Ancient Monuments

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Blithewood moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Leigh, Staffordshire

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Latitude: 52.9263 / 52°55'34"N

Longitude: -2.0152 / 2°0'54"W

OS Eastings: 399074.097822

OS Northings: 336542.040005

OS Grid: SJ990365

Mapcode National: GBR 26V.FBQ

Mapcode Global: WHBD9.0QN0

Entry Name: Blithewood moated site

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1969

Last Amended: 21 January 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011883

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13467

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Leigh

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Upper Tean Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes a well preserved double moated site with an additional
moated arm on the E side.
The site includes a raised grassy island measuring c.52m x 48m surrounded by
a wet inner moat c.10m wide x 4.5m max. depth, beyond which is a flat-topped
intermediate bank c.9m wide on the W side and 18m wide on the E. A wet outer
moat c.10m wide x 4m max. depth surrounds these features. A dry channel
issues from the SE corner of the inner moat and, cutting into the intermediate
bank, connects with the outer moat. On the E side two external banks are
separated by a waterlogged third moated arm c.7m wide which runs the full
length of the monument. External banks also exist on the S, W and N sides,
the former measuring c.8m wide x 0.5m high being the most prominent.
The monument at Blithewood is largely undisturbed; however, a small excavation
in 1846 found chain armour and medieval leather shoes. All fence posts along
the E edge of the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although 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.

The monument survives in good condition, its earthworks being particularly
evident. The site is a rare and unusual example in Staffordshire of a double
moated site which has an additional moated arm on one side and illustrates
well the diversity in form of this class of monument. Additionally the site
is unencumbered by modern development and will retain considerable evidence of
the structural foundations of the buildings on the island, and further finds
of artefacts associated with the occupation of the monument.

Source: Historic England


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
English Heritage Rec Off SAM Report Print form T,
PRN NO. 182, Staffordshire SMR, Blithewood: Checkley,

Source: Historic England

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