Priory, Moat and Three Fish Ponds, Ulverscroft Priory, Ulverscroft (Ancient Monument)

Geo: 52.7097, -1.2604
Date ListedFri 22nd January, 1993
CategoryScheduled Ancient Monument
AddressPriory, Moat & Three Fish Ponds Ulverscroft Priory Ulverscroft
GradeAncient Monuments
Grid ReferenceSK5006612702
LBSMonument Number 17087
Volume, Map, Item17087
WardForest Bradgate

Ulverscroft Priory is located on the relatively high ground of the Charnwood granite upland region of Leicestershire and includes the ruined priory buildings three arms of a moat and three fishponds.
The priory of St Mary was founded in 1134 by Robert Earl of Leicester and was taken over by the Augustinians in 1174. The visible ruins date from the 13th century with the greater part dating from the 14th 15th centuries. The ruins of the priory church are located to the north of the cloister and measure 45m x 18m overall. The church retains considerable remains of the 15th century tower, the nave and north aisle walls with a quantity of floor tiles in situ in the chancel. The cloister to the south originally measured 20m x 20m internally. It is enclosed on three sides by the remains of granite walled buildings. On the west side is a building interpreted as a guest house and on the south side is a 13th century refectory and prior?s lodging house. The refectory contains an almost complete pair of 15th century windows. An area of blank wall to the south is thought to have had an adjoining kitchen now demolished to the south. An 18th century cottage and a dairy were built on to the north side of the refectory. The prior?s lodging was three storeys high and was later converted to a farmhouse in the 17th & 18th centuries when a central chimneystack was inserted. The farmhouse which is included in the scheduling is unoccupied today. The east range of the cloister was demolished at the Dissolution in 1539. Following the Dissolution the priory was granted to Thomas the 1st, Earl of Rutland.
The earthworks associated with these ruins include an extensive water filled moat, the western arm measuring 125m, the southern 75m and the western 100m in length. The average width of the moat is 15m and a large retaining bank was built on the south and western sides where the surrounding ground is marshy. There is no evidence for a northern arm. A large sub rectangular fishpond measuring 100m x 75m is situated at the northern termination of the western arm. It is water filled and embanked on the southern and western sides. To the north of the large fishpond is a second sub rectangular fishpond measuring 50m x 30m embanked on the western side but disturbed by a 19th century pond, Ulverscroft Pond, on the northern side. To the east of the two fishponds is a third pond measuring 80m x 15m which shows slight evidence of embanking.
Inhabited buildings and modern barns to the east of the cloister are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

The description above describes the salient features of the building as it was at the date of listing. It is given in order to aid identification; it is not intended to be either comprehensive or exclusive.