Moated site and associated features, 320m west of Knapp Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021150

Date first listed: 19-Mar-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Aug-2003


Ordnance survey map of Moated site and associated features, 320m west of Knapp Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Corscombe

National Grid Reference: ST 54067 03543


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 320m west of Knapp Farm, is a very well-preserved example of its class, with the rare survival of the remains of buildings and associated structures. It is one of only 21 moats identified in Dorset. It will contain archaeological remains providing information about medieval society, its economy and landscape in which it has been constructed.


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


The monument includes a square moated site, set within a square enclosure, and associated earthworks, fishponds and leat located in a field known locally as Castle Field or Court Ley, 320m west of Knapp Farm. Documentary evidence suggests that the site was occupied in the 14th century although possibly abandoned by the middle of the century. The manor may have been succeeded by Knapp Farm, which has 14th century origins, or by Benville Manor, 680m to the north west, where there is a moat which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The site was surveyed by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in England in 1987. The moat, 12m wide and 1.5m deep, encloses a platform 25 sq m which contains the remains of a rectangular building, now defined by low mounds. To the north, the moat is separated from a stream running parallel to it by a broad bank, 7m wide and up to 1.5m high, with a break at the north east corner where there may have been a sluice for controlling the water level. The moated site lies in the south eastern part of a square enclosure, measuring 80m by 80m and defined by a low bank, up to 5m wide and 0.5m high. The stream passes through the centre of it. The north west corner of the enclosure bank has been reduced in height by ploughing and is not visible on the ground, although the area is included in the scheduling. The moated site was originally approached from the south where there is a ramp up to the edge of the ditch, marking the position of a timber bridge or drawbridge. To the west of the moated site are the remains of at least four buildings, marked by low banks and earthworks. A probable entrance to the complex is located 10m south west of the south western corner of the moated site, where the bank beyond the south side of the moated site turns a right-angled corner and flanks the entrance for a distance of 6m. To the south of the moated site and the enclosure are further platforms which indicate former structures. A hollow way approaches the site from the south and is flanked at its southern end by two square mounds, about 1m square, containing rubble, which may indicate a former gatehouse structure. There are two rectangular fishponds to the east and south east of the moated site. These lie within a polygonal enclosure defined by a bank, up to 4m wide and up to 0.7m high with an external ditch, 4m wide, visible on the surface only at its southern end. The south eastern pond is 35m by up to 8m, and the eastern one is 38m by 8m and has a bank on its east side, up to 10m wide and 1.5m high. The fishponds appear to have been fed by a spring 200m to the east, via a leat, 2m wide and 0.4m deep with a bank on its northern side, 2m wide and 0.3m high. Most of this channel has been altered and infilled by more recent activity, but a well-preserved length of about 50m survives and is included in the scheduling. The ponds are linked by a channel and there is an outlet into the stream at the northern end to enable control of water levels.

All fence and gate posts 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. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 35390

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing