Moated site immediately adjacent to St Peter's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016940

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Moated site immediately adjacent to St Peter's Church
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This copy shows the entry on 10-Dec-2018 at 17:10:11.


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

County: Worcestershire

District: Wychavon (District Authority)

Parish: Abbots Morton

National Grid Reference: SP 02649 54938


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 immediately adjacent to St Peter's Church is a well-preserved example of a high status medieval moated site with a documented pre-Conquest foundation. It is believed to have acted as a residence or retreat for the abbots of Evesham until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century. The undisturbed nature of 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 its construction and subsequent periods of use. The moat ditch can be expected to preserve earlier deposits including evidence for its construction and any alterations during its active history. The hollow ways at Abbots Morton are particularly well defined and provide evidence for the relationship between the moated site and the church in addition to the relationship between the village and its agricultural fields. 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 lands with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen teams produced long, wide ridges and the resultant ridge and furrow where it survives is the most obvious physical indication of the open field system. Well-preserved ridge and furrow, especially in its original context adjacent to settlement earthworks, is both an important source of information about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character of the landscape.


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 associated enclosure, pond and medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains adjacent to the Church of St Peter. The site is located on the brow of a hill and was acquired by Ecgwine, bishop of the Hwicce, in the eighth century for Evesham Abbey. It is believed that the site was a favoured retreat for the abbots of Evesham prior to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The moated site is situated approximately 90m north of the church and is well preserved, although the moat, which measures up to 8m wide by 4m deep on the north, south and west sides is dry. The eastern arm of the moat is approximately 15m wide by 3m deep and has an external bank measuring 4m to 5m wide by 1m high. The banks of the moat are steep, being nearly vertical. The island is rectangular and measures approximately 48m east to west by 35m north to south. There are traces of an internal bank measuring 3m wide by 0.5m high at the north west and south east corners, and an `L'-shaped depression 0.5m deep is located to the north and west of the centre of the island. This measures approximately 18m from north to south and 30m from east to west with the junction of the two arms, which measure up to 4m wide, to the north west. This feature is believed to represent the former house site. Medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains are located to the north and east of the moat, and a 20m sample of this is included in the scheduling to preserve their relationship to the moat. Immediately to the south of the moat and north of the church is a rectangular enclosure measuring approximately 80m by 60m and oriented east to west which is believed to have been a stock pen, and would have contained ancillary buildings. The eastern boundary of this enclosure is formed by a clay-lined pond measuring approximately 35m by 15m. To the south, the enclosure is defined by a ditch 1m wide by 0.5m deep, and to the west by a hollow way which measures up to 4m wide by 2m deep running from north to south, and forming the western boundary of the churchyard. The churchyard is not included in the scheduling. A second hollow way, to the south of the churchyard, measures up to 4m wide by up to 3m deep and connects the moated site to the main street of the village located to the east. All modern 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: 31953

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hooke, D, Worcestershire Anglo Saxon Charter Bounds, (1990), 23-165
Bond, C.J., Provisional List of Moats in Worcestershire, (1972)
Bond, C.J., Provisional List of Moats in Worcestershire, (1972)
Record Cards, (1970)

End of official listing