Ancient Monuments

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Cornish Hall moated site and fishpond, 750m south of Cornish Hall End church

A Scheduled Monument in Finchingfield, Essex

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Latitude: 51.9941 / 51°59'38"N

Longitude: 0.4515 / 0°27'5"E

OS Eastings: 568407.589366

OS Northings: 235686.53482

OS Grid: TL684356

Mapcode National: GBR PG7.T4T

Mapcode Global: VHJHW.S41N

Entry Name: Cornish Hall moated site and fishpond, 750m south of Cornish Hall End church

Scheduled Date: 18 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008978

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20755

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Finchingfield

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Cornish Hall End St John

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument at Cornish Hall includes a moated site and fishpond situated on a
south west facing slope, 750m south of Cornish Hall End church. The moated
site is an irregular rectangle in shape and measures a maximum of 60m
east-west by 70m north-south. The western part of the moated site remains
visible as earthworks with moat arms which measure 6m in width and about 1m in
depth. The southern arm has been enlarged to form a pond for watering cattle
and remains water-filled all year from land drainage, whilst the western and
northern arms are seasonally water-filled. The eastern part of the moat has
been infilled but is preserved as a buried feature. The buried moat arms are
visible as shallow depressions on the same alignments as their western parts.
A causeway, 4m wide, gives access to the central island across the western arm
of the moat. The island has been levelled in order to provide a flat platform
and is at the prevailing ground level in its northern part, but is raised
approximately 1m in its southern part. A 15th century house, which is Listed
Grade II, and some modern outbuildings occupy the island. An irregularly
shaped fishpond, which measures 80m north-south by a maximum of 17m east-west,
is situated 6m south of the south western corner of the moat. It is also
water-filled by land drainage. A strip of land 19m wide, between the moat and
the fishpond, is included in the scheduling as this area is considered to
contain archaeological evidence for the relationship between the two features.
The site is first mentioned in 1235 as Norton and was renamed after the family
of Richard de `Cornerde' of Cornard in 1303.
The house, outhouses and the driveway are all excluded from the scheduling
though the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.

Even though the moat arms have been partially infilled, the moated site at
Cornish Hall survives in good condition and will retain archaeological
information relating to the occupation of the site. The moat itself and the
associated fishpond provide information on the control of water in the area.
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), 426-7

Source: Historic England

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