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Upper Barn moat

A Scheduled Monument in Wistanstow, Shropshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.4697 / 52°28'10"N

Longitude: -2.8527 / 2°51'9"W

OS Eastings: 342168.570261

OS Northings: 286092.538401

OS Grid: SO421860

Mapcode National: GBR BD.KGCN

Mapcode Global: VH766.H6Q2

Entry Name: Upper Barn moat

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1954

Last Amended: 19 November 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012455

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13685

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Wistanstow

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Wistanstow with Cwm Head

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

Upper Barn moat lies 1km to the north-west of Wistanstow. The site is
situated in an elevated position on a south-east facing slope overlooking the
village. The site is almost square and covers an area measuring 78m x 80m.
The moat island is surrounded by a flat-bottomed ditch 2.5m deep and 10m wide.
This ditch is waterlogged and fed by a stream which enters the site on the
north-western corner and runs out through a modern gap in the bank on the
south-eastern corner of the moat. The moat island stands 1m above the
surrounding land surface and the uneven interior suggests the presence of
buried structures. A causewayed entrance 3m wide crosses the moat ditch in
the north-western corner and gives access to the interior. There is an outer
bank, 6m wide and 1.5m high, on the south and east sides of the moat ditch and
traces of remains of an outer bank on the west side. Upper Barn is a medieval
homestead moat which is isolated from any contemporaneous settlement. The
location may be attributed to woodland clearance, or assarting, which provided
additional agricultural land during a period of intensive agricultural
expansion in the area.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Upper Barn moat is a good example of an isolated moated site reflecting the
rise in wealth of the area after wholesale woodland clearance in the later
medieval period. The site is essentially undisturbed and will retain
considerable potential for both archaeological and environmental evidence.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Watson, M D, 'West Midlands Archaeology' in Medieval Moated Sites in Shropshire, , Vol. 24, (1981), 35-44

Source: Historic England

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