Moigne Court, Owermoigne

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are major building remains

NameMoigne Court, Owermoigne
Alternative NamesOgre
Historic CountryDorset
Modern AuthorityDorset
1974 AuthorityDorset
Civil ParishOwermoigne

Moated house with first floor hall. Late C13 with C16 alterations to fenestration, c 1900 south cross range on the site of original solar wing. c.1900 north east wing. Coursed rubblestone walls and stone quoins. Slate roofs with gable ends, and 1900, gable to south west. Brick stacks on ridge in from north gable end, and at ridge centre. C13 stack embrasure on west elevation, with weathering on south face chimney. Stack removed. West front, C13 block, 2 storeys. 5 windows, ground floor windows are of 3 light, with straight chamfered stone mullions one C16, remainder are C19 renewed. First floor, north end has three C13 windows, each of two trefoiled lights, with a quatrefoil in plate tracery under a 2 centred head. The head and jambs are moulded and rebated, and of Purbeck stone, the tracery is of Ham Hill stone. Internally the windows are finished with attached shafts with moulded bases and capitals carrying hollow chamfered rear arches, southern-most has an internal moulded label. The middle window has a shallow buttress-like projection of the wall below it, which may have supported the chimney breast of a hall fireplace where the window now is. The windows have C19 iron casements with horizontal glazing-bars. The gabled north end has a single stage buttress to the west, the doorway is C20. The east wall of the C13 block has a ground floor doorway, not original, with a C19 arched head. A doorway to the upper storey, C13, converted to a window. This has a moulded two centred arched head, continuous jambs and a moulded label cut away at the ends, the depressed segmental rear arch is moulded, matching the rear arch of a doorway further north. Interior: of C13 block, cross wall on the ground floor probably original. The room south of it has had a large fireplace and has probably a kitchen. Opposed doorways immediately north of the cross wall suggest a through passage, under the south end of the hall

c1903 south cross range, 2½ storeys, 2 windows to west gabled wall, 2 and 3 light straight chamfered stone mullions with C19 iron casements. Front doorway at left ground has moulded jambs and 4 centred head with label over. 2 leaf door glazed is C20. South end hall has two C19 French windows. North east range, c.1900, stone with brick end wall and stack over 2 and 3 light C20 windows. C20 doors. (Listed Building Report)

Moat The now dry moat surrounding the house encloses a square area of about 2/3 acre. The much overgrown sides are 52 metres long and partially filled-in, except for the southern arm which is 1.5m - 2.5 metres deep and 15 metres wide at its top with a flat bottom 7.5 metres wide. On the north side the ditch is only 1 metre deep; the foundations of a bridge were found on this side in the 19th century.

Chapel. To the north of the moat, according to Hutchins, the foundations of a building, considered to be the remain of a chapel, were removed. Not traced by RCHM.

Earthworks To the east of the moat, "extensive remains of foundations" were discovered according to Hutchins, and beyond these lay a series of enclosures surrounded by a ditch and for a much of the perimeter by an inner bank now 1 metre high.

Excavation of this enclosure area by D J Viner and P R Walker in 1971-73 proved that the ditch had been re-cut at least twice and part of one central platform was constructed of limestone and chalk. A stone wall, almost totally robbed, showed evidence that slight timber buildings, possibly open-sided lean-to structures, had been aligned along its north face. On the south a post-hole pattern suggested similar structures. Excavation of a second platform revealed a robbed stone-walled building with chalk floor, about 36m x 8 metres which probably served as a cow-shed or stable. At right angles to this building and separated by a cobbled yard was another stone-walled structure some 27m x 7 metres and divided into a screens-passage, hall, closet, "parlour" and kitchen. The building was identified as the main living-house of a Tudor yeoman farmer which had been constructed in the early 16th century and extensively robbed by the late 17th/early 18th centuries. A stable annexe to the north of the building had accommodated the household riding horses.

