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.
Fishponds were constructed largely by the wealthy sectors of society with monastic institutions and royal residences often having large and complex examples. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds in England began during the medieval period and peaked in the 12th century. They were constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. The difficulties in obtaining fresh meat in the winter and the value placed on fish in terms of its protein content and as a status food may have been factors which favoured the development of fishponds and which made them so valuable.
The moated site and fishponds 300m north east of Snitterton Hall are particularly well preserved and will retain important archaeological and environmental evidence in the deep basal silts of the moat, the ponds and beneath the surrounding banks. The platform will also retain important information relating to the structure and use of the buildings. Taken as a whole the moat and fishponds will add to our knowledge and understanding of the development and working of medieval manorial centres in the area and the position they held in the wider landscape.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a moated site and fishponds situated on the north side of the small hamlet of Snitterton. The monument is situated at approximately 100m above sea level on the south eastern edge of the Peak District National Park. At this point the limestone plateau of the Peak District dips beneath Yoredale Shales and Millstone Grits.
Snitterton is first mentioned in the Domesday Book where it is recorded that `Sinitretone', as it was then known, was one of several berewicks belonging to Matlock Bridge. A berewick was a settlement which was physically separate from the village where the lord lived but still governed as part of the manorial estate. The manor of Snitterton belonged to the royal manor of Matlock Bridge but the de Snitterton family assumed the lordship of the manor from at least the Norman Conquest. Late 13th century documents record that Jordan de Snitterton held a house or group of houses with attached demesne land (the demesne is the lords' home farm as distinct from the land of sub-tenancies) within Snitterton Manor. It is believed the moated platform was the site of these buildings.
The monument survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains. The moat, which is approximately 10m wide and up to 1.5m deep, surrounds a roughly square, central, platform. A break in the southern arm of the ditch indicates the site of a causeway which would have provided access to the interior of the platform. The eastern arm of the ditch has been infilled, probably during the construction of the adjacent turnpike road in 1759.
The enclosed platform measures approximately 50m by 50m and retains evidence of features on its internal surface. These take the form of low banks and are interpreted as the buried remains of walls. The walls which stand to a height of up to 0.5m are thought to represent the site of medieval buildings.
Extending at right angles from the western arm of the moat are two sunken compartments defined by a series of low, linear banks. The compartments are roughly rectangular in shape with slightly rounded, western, ends. They measure approximately 35m long, between 16m and 10m wide and survive to a depth of up to 0.75m. The two compartments, which are interpreted as fishponds, lie parallel to each other and are divided by a single bank. A shallow gully at the western end of the dividing bank links the two ponds. A break in the surrounding bank in the north west corner of the ponds may mark the position of a second gully but there is no evidence of this continuing beyond the edge of the ponds.
All modern fences are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.
Book Reference - Author: Hart, C R - Title: North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500 - Date: 1981 - Page References: 128-129
Book Reference - Author: Page, W - Title: Victoria History of the County of Derby - Date: 1905 - Page References: 330 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Parker, Rosalie - Title: The Manor House sites of Snitterton: Lead, Land and the Gentry.. - Date: 1991 - Page References: 1-40 - Type: DESC TEXT