Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Moated site, 340m north east of Moorwell Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Alston Moor, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.8145 / 54°48'52"N

Longitude: -2.4452 / 2°26'42"W

OS Eastings: 371487.854936

OS Northings: 546716.753417

OS Grid: NY714467

Mapcode National: GBR CDCR.FX

Mapcode Global: WH91V.D7VZ

Entry Name: Moated site, 340m north east of Moorwell Bridge

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1964

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007134

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 373

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Alston Moor

Built-Up Area: Alston

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Alston Moor

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a medieval moated site situated on an east facing slope on the west side of the River South Tyne. The river forms the south east side of the moated site, with moat ditches with counterscarp banks forming the west and northern sides. The moated island is an artificially levelled mound of moraine upon which there are the buried remains of a building. In the vicinity of the monument there are further archaeological remains that have not been assessed for designation. Finds made during the 19th century indicate that a fortified house once stood on the mound.

PastScape Monument No:- 15068
Cumbria HER:- 775

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.
The moated site, 340m north east of Moorwell Bridge survives well. The monument is representative of its period and will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment. In addition, features such as the moat ditch will contain environmental deposits relating to the use of the surrounding landscape and information on earlier land use will be preserved within soils buried beneath the artificially raised ground.

Source: Historic England

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