Moated site and medieval settlement remains at Throckmorton
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1016938
Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wychavon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SO 98034 49431, SO 98125 49780, SO 98256 49434
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Reasons for Designation
Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Cotswold Scarp and Vales sub-Province of the Central
Province, a scarp and vale landscape extending south eastwards from the clays
and alluvium of the Severn Plain, over the limestones of the Cotswolds to the
Oxford Clay Vale. Villages and hamlets concentrate thickly in the Severn
Valley and the Vale of Pewsey, but are only moderately dense elsewhere. They
are most thinly scattered on the higher ridge of the north east Cotswolds, an
area where in 1851 there were low populations and frequent deserted villages.
Overall, there are very low concentrations of dispersed farmsteads, the only
exceptions being the Vale of Pewsey and the Upper Avon and Thames watershed.
The Severn Plain local region contrasts markedly with the main limestone scarp
of the Cotswolds. It contains large numbers of villages and hamlets founded in
the Middle Ages; only a small proportion of these have since been depopulated.
Domesday Book indicates that the area was particularly densely populated in
1086, when very little woodland remained there.
Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. They frequently included the parish church within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages included one or more manorial centres which may also survive as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the Central Province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life, and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. Ridge and furrow cultivation remains are the remnants of a communal system of agriculture based on large, unenclosed arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into strips (known as lands) which were allocated to individual tenants. The cultivation of these strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen teams produced long, wide ridges and the resultant `ridge and furrow' where it survives is the most obvious indication of the open field system. Well- preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context adjacent to settlement earthworks, as at Throckmorton, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the landscape. The settlement remains at Throckmorton will provide evidence for daily medieval life, as well as its agricultural system and economy. In particular the relationship of the remains with the two known manorial sites is of interest. Throckmorton is rare in having late Saxon documentary evidence for the existence of three main land holders, possibly suggesting that there were three manorial sites in the vicinity. Some late Saxon occupation levels may be expected to survive beneath the later medieval settlement levels providing evidence for settlement development and continuity over time. Throckmorton provides an excellent example of the growth and decline of settlement sites in the area, containing evidence for Saxon, Norman, medieval and post-medieval settlement within the setting of a living modern community. These patterns of settlement provide an insight into the development of a rural community over time. The abundance of water features such as ponds and moats, provide evidence for medieval land management methods in the badly drained claylands. The ponds will provide in their waterlogged deposits, environmental and climatic evidence for Throckmorton's occupation. In addition the ponds at Court Farm will provide, through their probable use as fishponds, evidence for the economy and subsistence of the manor's inhabitants. The later utilisation of the ponds as an ornamental garden setting for the house will provide evidence of their adaptation and for the continuing status of the Throckmorton family. Moated sites 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. Moated sites were, however, 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. The moated site north east of Throckmorton church survives as a well-preserved and largely undisturbed example of a medieval manorial moat preserved alongside associated settlement and cultivation remains. The island will preserve 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. It is expected that evidence for the earliest occupation of Throckmorton, in the late Saxon period will be preserved below the medieval occupation layers. The moat ditch can be expected to preserve earlier deposits including evidence for its construction and any alterations in its active history. In addition, the waterlogged condition of the moat will preserve information about the environment, ecosystem and landscape in which it was set.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the moated site and
medieval settlement remains of Throckmorton in three areas of protection. The
monument is situated on high ground approximately five kilometres to the north
east of Pershore and lies on heavy clay. The village of Throckmorton is not
mentioned in the Domesday survey, being a chapelry of Fladbury parish until
1974, although it is mentioned as having three `mansae' in a charter from
around 1020 of Wulfstan, Archbishop of Worcester and York. It is therefore
believed to have been well established prior to the Norman Conquest. The
settlement at Throckmorton contracted during the medieval period, but there
was an increase in population in the post-medieval period, resulting in new
settlement in the centre of the village. The medieval settlement is believed
to have been focussed on a double row of planned closes running north to
south, parallel to the line of Long Lane with unplanned post-medieval
occupation remains occupying the area to the south and east of the church. The
modern village occupies the areas mainly to the north west and north east of
the medieval and post-medieval settlement.
The first area of protection is located immediately to the north east,
east, and south of the church. It includes the moated site, (believed to be
the original manorial site) settlement and ridge and furrow cultivation
remains. Both the church and the churchyard are in use and are not
therefore included in the scheduling.
The moat, which is located to the north east of the church, is water-filled
and measures, for the most part, approximately 4m to 6m wide by 1m to 2m deep.
The southern arm has, however, been widened to approximately 10m to 14m,
probably for use as a sheepdip. Water is supplied at the north east corner by
a leat leading from the stream which runs parallel to the southern arm, and
drains into the stream at the south west corner.
Access to the moat island, which is approximately 0.5m higher than the
surrounding land on the west side, is via a modern steel bridge in the south
west corner. This bridge is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it is included. The island measures 62m by 34m and is trapezoidal in
shape, being wider at its southern end. The island is generally level,
although it is reported that building stones have been found at a depth of
approximately 0.5m below the present surface of the island.
