Moated site at Fairfield Court


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017526

Date first listed: 16-Jan-1998


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Fairfield Court
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1017526 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 13:22:00.


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

County: Worcestershire

District: Bromsgrove (District Authority)

Parish: Belbroughton

National Grid Reference: SO 94564 75907


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 at Fairfield Court is a well preserved example of a simple rectangular moat of manorial status. The moat has remained waterlogged and organic remains will survive. Evidence for features such as a well, a free standing chapel and at least two earlier phases of domestic building, together with documentary evidence will give us a rare insight into the status of the site and its occupants and provide important evidence for the development of a moated site over a considerable period. The moated site has had a complex history of different uses including a high status domestic dwelling, a religious centre and uses associated with forest courts. Surviving archaeological evidence will illuminate the development of, and relationships between these various types of occupation.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a simple rectangular moated site orientated north to south and measuring approximately 110m by 70m. On the island of the moated site is a timber framed house called Fairfield Court, which is Listed Grade II*; it is in residential use and is not included in the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included. The moat is deeply cut into the natural Keuper Marl and outcropping red sandstone in the sides of a sloping valley. Only three arms of the moat ditch are now fully visible, the fourth, on the north side, was partly infilled in modern times, concealing the original entrance to the island which was by a drawbridge opposite the main entrance of the house. The arms of the moat which are visible still hold water. The outer edges of the southern arm are deepest in order to allow for the natural slope of the land. The width of the moat ditch is relatively uniform being approximately 10m. The northern end of the western arm of the moat has been landscaped to create an ornamental pond. The island enclosed by the moat is approximately 90m by 50m and is terraced in three stages to counter the natural slope. Fairfield Court is reputedly the third house on the site, originating in the late 15th to early 16th century. It occupies approximately half of the northernmost terrace. The remainder of this terrace and the two southern terraces are laid out as gardens, largely grassed. On the southernmost terrace are the remains of a well marked on earlier maps, which has since been covered over. Records indicate that a chapel was formerly situated immediately to the south of the house. Fairfield Court is the successor of the Domesday manor of Forfeld which was the home of Lady Godiva and Earl Leofric in the 11th century, held from the monks of Worcester; the site may thus have Anglo-Saxon origins. The Manor was located in the medieval Forest of Feckenham and the forest court for the northern region, extending from the Trent, was held at the Manor. The house was associated with recusant activities after the Reformation; it is said that Father John Wall, one of the last Christian Martyrs, preached here in a chapel constructed in the roof of the house. All standing buildings and all modern walls, paths, surfacing, steps and garden furniture, 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. 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: 30003

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Montgomerie, D H, The Victoria History of the County of Worcestershire, (1924), 427
Aston, M, Unpublished survey and notes, unpublished information in SMR
Unpublished notes on Fairfield Manor, 1988, summaries of published information

End of official listing