Moated site at Earl's Court


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017229

Date first listed: 03-Apr-2000


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Earl's Court
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Jan-2019 at 18:26:18.


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

County: Worcestershire

District: Malvern Hills (District Authority)

Parish: Rushwick

County: Worcestershire

District: Worcester (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: SO 82365 54815


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, enclosures and associated water control features at Earl's Court survive well. The unusual form of the site, extended with the addition of the rectangular island and the later reuse of the round island as a possible water mill will provide evidence for continuity and adaptation of use throughout a wide chronological period. It is believed that the rectangular island will preserve evidence of former structures, including both domestic and ancilliary 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. In addition, the northern island preserves foundation levels of former buildings which will give information on the site's later use. It is believed that earlier remains will also be preserved in this area as on the rectangular island. The moats are likely to preserve earlier deposits including evidence of their construction and any alterations during their active history. In addition, their waterlogged condition will preserve environmental information about the ecosystem and landscape in which the monument was set.

The leats will provide evidence of the water management regime at the site and preserve environmental evidence in their waterlogged deposits. This will illuminate the nature of use of the site and the relationship between the main holdings of the moated site and ancillary structures of the enclosure.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the moated site, enclosures and associated water control features at Earl's Court. The site is located on Keuper Marl, approximately 3km south west of the centre of Worcester and occupies generally flat ground. The moated site was formerly located in St John in Bedwardine parish. A large farm complex which formerly occupied the land immediately to the west and north west of the moat was demolished in 1977. The County Museums service carried out some survey work on the site at that time. The manor of Earl's Court is believed to have been formed through the amalgamation of a number of small holdings in the early 16th century by Arnold Gower.

The site includes a complete rectangular moat with the adjoining remains of what is believed to be an earlier, round moat to the north and a system of leats defining a series of enclosures to the east.

The rectangular moat is 1m to 2m deep and is water-filled in its north, south and eastern arms and waterlogged in the western arm. The moat encloses an island which measures approximately 45m by 30m which is level with the surrounding land. A leat leaves the moat from its south eastern corner and runs to the east for approximately 60m to connect with a second leat which runs from south west to north east. Both of these leats measure 1m to 2m wide by up to 0.5m deep and are waterlogged.

A waterlogged extension to the east from the end of the northern arm of the rectangular moat runs in a shallow curve to the north east for approximately 55m measuring 1m to 2m deep. Site investigation in 1977 indicated that this arm was originally part of a large round ditch which enclosed a roughly circular island of approximately 70m diameter and was partially infilled later. The infilled line of the round ditch is visible on the ground. The foundations of the demolished farm buildings are visible on the surface of this island. It has been suggested that this was the site of a water mill in the 17th century. Two waterlogged leats, 1m to 2m wide by up to 0.5m deep, leave the round ditch from just before and just after its easternmost point and run to the east to join the south west to north east leat.

The system of leats form the boundaries for two enclosures which may have contained ancillary buildings or alternatively served as stock pounds or for the garden closes.

All modern post and wire 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: 31957

Legacy System: RSM


Moger, Olive, Various, VCH, (1913)
various, Various, (1970)

End of official listing