Ancient Monuments

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Moated site in Orchard Wood

A Scheduled Monument in West Hoathly, West Sussex

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Latitude: 51.0441 / 51°2'38"N

Longitude: -0.0525 / 0°3'9"W

OS Eastings: 536619.192145

OS Northings: 128992.768148

OS Grid: TQ366289

Mapcode National: GBR KMV.KJX

Mapcode Global: FRA B6SC.7C9

Entry Name: Moated site in Orchard Wood

Scheduled Date: 4 June 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010498

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20012

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: West Hoathly

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Highbrook All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a rectangular moated site comprising an island 55m
east-west by 35m north-south surrounded by a partly water-filled moat. On the
island there is evidence of earthworks with an area in the south-east corner
of the island, c.0.5m higher than the rest of the interior, possibly
representing a house platform. The moat was stream-fed, with an inlet in the
north-west corner and an outlet in the south-east. The north arm is still
visible but has been silted and eroded by the stream which now leaves the moat
in the north-east corner. The west arm of the moat remains water-filled and
is c.60m long and 15m wide, while the south and east arms, c.70m and 60m long
respectively, both with a width of 12m, are now dry. The north-west corner of
the moat is the site of the original causeway which provided access to the
island. The land on which the moated site was constructed slopes to the east
and the site for the monument was therefore levelled. To the west the site is
dug into the slope and beyond the ditch the ground surface has been levelled
for a further 11m to a point 2m below the surrounding ground surface. To the
east there is an outer retaining bank which is 7m wide and stands to a height
of 4m. This bank continues around the north-east and south-east corners of
the ditch and was designed to retain the water in the moat as it is above the
level of the ground further west.
Field names on a 19th century map show `Moat Orchard' as a plot within Orchard
Wood, indicating that the island was used as an orchard.
The fencing surrounding the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath 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.

The moated site in Orchard Wood survives well, the waterlogging of some areas
of the moat providing ideal conditions for the survival of organic remains and
environmental evidence relating both to the economy of the site and the
landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Title: Tithe Map (West Hoathly)
Source Date: 1841

Source: Historic England

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