Ancient Monuments

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Hell Wood moated site and enclosure

A Scheduled Monument in Wormley and Turnford, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.725 / 51°43'30"N

Longitude: -0.0384 / 0°2'18"W

OS Eastings: 535580.553475

OS Northings: 204745.260192

OS Grid: TL355047

Mapcode National: GBR KCK.WMH

Mapcode Global: VHGPW.9W1Y

Entry Name: Hell Wood moated site and enclosure

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010746

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20610

County: Hertfordshire

Electoral Ward/Division: Wormley and Turnford

Built-Up Area: Hoddesdon

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Cheshunt

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The moated site at Hell Wood is situated north of Cheshunt about 500m east of
the A10. The monument comprises a rectangular moat with additional earthworks
to the north and north-east forming an adjacent enclosure. The moat itself
measures c.70m north-south by c.75m east-west. All four arms are waterlogged
and are c.17m wide and up to 4m deep. There is a causeway at the north-east
corner which is c.5m wide. The western boundary of the outer enclosure is
formed by a large bank approximately 3m high, 10m wide and 160m long. It is
on the same alignment as the western arm of the moat and is cut by the brook.
To the north, the boundary is formed by a ditch about 10m wide and 0.5m deep
with a maximum length of 360m. The enclosure is bounded on the south side by
the brook.

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 site at Hell Wood is an unusual example of a relatively small moat with a
very large attached enclosure. The massive size of the enclosure bank
probably indicates a defensive function for the site boundary. The well-
preserved nature of the enclosure and moat together with the waterlogged and
silted condition of the ditches offers considerable potential for the survival
of archaeological and environmental remains.

Source: Historic England


SMR No: 070250, Information from SMR,

Source: Historic England

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