Ancient Monuments

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Widdington Hall moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Widdington, Essex

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Latitude: 51.9631 / 51°57'47"N

Longitude: 0.2421 / 0°14'31"E

OS Eastings: 554135.482494

OS Northings: 231778.048322

OS Grid: TL541317

Mapcode National: GBR MCP.VBY

Mapcode Global: VHHLB.4XTG

Entry Name: Widdington Hall moated site

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007836

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20707

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Widdington

Built-Up Area: Widdington

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Widdington St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a moated site situated 100m east of Widdington church.
The original moat was rectangular in shape, measuring 115m north-south by 75m
east-west. There is no surface trace of the southern arm which has been
infilled and is preserved as a buried feature. The other arms are between 10m
and 15m in width. The eastern arm remains water-filled and the southern part
of it has been widened to form a large pond. An external bank 5m wide and 1m
high is visible on the northern arm. The island contains a house (Listed Grade
II), which dates from the 15th century and has later additions. The early
house consisted of a great hall with buttery and solar wings of which only
parts remain. Earthworks visible on the island indicate the location of the
other parts of the original house.
The name Widdington appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Widdingtuna. The
house, outbuildings, greenhouse, shed and driveway, which occupy the site at
present, are all excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 at Widdington Hall will retain archaeological information
pertaining to the occupation and development of the site. The water-filled
ditches will retain environmental evidence relating to the economy of its
inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Reaney, PH, Place names of Essex, (1935)
Information from the National Archaeological Record (TL53SW11),

Source: Historic England

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