listing