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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 329071

Hob Uid: 329071
Location :
Worcestershire
Bromsgrove
Alvechurch
Grid Ref : SP0329072510
Summary : The buried and earthwork remains of the palace of the Bishops of Worcester and the moat associated with it. The double-island moated site of the palace lies in the north western part of the monument and is rectangular in shape. To the south east of the palace lies a second, single-island, sub-rectangular moat. To the north, east and south of this moated site is a large area of fishponds and other water management features (SP 07 SW 22). The palace is documented from around AD 1230, although the deer park is recorded from about AD 1160 and manorial records survive to the time of King Offa. In the 16th century Leyland recorded that the decayed timber palace had been recently restored by Bishop Latimer. An estate map of 1701 recorded both parts of the moat as orchards and the buildings had certainly been demolished by around 1780. The palace site, now known as The Moat House, measures 190 metres by 80 metres and is orientated north west-south east. The northern island is the larger, measuring 80 metres by 60 metres. The main domestic building was sited on this island. Partial excavation on the moat island has confirmed that domestic buildings survive on the platforms. The island to the south east, measuring 60 metres square, has an uneven surface with large depressions indicating the survival of either building or garden remains. The circuit of the moat is complete except along the north western arm where it has been partly infilled. The moat is waterlogged and is 5-10 metres wide across the top and 1-2 metres deep. To the south east of the palace lies a second sub-rectangular moated site, known as the 'Bishops Garden'. The island measures 15 metres by 10 metres and its surface is uneven.
More information : (SP 03127263) Bishop's Palace (NR) (Site of) (SP 03357255) Fish Pond (NR) (Site of) (1)

The existence of a palace on this site is recorded in the Domesday Book where the Bishop of Worcester's house hold is listed. The estate has been in monastic hands since the gift of the manor to the monastery of Breedon, Leicestershire, by Offa in 780, the possessions of which passed to Worcester in 964. The palace stood within the western of the two moats in the garden of The Moat House. The moats are fed by a well engineered artificial channel leading from a weir at Radford Farm (SP 042733). The 'fayr manor place made all of timber work', mentioned by Leland in 1535-43, was pulled down in 1780. Excavations in 1951 north of The Moat House revealed a possibly 13th century agricultural building and some ditches. The palace had its own deer park, first mentioned in 1186, and in 1299 two fishponds with islands in them were stated to lie within it. These ponds are now dry but the islands can still be seen. (2-3)

Plan of 1701 shows park pales to deer park. (4)

The complex system of earthworks at Alvechurch (see plan) has as its main feature, a double moat situated on a steep slope, supplied by an engineered leat from Radford, with an overflow leat at F to the river. There are two further overflows at D and E. The leat supplying the town mill leaves the river at G and the mill survives as a small factory. A large dam K, 12 ft high, almost intact, retains a mill pond fed by a stone built sluice L.

There is a breach, M, which may represent a further mill. A 'channel' at N probably represents a road. Below the dam are two depressions O and P each with a mound at the southern end representing fishponds with an island probably to provide resting places for water fowl. The course of the river itself has been changed in constructing these works. (5)

The site of the Bishop's Palace is generally as described by Aston and Oswald. The moat is in good condition and mainly water-filled.

The earthen pond-bay at SP 03407256 averages 4.5m high externally and 2.2m high internally. There is no trace of a mill, but it would logically have been sited at the southern end of the pond bay. Below the dam are two dry fishponds averaging 3.5m deep, 130.0m in length and 14.0m wide. The northern pond is in excellent condition and has an island at its western end. The retaining dam of the southern pond has virtually disappeared and no island can now be recognised although there are traces of what appear to be two small overflow channels or ditches on its north side.
Published survey (1:2500) of moat revised. Pond-bay and fishponds surveyed on MSD. (6)

Boundary of park shown. (Plotted on Field Sheet). (7)

Apart from short stretches along the west side and much of the south east side (where it runs through modern development at Rowney Green) the course of the boundary of the park is marked by hedgerows. (8)

The whole complex is a major example of medieval water engineering. (9)

Additional reference. (10)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1955
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Worcester: volume three
Source details :
Page(s) : 253
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 13-Mar-98
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham Archaeological Society transactions, excursions and reports
Source details :
Page(s) : 05-Sep
Figs. : PLANS
Plates :
Vol(s) : 72 (1954)
Source Number : 4
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Letter (M Aston 24.11.69)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society
Source details : (MA Aston)
Page(s) : 55-9
Figs. : MAPS
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3rd series 3, 1970-2
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 DJC 05-FEB-76
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Survey of Allchurch Park 1701 (J Booth) (Worcs County Record Office 4437)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 DJC 25-AUG-76
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Medieval fish, fisheries and fishponds in England
Source details : Part ii
Page(s) : 442-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 182 (i-ii)
Source Number : 10
Source : Field and forest: an historical geography of Warwickshire and Worcestershire
Source details :
Page(s) : 275-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Documented 780
Monument End Date : 780
Monument Start Date : 780
Monument Type : Manor
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Recorded for around AD 1160
Monument End Date : 1170
Monument Start Date : 1150
Monument Type : Deer Park
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Documented around AD 1230
Monument End Date : 1240
Monument Start Date : 1220
Monument Type : Moat, Bishops Palace
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : HW 195
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Hereford & Worcestershire)
External Cross Reference Number : 1829
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 30009
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 07 SW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 329099
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 872014
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1174899
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, BISHOP'S PALACE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1951-01-01
End Date : 1952-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 07 SW 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1976-02-05
End Date : 1976-02-05
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 07 SW 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1976-08-25
End Date : 1976-08-25
Associated Activities : Primary, THE MOAT HOUSE, THE BISHOP'S PALACE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31