Ancient Monuments

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Lea Hall moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Hatfield Heath, Essex

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Latitude: 51.816 / 51°48'57"N

Longitude: 0.2161 / 0°12'57"E

OS Eastings: 552847.925992

OS Northings: 215366.429245

OS Grid: TL528153

Mapcode National: GBR MFL.1FQ

Mapcode Global: VHHM2.PML6

Entry Name: Lea Hall moated site

Scheduled Date: 2 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012093

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20760

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Hatfield Heath

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Hatfield Heath Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument at Lea Hall includes a double moated site situated on a gentle
east facing slope, 750m north east of Hatfield Heath parish church. It
includes a complete sub-rectangular moat with a second moated enclosure to the
north. The southern moat is a maximum of 110m north-south by a maximum of 110m
east-west. The moat arms are an average of 9m in width and are all waterfilled
except the north western arm which has been partially infilled and survives as
a dry earthwork 0.5m deep. A causeway, 8m wide with a stone and concrete
bridge, gives access to the island across the northern arm. Three footbridges,
all built of wood and concrete, cross the moat on the east, south and west
arms. An internal bank, 0.5m high and 2m, wide surrounds the island to the
south, east and west. The island is occupied by a mid-17th century house, Lea
Hall, which has later additions and a modern outhouse and garage.
The northern moated enclosure has a maximum dimension of 70m north-south. The
northern arm is waterfilled and extends eastwards from a leat entering the
site from the north west. Including the leat, therefore, the northern arm has
an overall length of 130m and a maximum width of 11m. The western arm survives
as partially infilled dry earthwork 6m wide, 0.5m deep and 70m long,
continuing on the same alignment as the western arm of the southern moat. The
eastern arm and the eastern part of the platform have been greatly modified by
more recent buildings and infilling and are excluded from the scheduling.
The site of Lea Hall is first mentioned in 1306.
Lea Hall (Listed Grade II*), a piece of medieval window tracery now used as a
garden ornament (Listed Grade II), outhouse, bridges, driveway and garage 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.

Despite the infilling and the construction of modern buildings on the eastern
arm of the northern enclosure, Lea Hall moated site is a well-preserved
example of a double moated site: a comparatively rare category of moated site
in Essex. The monument will retain archaeological information relating to the
construction and occupation of the site, and the waterfilled ditches will
retain 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), 41

Source: Historic England

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