Moated site, two fishponds and associated earthworks at Knight House Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Moated site, two fishponds and associated earthworks at Knight House Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Oct-2019 at 21:14:25.


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

South Somerset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 37279 10784

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 Knight House Farm is one of relatively few recorded examples in south west England. It also possesses contemporary document records giving details of the site's occupation and use. Together with the two fishponds and associated subsidiary linear earthworks, the moated site survives well and will provide archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating both to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument includes a medieval moated site, two fishponds and associated earthworks at Knight House Farm, south of St Michael's Church, Cudworth. The site is situated on low lying ground to the west of Wall Brook in an area of undulating hills and coombes rising steeply to the south and declining gradually to the north towards Ilminster. The moated site is on the east side of the monument, south of the church, and includes a sub-circular central platform 50m across elevated above the surrounding ground level. It is enclosed by a moat with an average depth of 5.5m and an average width of 5m across the base and an external bank on the west, south and south east sides rising to 5m above the base of the moat. The bank on the north has been truncated by the hedge which encloses part of the churchyard, and on the east by a field boundary hedge. There are no indications that the earthworks at the moated site extend beyond these boundaries. A 4m wide causeway near the north west corner of the moat is probably an original entrance. Matthew de Esse held this manor in 1303 and it has been recorded that in 1333 a licence was granted for an oratory within his widow's house which documentary evidence suggests was located south of the present church in the area of the moated site, although this has no visible surviving features. Also included in the monument and probably contemporary with the moated site, are two rectangular fishponds, aligned north to south. The more substantial fishpond is located south of the smaller one and west of the moat. It appears as a depression 52m long and by 38m wide and is up to 5m deep below a surrounding bank which survives up to 10m wide on the east and up to 16m wide on the north where a break in the bank links it to the bank on the south west corner of the smaller fishpond. Subsidiary earthworks survive adjacent to the south and east bank of the larger fishpond which may represent part of the original water management system. The second fishpond is 13m wide, 56m long, and survives as a depression up to 1m deep. The remains of the east bank have been incorporated into the hedge which encloses the churchyard. All fence posts and water troughs are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features 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.

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This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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