Large quantities of 3rd and 4th century pottery and some building debris were found in a 'sondage' (deep trench to investigate stratigraphy) about 100 metres south east of the yeoman farmer's house, and suggested that a substantial structure, possibly a villa, stood in this part of the field. Further evidence of Romano-British material was found sealed beneath the floor of the yeoman farmer's house and included quantities of painted wall plaster, pegged roof-tiles and other building debris; this had apparently been used as packing for the foundations of the yeoman's house in the early 16th century.

Other features Two, almost rectangular, flat-topped mounds at SY 77008573 and SY 77008567 measuring 3ft and 5ft respectively are of unknown purpose. To the north west of the moat surrounding Moigne Court are four fish ponds set round a rhomboidal area, that were probably once joined by a channel with sluices. Leats from a stream 100 yds to the west once fed and drained them (RCHME).

The moat is generally as described, and is partly water-filled on the south, but now very overgrown.

The alleged site of the chapel (SY 77078578) lies in a vegetable garden; there is no evidence of a building.

Of the four fish-ponds to the north-west of the house, three are water-filled and surrounded by dense vegetation.

The mound noted by RCHM at SY 77008573, ('A'), has been virtually levelled; that at SY 77008567, ('B'), is 18.0m in diameter, 1.5m high and tree-covered. Two additional mounds at SY 76928571, ('C'), and SY 76978571, ('D'), are each 9.0m in diameter and 1.0m high. No date or purpose can be ascribed to any of these mounds.

The site of the sixteenth-century yeoman's farmhouse and the Romano-British occupation and possible villa site lie in the field centred SY 772857 to the east of the house.

Most of the earthworks shown on OS 25" 1902 and RCHM plan have been levelled and the site of the excavation is not identifiable. The major identifiable remains include a bank and ditch (SY 77148578 - SY 77218577), building platforms at SY 77118577 and SY 77158568, and a linear bank (SY 77138577 - SY 77138570). The large bank on the south side of the field may be connected with the earthworks in Bartlett's Coppice (SY 78 NE 20).

The field centred at SY 76938577 is bounded on the north, West and South by banks up to 9.0m wide and 1.0m high. A similar bank runs parallel to Castle Lane on its north side. Their date and purpose are uncertain (F2 JGB 25-JAN-80)

The linear earthworks to the W of Moigne Court appear to have been formerly integrated into a leat system - traces of sluices still survive - and may possibly represent the remains of an early post-Medieval stew-pond system or formal ?water-garden layout (F3 JWS 01-FEB-80). (PastScape)

Grant, at the instance of Queen Eleanor, to William le Moyne that he may close and strengthen his house at Ogre, Co. Dorset, with a good dyke and stone wall, but without making crenellations. (CPR)

Gatehouse Comments

Interesting and rare grant to fortify a house without crenellations. Crenellations, of themselves, do not add any strength to fortifications, especially in house with minimal garrisons. Their function, in such house, is almost entirely symbolic. This house was as strongly fortified as most crenellated houses which is that it was defensible against thieves, with its moat and wall, but not fortified.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSY771857
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  • Pevsner, N. and Newman J., 1972, Buildings of England: Dorset (London) p. 309-10
  • RCHME, 1970, An inventory of historical monuments in the County of Dorset Vol. 2: south-east (HMSO) p. 184-6 No. 2 (plan) online transcription
  • Pugh, R.B. (ed), 1968, VCH Dorset Vol. 3 p. 49, 143
  • Hutchin, J., 1861 (3edn org. pub. 1774), History of Dorset Vol. 1 p. 454-8 (Facsimile edn by EP Publishing produced 1973)


  • 1974, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 18 p. 209 download copy
  • Walker, P.R., 1973, 'Interim Report on Excavation, Moigne Court, Owermoigne, 1973' Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol. 95 p. 101
  • 1973, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 18 p. 174 download copy
  • 1972, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 18 p. 193 download copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1913, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1266-72) Vol. 6 p. 41 online copy


  • Upton, K.L., 1978, 'Moated sites of Dorset' - Thesis typescript p. 31-2