Ancient Monuments

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St Aylott's moated site and fishpond

A Scheduled Monument in Sewards End, Essex

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Latitude: 52.0354 / 52°2'7"N

Longitude: 0.2869 / 0°17'12"E

OS Eastings: 556961.581397

OS Northings: 239911.123566

OS Grid: TL569399

Mapcode National: GBR MBZ.7CW

Mapcode Global: VHHL4.X3JH

Entry Name: St Aylott's moated site and fishpond

Scheduled Date: 21 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011472

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20725

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Sewards End

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex


The monument known as St Aylott's includes a quadrangular shaped moated site
and fishpond situated on high ground 2km south-west of Ashdon church. It
includes two areas. The moated site measures 62m NE-SW by 65m NW-SE. The arms
are waterfilled and measure between 5m and 13m in width. A causeway, 5m wide,
gives access to the island across the western arm. Another causeway, which has
been widened in recent years from 3m to approximately 7m, gives access across
the eastern arm. The extension of the moat at the south-western corner has
been filled in recent years but is preserved as a buried feature and is
included in the scheduling. The island is occupied by a house, which was built
in c.1500 and is Listed Grade I, and a contemporary dovecote (Listed Grade II)
along with other, more modern, farm buildings.
35m west of the moat is a sub-rectangular fishpond which is waterfilled and
measures 20m NW-SE by a maximum of 10m NE-SW. The pond marked on the map
north-east of the moat has been filled-in with building and farm debris and is
not considered well enough preserved to be included in the scheduling. The
site was once the property of Walden Abbey and formed part of the manor of St
Aylott's. The name is derived from St Aylott who is said to have been martyred
here. A chapel dedicated to him existed here in the 15th century.
The house, dovecote, outbuildings and driveway are all excluded from the
scheduling though the ground beneath them 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.

St Aylott's moated site survives well and will retain archaeological
information pertaining to its occupation. Its relationship with Walden Abbey
and St Aylott are of particular interest. The waterfilled 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: 145, Information from SMR,

Source: Historic England

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