Ancient Monuments

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Paynsley Hall moated site and outer enclosure

A Scheduled Monument in Draycott in the Moors, Staffordshire

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Latitude: 52.9395 / 52°56'22"N

Longitude: -2.0209 / 2°1'15"W

OS Eastings: 398689.736884

OS Northings: 338015.600207

OS Grid: SJ986380

Mapcode National: GBR 26M.RW0

Mapcode Global: WHBD8.XCTT

Entry Name: Paynsley Hall moated site and outer enclosure

Scheduled Date: 8 November 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011050

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21512

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Draycott in the Moors

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Draycott-le-Moors St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the earthwork remains of a moated site which is enclosed
within an outer ditched enclosure and an area of ridge and furrow cultivation.
It is located in an isolated context and covers an area of approximately
Paynsley Hall moated site is bounded on its north-east, north-west and
south-east sides by a shallow, waterlogged, outer ditched enclosure up to 10m
wide. The north-east side of the enclosure ditch is approximately 230m long.
There are the remains of a slight external bank beyond the north-eastern
edge of the outer enclosure. At its eastern corner are traces of an outlet
channel, the remains of which are included in the scheduling. There is a
linear earthwork beyond the south-eastern edge of the outer ditched enclosure
which has been modified by linear quarrying. The linear earthwork is
considered to be the remains of a mutilated track or hollow way. The south-
west side of the outer ditched enclosure is not visible at ground level but
will survive as a buried feature running between the western and southern
corners of the site. Centrally placed within the outer ditched enclosure is a
moated site which has ditches up to 18m wide. The moated island
has an irregular plan and is approximately 45m wide. It is slightly raised and
is occupied by the 16th-century timber-framed house, called Paynsley Hall. At
the south-easten edge of the moated island the moat widens to form a
rectangular fishpond area which is 50m wide.
The pond area is now dry and is bounded by a retaining bank on its north-east
and south-east sides. The interior of the pond contains two mounds which
represent artificial islands, probably provided for waterfowl. The
south-western edge of the pond is no longer evident at ground level but will
survive as a buried feature in the vicinity of the modern boundary south-west
of Paynsley Hall. To the south-west of the moated island are the earthwork
remains of ridge and furrow cultivation and the remains of a length of
walling. The line of the wall can be traced as a slight earthwork and, in
parts, it survives above ground as a low sandstone wall. Both the ridge and
furrow and the sandstone walling overlie the remains of the south-western
outer ditch and are included in the scheduling.
The Draycot family held the manor at Paynsley from the time of William the
Conqueror until the end of the 18th century. The moated site is believed to
have been occupied by a fortified manor house prior to the construction of the
present building.
Excluded from the scheduling are the 16th-century timber-framed house which is
a Grade II listed building, the agricultural outbuildings and cattle pens, the
surfaces of the trackways and all fence posts but the ground beneath all these
features 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 monument survives well and has good historical documentation. The moated
island will retain considerable structural and artefactual evidence for the
original fortified manor house known to have existed on the island whilst the
moat and ditch system will retain evidence for the environment and economy of
its inhabitants. The monument represents a fine example of a combined moated
site and water-management complex.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Masefield, C, Staffordshire, (1918), 125-126
Plant, R, The History of Cheadle in Staffordshire, (1881), 179-181
Hammer, M E, 'Staffordshire Archaeology' in The Moated Sites of Staffordshire, , Vol. 3, (1974), 38

Source: Historic England

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