Moated site at Churchill Court

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018545

Date first listed: 21-Jan-1999

Map

Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Churchill Court
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Worcestershire

District: Wychavon (District Authority)

Parish: Churchill

National Grid Reference: SO 92365 53598

Summary

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 Churchill Court survives as a largely undisturbed and well- preserved example of a medieval moated enclosure including associated fishpond and earthwork remains. 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 evidence which will facilitate the dating of the construction and subsequent periods of use of the moat. The moat ditch can be expected to preserve earlier deposits including evidence of its construction and any alterations which occurred during its active history. In addition, its waterlogged condition will preserve environmental information about the ecosystem and landscape history of the moat from the medieval period. The substantial outer bank on the north and east sides of the moat will preserve evidence for its construction, use and any alterations which may have occurred during the moat's active life. This feature will also provide information about whether it was built as an integral part of the original construction programme or added at a later date. Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow-moving fresh water constructed for the purpose of breeding and storing fish in order to provide a consistent and sustainable supply of food. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds began in the medieval period and reached a peak of popularity in the 12th century. They were largely the province of the wealthier sectors of society, and are considered important as a source of information concerning the economy of various classes of medieval settlements and institutions. The fishpond remains at Churchill Court, although degraded, will in their waterlogged condition, provide climatic and environmental evidence in addition to important complimentary information about the economy and subsistence of the moat's inhabitants. Quarry pits are the visible remains of mineral extraction and will provide evidence of industrial activity on the site, possibly related to the construction or use of the moat and its buildings. The earthworks to the east of the moat are thought to be the remains of associated settlement and agricultural use of the site. They will provide evidence for the relationship between the moated site and the outer enclosures and for the agricultural regime and economy and subsistence of the moat's inhabitants.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the moated site and its associated fishponds, quarries and enclosures at Churchill Court. The monument is located on a promontory of high ground in a commanding position to the north east of St Michael's Church. The island is sub-rectangular, almost circular, and measures approximately 55m by 40m. It is defined by a substantial moat which, although silted, still maintains a depth of water throughout most of its circuit. The moat measures up to 3m deep and 6m wide, narrowing to 3m on the northern and eastern, downhill sides where it is retained by a substantial outer bank. There is a short projection at the moat's south east corner. The moat now relies largely on rain water for its supply. The island is generally level and undisturbed, and no traces of structures are evident, although there is a considerable amount of stone scatter visible. An `L'-shaped depression in the south and west areas of the moat island may be the site of former buildings. There is no evidence of formal access to the island, access currently being gained at the dry north west corner. To the north of the moat are a pair of large depressions and banks which may represent quarry pits relating to the moat. Running from a point midway along the northern arm of the moat and partly defined by the moat's outer bank, is a substantial hollow way approximately 3.5m wide and 1.5m deep, which terminates after 110m at the base of the slope. To the east of the moat, on a downhill slope, are the remains of a large enclosure approximately 100m by 80m, within which earthworks are visible. These consist of a slight terrace running across the enclosure from north to south; at the midpoint of this feature is an 8m by 3m depression. These earthworks are thought to be associated settlement and agricultural remains. They will provide evidence for the relationship between the moated site and the outer enclosures and for the agricultural regime and economy and subsistence of the moat's inhabitants. By the south east projection of the moat is a large 20m by 15m hollow which represents the remains of an attached fishpond. All post and wire fencing is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 31943

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Moger, O, Wragge, A, The Victoria History of the County of Worcestershire, (1913), 297
Other
Aston M, (1970)
Bond, C J, HW Provisional List of Moats, 1972,
Various SMR officers, SMR Records, (1992)

End of official listing