Ernesford Grange moated site, Binley


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Coventry (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 37021 77584

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.

Ernesford Grange moated site survives well and part excavation of the moated island has indicated that it retains the foundations of an extensive building. Further buried archaeological remains will survive within the moated island and these will include information on ancillary structures associated with the occupation of the moated site and its use as part of the grange. Silts within the lower parts of the moat ditches, particularly in the water-filled northern arm of the moat, will contain artefactual and environmental evidence relating to the period of monastic and later use. In particular we would expect to learn something of the grange's internal economy during the 13th century when it would have been run by Cistercian lay brothers. The interest of the site is enhanced by survival of documentary records which describe its dependence on Combe Abbey in Warwickshire and give some indication of its economic role. The monument is ideally situated, within the school grounds, to provide a valuable educational resource.


The monument is situated on a north facing slope within the grounds of Ernesford Grange School in Binley and includes a moated site.

The moated site is roughly square in plan with external dimensions of up to 77m. The moat arms are now dry with the exception of the northern moat arm, which remains water-filled and is considerably wider. They average 13m in width and are approximately 1.5m deep. Access onto the moated island is by means of a 3m wide causeway towards the northern end of the eastern moat arm which is believed to be the original entrance. The moated island is raised above the surrounding ground surface and measures 51m east to west and 43m north to south.

Part excavation of the moated island in 1971 located the buried remains of an L-shaped sandstone building within the western half of the island. It had been erected on a raised platform of levelled clay. A kitchen, hall, chamber and garderobe have been identified within the building together with two circular ovens, a hearth and the garderobe pit.

Ernesford Grange was a farm complex belonging to the Cistercian monastery of Combe Abbey to the east of Coventry, and the moated site is likely to have been surrounded by agricultural and other buildings, the precise locations of which are not known. Documentary sources indicate that the site was in the possession of the abbey in 1279 and remained in monastic use until the Reformation. In 1544, on the orders of Henry VIII, it was granted to Thomas Broke.

The surfaces of all paths and driveways, the fence posts, lamp-posts and signposts are all excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Dugdale, W, The History of Warwickshire, (1656), 149
Hobley, B, 'West Midlands Archaeological Newsletter' in Ernesford Grange, Binley, , Vol. 14, (1971), 29
Webster, L E, Cherry, J, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Warwickshire: Binley, Ernesford Grange, , Vol. 16, (1972), 196


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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