Medieval settlement remains immediately north east and 210m south east of White House Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018834

Date first listed: 16-Apr-1999


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement remains immediately north east and 210m south east of White House Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Melton (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: SK 73676 18051, SK 73820 17942


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

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the East Midlands sub-Province of the Central Province, an area characterised in the Middle Ages by large numbers of nucleated settlements. The sites of many of these settlements are now occupied by modern villages, but others have been partially or wholly deserted and are marked by earthwork remains. Most of these settlements were first documented in the 11th century, in Domesday Book. The southern part of the sub-Province has greater variety of settlement, with dispersed farmsteads and hamlets intermixed with the villages. Whilst some of the dispersed settlements are post-medieval, others may represent much older farming landscapes. The Soar Valley and Nene Plateau local region comprises the low hill country of the Soar Valley and, to the south east, a low plateau dissected by the tributaries of the Nene and Welland. Nucleated villages and hamlets dominate the region, but gaps are found within the pattern in Rockingham Forest, in Rutland and in High Leicestershire where they are linked to the location of woodland in and before the 11th century.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans vary enormously, but when they survive as earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In the central province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life, and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest.

The building of fishponds began in the medieval period and peaked in the 12th century. The difficulty of obtaining fresh meat in winter and the value placed on fish as a food-source and for status may have been factors which favoured the development of fishponds and which made them so valuable. The practice of constructing fishponds declined after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, although in some areas it continued into the 17th century. Documentary sources provide a wealth of information about the way in which fishponds were managed. The main species of fish kept were eel, tench, pickerel, bream, perch and roach. Most fishponds were located close to villages, manors or monasteries. Archaeologically fishponds are important for their association with other classes of medieval monument and in providing evidence of site economy.

The remains of the areas of abandoned medieval settlement and fishponds at Eye Kettleby survive particularly well in the form of a series of substantial earthworks. Both areas of protection have remained largely undisturbed with the result that the preservation of buried deposits relating to the occupation and use of the sites will be good. As a result of both the survival of historical documentation relating to the settlement and archaeological survey the remains are very well understood and provide a good opportunity for understanding the mechanisms underlying its development, decline and eventual abandonment. Waterlogging in the area of the fishponds suggests a high potential for the survival of organic deposits which will contain important information about the economy of the settlement and the contemporary environment. Evidence from extensive excavations on the preceding Saxon settlement immediately to the west provide an extremely rare opportunity to study an apparently unbroken sequence of occupation on the site lasting over 1000 years.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the settlement of Eye Kettleby in two areas of protection immediately north and 210m south east of White House Farm.

In the first area of protection the remains take the form of a series of earthworks and buried features located in relation to a north-south hollow way originally forming the main thoroughfare through the medieval settlement. The hollow way survives as a linear depression a maximum of 75m in length, 8m in width and 3m in depth and has been truncated at its southern end by digging for sand. A series of up to three agricultural enclosures and paddocks abutting the western side of the hollow way are defined by faint linear banks and scarps. A trackway leaves the western side of the hollow way at its northern end and continues for approximately 40m before splitting into two. The two trackways turn sharply southwards and gradually converge, forming either side of a large paddock measuring 40m east to west and 80m north to south. Immediately to the south east of the hollow way, on the easterly slope overlooking the stream are a series of house platforms and associated garden or agricultural enclosures covering an area approximately 180m by 80m. The house platforms survive as sub-rectangular mounds and depressions. The irregular enclosures surrounding them are defined by faint banks. The location of a fording point over the stream to the east of the house platforms is defined by a linear depression in the western bank approximately 10m in width, with a corresponding depression on the opposite bank.

Immediately east of the stream are a complex series of water control features, the largest of which are two fishponds defined by parallel sub-rectangular waterlogged depressions. The eastern pond is up to 80m in length, 26m in width and 1m in depth, with its long axis aligned north-south. It is linked at its southern end to the western pond by a broad leat. The location of a further pond immediately to the north east is defined by a waterlogged depression up to 40m in length, 5m in width and 0.5m in depth. A narrow channel on the northern side of this pond links it to an adjacent drainage ditch which is in turn connected to the northern end of the eastern fishpond. The western pond is approximately 120m in length and a maximum of 30m in width. A leat running from its southern end towards the stream is defined by a curvilinear depression approximately 60m in length and 6m in width. A second broader leat ran from the western side of the pond, also linking it to the stream.

In the second area of protection the remains take the form of earthworks and buried features defining the location of a large house platform, the trackway leading to it and its surrounding gardens and paddocks. The platform consists of a low square mound up to 25m across and 0.45m in height with traces of a raised trackway or causeway joining it from the south. Linear banks immediately to the east define a rectangular enclosure measuring approximately 50m east to west and 20m in width, which is abutted to the south by a second enclosure within which are faint traces of medieval agriculture in the form of ridge and furrow.

During the reign of Edward the Confessor the lordship of Eketilby or Eye Kettleby, containing eight ploughlands and six acres of meadow, was held by Leuric Fitz Leuin as part of the manor of Melton. Following the Norman Conquest it was given to Goisfrid de Wirce, passing in turn to Nigell de Albini and Roger de Mowbray before being granted to the latter's brother, Hamo Beler by Henry II in about 1160. The manor was purchased by Sir John Digby in the reign of Henry VII, and a clear reference to the fishponds is made in a will dated to 1533 in which the latter bequeathed his manor house, park, mill and ponds to his next male relative following the death of his son. The reference to a park is significant because it is believed that the settlement had been largely abandoned by this time as a result of enclosure. Poll tax returns for 1379 list 41 inhabitants, but accounts for the hay subsidy of 1524 record that there was by then only one taxpayer.

Documentary sources also show the existence of a medieval chapel. The antiquarian, John Nichols recorded in 1800 that the chapel had been standing in 1569, that only one of its walls remained by 1750, and that it had subsequently disappeared completely. A map dated to 1885 shows the area immediately west of the stream to have been called Chapel Close.

Excavations in advance of development immediately to the west in 1996 located an extensive area of Saxon settlement and a series of field boundaries associated with the subsequent medieval hamlet.

All fences, bridges, feed troughs and the surfaces of all pathways 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.

Legacy System number: 30250

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-East Leicestershire, (1987)
Nichols, J, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicestershire, (1800)
Farnham, G.F., Leicestershire Medieval Village Notes, 1933,
Farnham, G.F., Leicestershire Medieval Village Notes, 1933,
Geonex, 1:10000, (1991)
Leicestershire County Council, 71 NW. AY,
Title: Ordnance Survey 25" Series Source Date: 1885 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing