Ancient Monuments

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The Ryes moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Hatfield Heath, Essex

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Latitude: 51.8313 / 51°49'52"N

Longitude: 0.2165 / 0°12'59"E

OS Eastings: 552829.43159

OS Northings: 217064.034048

OS Grid: TL528170

Mapcode National: GBR MFD.1LC

Mapcode Global: VHHM2.P7VG

Entry Name: The Ryes moated site

Scheduled Date: 21 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011471

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20724

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Hatfield Heath

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Hatfield Broad Oak St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument known as The Ryes includes a rectangular moated site situated on
a south-east facing slope, overlooking the Pincey Brook, 2km north-west of
Hatfield Broad Oak church. The moated site measures 80m north-south by a
maximum of 72m east-west. The eastern moat arm is waterfilled and measures 8m
in width. The southern and western arms are visible as slight depressions
measuring between 4m and 8m in width and between 0.4m and 1m in depth. The
northern arm is no longer visible at ground level but is preserved as a buried
feature. An internal bank, 1m wide and approximately 0.6m high, runs along the
inside of the western arm, whilst a brick wall, considered to be 16th century
in date, runs parallel with the southern arm. The large irregular-shaped pond
situated to the north-west of the moat is not considered to have been part of
the moated site. A pond which was once situated to the south-west of the moat
has been infilled and is no longer visible at ground level. Neither of these
ponds are included in the scheduling.
The Ryes was the site of the manor house of the Chamberlaynes and the house
was demolished in c.1864.

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 Ryes moated site is well preserved and will retain archaeological
information pertaining to its occupation. The ditches will also retain
environmental evidence relating to the economy of its inhabitants and the
landscape in which they lived.

Source: Historic England


SMR No: 4312, Information from SMR,

Source: Historic England

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