Eastfield Sike medieval moated site, associated fishpond, and medieval woodland boundary banks and ditches at Burtergill Wood and Kiln Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018598

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Eastfield Sike medieval moated site, associated fishpond, and medieval woodland boundary banks and ditches at Burtergill Wood and Kiln Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Warcop

National Grid Reference: NY 76413 16327


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.

A fishpond is an artificially created pool of slow moving freshwater constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. They were maintained by a water management system which included inlet and outlet channels carrying water from a river or stream, a series of sluices set into the bottom of the dam and along the channels and leats, and an overflow leat which controlled fluctuations in water flow and prevented flooding. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds began during the medieval period and they were largely built by the wealthier members of society. Most fishponds fell out of use during the post-medieval period. Despite being relatively common, fishponds are important for their associations with other classes of medieval monument and in providing evidence of site economy. Woodland has been managed since at least the fourth millennium BC in order to produce timber and smaller wood for fencing, wattlework and fuel, including charcoal. However, it is only for more recent periods that evidence for woodland management survives in the woods themselves, generally in the form of wood boundaries and features relating to wood crafts. Ancient wood boundaries (pre AD 1700) are either sinous or zig-zagged and are usually in the form of a bank with an outer ditch which was traditionally set with a hedge to keep out livestock and pollarded trees to define the legal boundary. During the post-medieval period the introduction of forestry plantations, the decline in the demand for coppiced wood and the widespread introduction of coal for household and manufacturing use have all led to a reduction in the demand for woodland products and since 1945 there has been a dramatic rise in the destrucion of old woodland due to increased competition for land. Despite some damage to the monument sustained during military training exercises, Eastfield Sike medieval moated site, associated fishpond and medieval woodland boundary banks and ditches at Burtergill Wood and Kiln Hill survive reasonably well. The moat and fishpond are good examples of these classes of monument and the moated platform contains buried remains of the medieval structures which occupied it. Additionally the monument is a rare survival in Cumbria of the juxtaposition of a moated site and medieval wood bank.


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


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Eastfield Sike medieval moated site, an associated fishpond, and adjacent medieval woodbanks and ditches at Burtergill Wood and Kiln Hill. It lies on the fringe of open moorland which gradually rises northwards before joining the limestone scars of Warcop Fell. It includes a moated platform measuring approximately 26.5m by 10m upon which there are a number of low earthworks, indicating the survival of buried remains of timber buildings, together with a slight stony bank interpreted as the remains of a small enclosure. Surrounding the platform is a flat-bottomed ditch approximately 9m wide by 1m deep which is dry on all sides except the north where a small stream flows through the north east corner of the moat before exiting through a break in the west ditch. Remains of an inlet channel which originally supplied water to the moat survive on the eastern side. There is an outer bank 2.5m wide by 0.4m high on the moat's north side. An associated fishpond measuring approximately 13.5m by 12.5m and surrounded on all sides except the south by an outer bank lies on the western side of the moat. To the north west of the moat lies Burtergill Wood which is enclosed by a relatively well-preserved wood bank consisting of an earthen bank up to 6.4m wide by 1.1m high and an external ditch with maximum dimensions of 5.5m wide by 2m deep. To the south of the moat the bank and ditch continue and define a piece of land on the western side of Kiln Hill which, although now largely treeless, is shown on 19th century maps as being a continuation of Burtergill Wood. Although no documentary evidence has yet been forthcoming to confirm the date of the monument, the date range for the construction of moated sites generally lies between the 12th and 15th centuries. Moated sites and wood banks are commonly associated and Eastfield Sike moated site is interpreted as the location of a woodward's cottage constructed by the Warcop family, lords of the manor of Warcop. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all modern field boundaries, all fence posts and gateposts, all signposts, a small concrete military structure built on the north east corner of the wood bank surrounding Burtergill Wood, and the surfaces of all roads and tracks; the ground beneath all these features, however, 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: 27831

Legacy System: RSM


RCHME Survey, Lax, A, Burtergill Wood, Warcop, Cumbria, (1994)

End of official listing