Ancient Monuments

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Wincelow Hall moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Hempstead, Essex

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Latitude: 52.0199 / 52°1'11"N

Longitude: 0.3735 / 0°22'24"E

OS Eastings: 562956.380404

OS Northings: 238375.827481

OS Grid: TL629383

Mapcode National: GBR NDL.C7B

Mapcode Global: VHJHN.FH9F

Entry Name: Wincelow Hall moated site

Scheduled Date: 21 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011464

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20716

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Hempstead

Built-Up Area: Hempstead

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex


Wincelow Hall moated site is situated on high ground 500m north-west of
Hempstead Church. The monument includes a square-shaped moat, which measures
94m square and is orientated NE-SW, and an adjoining pond. The arms of the
moat are all waterfilled and measure between 9m and 12m in width. There are
two causeways which give access to the island; one is situated on the northern
arm, is 3m wide and is considered to be the original entrance to the site. The
other is situated on the western arm, is 6m wide and is currently used as the
main entrance. The present house dates from the late 19th century and is a
Grade II Listed Building. The previous house was demolished in 1886 and the
foundations and drainage system of that house were discovered during the
recent renovation of the present house. A pond situated 7m south-east of the
moat joins it through a small leat, 2m wide. The pond is seasonally
waterfilled, and measures 21m NW-SE by a maximum of 8m NE-SW.
The monument is that associated with the family of John Wynselowe in the late
13th century and in 1630 was the home of William Harvey, who discovered the
circulation of the blood.
The house, garage and septic tank are all excluded from the scheduling, though
the ground beneath the house and garage 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 at Wincelow Hall survives relatively well and will retain
archaeological information pertaining to its occupation and development. The
waterfilled ditches will also contain 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)

Source: Historic England

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