Kelfield moated site and fishpond, 180m north of Kelfield Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017459

Date first listed: 15-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Kelfield moated site and fishpond, 180m north of Kelfield Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Selby (District Authority)

Parish: Kelfield

National Grid Reference: SE 59495 38537


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 tradition of constructing and using fishponds started in the medieval period and peaked in the 12th century, their use declining after the Dissolution. They are often associated with moated sites, the moat ditches often also acting as fishponds. They were designed to retain slow moving fresh water to allow the breeding, cultivating and storing of fish to provide a sustainable year round supply of fresh food. They typically had a water management system of leats and sluices to control water levels. Documentary sources provide a wealth of information about the way that ponds were stocked and managed. Fishponds are found widely scattered across the country, the majority in central, eastern and southern parts and in areas with heavy clay soils. Although approximately 2000 examples are recorded nationally, this is thought to be only a small proportion of those originally in existence. Despite being relatively common, fishponds are important for their association with other classes of medieval monuments, and in providing evidence of site economy. Kelfield moated site is a good, well preserved example of a 13th century small seigneurial manor house site. The island is unusual in form, being circular rather than polygonal in plan. Medieval archaeological deposits will survive throughout the island, both beneath the farmhouse and in open areas, and will include building foundations, rubbish pits, and evidence of gardening activity. The area between the moat and the fishpond will include the buried remains of a leat and sluice originally linking the two bodies of water. The moat and fishpond, still being partly water filled, will retain well preserved organic remains. These will include timbering related to one or more bridges across the moat, wooden and leather items lost or thrown away, animal and fish bones, together with pollen, seeds and other environmental remains which rarely survive elsewhere and will provide valuable information into the life of the medieval site.


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


The monument includes a roughly circular moated site, now partly occupied by a mid-19th century farmhouse, and an adjacent fishpond. The moated site is identified as the site of the manor house held by Henry son of Conan, also known as Henry of Kelfield, in 1290-91. The manor of Kelfield had passed from the Hermer family to Henry between 1201 and 1204, remaining within the family until at least the mid-14th century. The manor passed into the Stillington family between 1496 and 1534, and it is believed that around this time the moated site was abandoned in favour of Kelfield Hall, which is first mentioned in 1598, sited besides the river on the south side of the village. The current manor house sited on the island dates to the mid-19th century. The moat ditch is still partially filled with water and is now horse-shoe shaped in plan, being infilled on the north eastern side. The roughly circular, 35m diameter island rises above the level of the surrounding land surface. The current house stands in the north eastern quadrant of the island, with most of the remaining area forming a garden. The fishpond survives as a partly infilled feature approximately 10m wide and 55m long, extending north westwards from the south western side of the moat, separated from the moat by a narrow strip just over 5m wide. The farmhouse, the hardstanding to the north and all post and wire fencing are excluded from scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 30112

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire East Riding: Volume III, (1976), 104
Le Patourel, H.E J, 'Monograph Series No 5' in The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, , Vol. 5, (1973), 113

End of official listing