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Moated site in Paddock Wood 560m north-east of Chesterford Park

A Scheduled Monument in Saffron Walden, Essex

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Latitude: 52.0636 / 52°3'49"N

Longitude: 0.2409 / 0°14'27"E

OS Eastings: 553710.634225

OS Northings: 242954.475186

OS Grid: TL537429

Mapcode National: GBR MBJ.MPZ

Mapcode Global: VHHKY.4D6C

Entry Name: Moated site in Paddock Wood 560m north-east of Chesterford Park

Scheduled Date: 26 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008558

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20688

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Saffron Walden

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Great Chesterford All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a moated site situated in the south-west corner of
Paddock Wood on a west-facing slope overlooking the River Cam, 560m north-east
of Chesterford Park. It is defined by an irregular shaped moat and measures
68m east-west by 64m north-south. The arms are partly waterlogged and are 8m
wide and 1.5m in depth. A central ditch 6m wide part bisects the island and
is thought to be a later feature on the site.
The Domesday Book indicates that the surrounding lands were within the manor
of Manhall , but it is thought that until c1600 the manor house was located
2.75km south-west of the moat. In 1257 Richard, Earl of Gloucester, was
granted a licence to build a castle on his land at Manhall. From 1970 to 1977
excavations were carried out by the Chesterford Park Archaeological Society in
order to investigate the theory that the castle was built on this site. A
crude stone wall was uncovered along with some metalwork finds including a
knife blade with a silver damascene initial and pottery dating from the 13th
or 14th centuries.

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.

As confirmed by partial excavation, the moated site in Paddock Wood is well
preserved and will retain further archaeological information relating to the
occupation and development of the site as well as environmental evidence
pertaining to the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they

Source: Historic England


Smith, D W, Report to Archaeology Section of Essex County Council, (1976)
SMR No 4757, Information from SMR (No. 4757),

Source: Historic England

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