Old Hays moated site and associated manorial earthworks, Ratby


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017584

Date first listed: 29-May-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1991


Ordnance survey map of Old Hays moated site and associated manorial earthworks, Ratby
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Hinckley and Bosworth (District Authority)

Parish: Ratby

National Grid Reference: SK 49036 06526


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.

Old Hays is a well-preserved example of a Leicestershire moated enclosure which is unusual for the depth of the surrounding moat. The significance of the site is greatly increased by the range of historical documentation relating to the manorial complex and its association with Leicester Abbey.


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


The monument includes the remains of a Medieval moated enclosure and its associated manorial earthworks. The moated enclosure is rectangular in shape measuring some 40m by 50m in maximum external dimensions inclusive of the 10m wide moat. The partially dry moat has been infilled along part of the south and east arms, elsewhere it varies in depth between 3m and 4m with its inner edge faced with masonry. The moated island is level with the surrounding land and contains the upstanding remains of Old Hays farmhouse and an outhouse building. The farmhouse was built in 1733 and is a grade II listed building. The upstanding remains of these buildings are excluded from the scheduling although their below-ground remains are included as they are considered to preserve the remains of earlier buildings and features. Entrance to the site is via a covered bridge building (the upstanding remains of which are similarly excluded from the scheduling). Immediately to the north and west of the moated enclosure are the well- defined earthwork remains of two rectangular enclosures and a series of small rectangular hollows, comprising a related manorial complex. The enclosures each measure some 90m by 40m and have been constructed to form terraces adjacent to the moat. The enclosures are defined by low banks, scarps and ditches. Between the enclosures are a series of at least three hollows measuring about 8m by 6m, considered to mark the sites of contemporary peasant cots. The hollows are located along a slight scarp slope which joins a 40m long length of ditch running south- east dividing the two enclosures. Two low banks west of the moat define a further small enclosure.

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: 11563

Legacy System: RSM


L.M.S. record office, Graf, A, (1989)
Ordnance Survey Record, A.J.T., Ordnance Survey Record, (1981)
SMR record, R.F.H., SMR Record, (1986)

End of official listing