Ancient Monuments

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Coldharbour Moat

A Scheduled Monument in Essendon, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.7364 / 51°44'10"N

Longitude: -0.1425 / 0°8'32"W

OS Eastings: 528362.593469

OS Northings: 205817.456573

OS Grid: TL283058

Mapcode National: GBR JB3.0SN

Mapcode Global: VHGPT.HM18

Entry Name: Coldharbour Moat

Scheduled Date: 2 January 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010744

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20611

County: Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Essendon

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Essendon

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


Coldharbour Moat, situated in Friday Field south of Essendon, is a rectangular
shaped moat. It measures c.73m north-west/south-east by c.70m north-east/
south-west. The arms measure c.9m in width and between c.1.5m and 1.8m in
depth, apart from the southern arm which is silted up. The western arm is
presently waterlogged. During excavations in 1939 the remains of a building
were discovered in the north-west corner of the island. The building can be
dated to the early 14th century by the pottery sherds found in association
with it. Pottery dating from the 15th to 16th centuries was also recovered
indicating that the site had a history of use over at least 300 years. It is
thought that the moated site represents the remains of the manor house of
Hornbeamgate, first documented in 1370.

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.

Coldharbour Moat is well documented both archaeologically and historically.
It is well preserved and there is high potential for the recovery of organic
deposits due to waterlogging. Although partially excavated, a substantial
area of the site is undisturbed and retains considerable archaeological

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Rutherford - Davies, , 'TEHAS' in , , Vol. Xl, (1940), 11-15
SMR No: 070250, Information from SMR,

Source: Historic England

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