REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution. This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers (secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms, bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange. Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands. On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological survival are identified as nationally important.
The monastic grange at Mouldridge Grange Farm survives as a well-preserved set of earthworks in the fields to the south of the present Grange Farm. In addition, there is a clear outline of the boundary bank for the farm which takes advantage of the terraces which shelter the site. The remains are visible from the road from Newhaven to Winster and so will have additional value as a resource for the educational and recreational enjoyment of the historic farming landscape in this area.
The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of a medieval monastic grange which was probably abandoned during the Dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century. The grange was a farmstead dependent on the Augustinian priory of Dunstable and worked by monks and lay workers of that order. Like many of the Augustinian granges in western Derbyshire this was founded on land which was good for both arable and stock rearing. The remains of buildings and stock enclosures are visible as upstanding earthworks in the slight hollow to the south of the present Mouldridge Grange Farm. To the south and east of the farm there are traces of a boundary bank standing up to 0.3m high and 8m wide at the base, which take advantage of a terrace overlooking the site. To the west of the site a natural shelf defines the western side of the grange enclosure. In the eastern corner of the enclosed area is a well, and in the centre there is a pond which may also be a feature of the original grange farm.
Book Reference - Author: Hart CA - Title: The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey - Date: 1981 - Type: DESC TEXT