Ancient Monuments

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West End House moated site, 640m west of St Lawrence's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Ridgewell, Essex

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Latitude: 52.0387 / 52°2'19"N

Longitude: 0.5262 / 0°31'34"E

OS Eastings: 573363.498704

OS Northings: 240826.949906

OS Grid: TL733408

Mapcode National: GBR PFY.1W4

Mapcode Global: VHJHR.20JX

Entry Name: West End House moated site, 640m west of St Lawrence's Church

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012097

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20767

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Ridgewell

Built-Up Area: Ridgewell

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Ridgewell St Laurence

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument at West End House includes a medieval moated site situated on
relatively high ground to the north of the River Colne, immediately north of
the Stambourne Road (Drury Lane) and some 350m to the west of centre of the
village of Ridgewell.

The moated site is triangular in shape, defined by two arms of a water-filled
ditch which converge at a point some 105m to the north of Stambourne Road.
These ditches, fed by drainage, measure between 7.5m and 4m in width and
average approximately 2m in depth. The southern end of the eastern arm now
terminates some 50m from Drury Lane, although it is known to survive as a
buried feature reaching almost to the northern side of West End House
(approximately 25m from the road). The western arm similarly terminates some
30m short of the road, where it is joined by two channels - a narrow leat (not
included in the scheduling) extending westwards towards The Mill House and a
wider spur curving to the south east. The south eastern spur is shown as a
narrow drain continuing towards the road on maps dating back to 1873, although
this section has been considerably modified in recent times and is therefore
not included in the scheduling.

The interior of the monument is level and is thought to retain buried evidence
for the structures which the moat was originally designed to enclose. The
southern edge of the area flanked by the moat arms (along the road frontage)
is, however, not included in the scheduling. This area was formerly occupied
by an 18th and 19th century farm, of which only one building, West End House,
remains. Modern houses now occupy the site of the wider farm complex.

All outbuildings, fences and the surfaces of all paths are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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.

West End House moated site is an unusual shape, remains well preserved and
will retain archaeological information relating to the construction and
occupation of the site. The water-filled ditches will retain environmental
evidence relating to the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which
they lived.

The site is close to a second moated site at Moat Farm 250m to the south (the
subject of a separate scheduling) and associations such as this allow a study
of the relationships between different types of moated site and illustrate the
ways they functioned in the wider context of the village and the parish.

Source: Historic England


Title: Map of Essex
Source Date: 1777

Source: Historic England

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