To the south and east of the church are further earthworks which represent
medieval and post-medieval settlement remains and ridge and furrow cultivation
remains. Immediately to the east of the church is a building platform believed
to be the remains of a post-medieval timber-framed cottage which was
demolished in 1940. To the east of this are at least two further building
platforms and a large artificially hollowed area which is bordered to the
south by a hollow way. Lying to the south of these features are medieval ridge
and furrow cultivation remains, whilst to the south and south west of the
church are further ridge and furrow remains, which are interrupted by
irregular low earthworks consisting of a number of platforms and banks and
ditches believed to represent deposits relating to post-medieval settlement.
To the south west of the ridge and furrow, bordered to the west by Long Lane
and to the south by Bishampton Road, are a further series of irregular
building platforms, on which stone foundations were recorded in 1989,
enclosures, and hollow ways. These earthworks are believed to represent the
northern area of the double row of planned closes running north to south along
the line of Long Lane, and include a large platform approximately 28m by 36m
which has in the past been utilised as an orchard, as well as a hollow way
approximately 8m wide by 1m to 2m deep located in the close at the south west
corner, by the parish hall. The hollow way runs approximately 15m east to
west, beyond which it has been infilled, and north to south for approximately
On the east side of Long Lane in the vicinity of Court Farm, regular
enclosures of approximately 60m by 40m and hollow ways as well as a small
moated site approximately 60m by 34m were recorded to the north of Court Farm.
These earthworks are now very degraded and the moated site has been almost
completely infilled: they are not therefore included in the scheduling.
The second area of protection is located to the west of Long Lane and south of
Lower House Farm, and includes the earthwork remains of the westernmost area
of the medieval settlement. Beyond this lie ridge and furrow cultivation
remains which are not included in the scheduling. The settlement remains
include the earthwork and buried remains of house platforms, enclosures,
hollow ways and ponds believed to represent the western row of the main
medieval settlement. In the north western part of this area and south west of
Lower House Farm, bounded to the west by Pershore airfield and to the north by
the ridge and furrow cultivation remains, is an enclosure measuring 40m by
24m, which is defined to the north and south by hollow ways approximately 4m
wide by 0.5m to 1m deep. To the east of this feature is a 16m by 24m pond
which has, to its north, further earthworks including a number of house
platforms. To the south of the pond are other earthworks including at least
one house platform measuring 16m by 24m. South of the enclosure, bounded to
the west by Pershore airfield and to the east by the rear gardens of `College
Row' is a small area of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation and a pond,
approximately 8m by 18m, which has been truncated at its eastern end by
infilling for the gardens of `College Row'. South east of this area, irregular
earthwork settlement remains include banks, ditches, at least one house
platform and an irregularly shaped pond. It is recorded that a smithy and a
post-medieval cottage stood in these fields until they were demolished in
Located to the east of Long Lane is the third area of protection which
includes further medieval settlement remains and ponds to the south and south
west of Court Farm.
Court Farm contains the oldest secular buildings in Throckmorton. These
consist of Throckmorton Court, a timber-framed medieval manor house with
surviving hall and solar built around 1500 and a timber-framed barn of the
same date incorporating reused timbers. The western service bay of
Throckmorton Court has been demolished. Throckmorton Court and the barn,
Listed Grade II* and Grade II respectively, are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them is included. South of Throckmorton Court are
two linear ponds, the easternmost running for 80m east to west and having an
extension 20m from the west end which runs northwards for 40m. This extension
formerly ran for at least 70m and enclosed the house on its eastern side. The
western pond runs south for 60m from the point where it lies adjacent to the
eastern pond. This pond also used to extend to the north for at least 38m and
may have enclosed the house on its western side. The former extension to this
pond is visible as a dry earthwork hollow. It is believed that these ponds
originally formed a moated, or semi-moated, enclosure for an earlier building
and were extended for use as fishponds before finally being ornamentalised as
part of the setting for Throckmorton Court. Some traces of banks around the
ponds are believed to represent formal walkways from this later use.
To the south west of Court Farm are more earthwork remains of the medieval
settlement which are believed to represent its southern extent. These survive
as a continuation of the enclosures bordering Long Lane on its eastern side
and contain at least three house platforms varying in size from 15m by 20m to
8m by 10m with at least five enclosures varying in size from 20m by 90m to 20m
Throckmorton Court, the timber-framed barn, all modern buildings, the metal
bridge, fencing and surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them 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: 31946
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1913), 352
Bond, C J, Throckmorton, (1970)
Cocroft, C, Throckmorton, Med and Post-Med Village Shrinkage, (1989)
Hughes, L, Field-walking and Surveying the SMV of Throckmorton, (1996)
Hughes, L, Field-walking and Surveying the SMV of Throckmorton, (1996)
Moger, O, Wragge, A, The Victoria History of the County, (1913), 352
Bond, C.J., Provisional List of Moats in Worcestershire, (1972)
Cocroft, W, Half timbered manor house....with ornamental ponds, (1989)
SMR Records, (1960)
SO94SE 1, Cocroft, W., Moat, (1989)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6" Source Date: 1955 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