Ancient Monuments

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Mobbs Hole moated site and decoy pond, Ashwell

A Scheduled Monument in Ashwell, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 52.078 / 52°4'40"N

Longitude: -0.1575 / 0°9'27"W

OS Eastings: 526360.867047

OS Northings: 243779.864316

OS Grid: TL263437

Mapcode National: GBR J5T.P0M

Mapcode Global: VHGN8.712C

Entry Name: Mobbs Hole moated site and decoy pond, Ashwell

Scheduled Date: 17 October 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012306

English Heritage Legacy ID: 11557

County: Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Ashwell

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Ashwell

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes the well-defined remains of a double island moated
site and adjacent decoy pond. The moated site comprises a small
enclosure, measuring some 55m by 40m, located within the western corner of
a larger enclosure, measuring 90m by 65m in external dimensions (inclusive
of both 7m wide surrounding waterfilled moats). The interiors of the moated
islands are flat apart from the remains of modern upcast banks from recent
A linear decoy pond is attached to the south corner of the moated site. The
pond measures some 100m in length and varies between 10m and 6m in width
tapering off towards its south-eastern end. The pond is thought to have been
constructed for trapping waterfowl but may also have functioned as an
outflow channel from the moats.

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.

Mobbs Hole is a good example of a double island moated site with an unusual
association with a decoy pond.

Source: Historic England


Murfitt, C M Mr, Information on Artifacts, (1989)
NAR Records,
NAR Records, (1972)

Source: Historic England

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