Ancient Monuments

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Ashen House moat and fishpond, 500m north of St Augustine's Church.

A Scheduled Monument in Ashen, Essex

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Latitude: 52.0561 / 52°3'21"N

Longitude: 0.5485 / 0°32'54"E

OS Eastings: 574824.288749

OS Northings: 242806.169801

OS Grid: TL748428

Mapcode National: GBR PFS.1HQ

Mapcode Global: VHJHK.GLB5

Entry Name: Ashen House moat and fishpond, 500m north of St Augustine's Church.

Scheduled Date: 22 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013762

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20768

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Ashen

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Ashen

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument at Ashen House includes a moated site and fishpond situated on a
north facing spur overlooking the River Stour, 500m north of Ashen parish
church. The moated site is rectangular in plan and measures 60m east-west by
50m north-south. The northern and western arms are water filled by a spring
and measure approximately 10m in width and 2m in depth. The northern arm has
been revetted on both sides in brick. The southern arm remains visible as a
dry hollow, also 10m in width and approximately 0.4m in depth. The eastern arm
is visible at its southern end as a slight terrace, approximately 0.3m high.
The northern part of the eastern arm is no longer visible on the ground but
will be preserved as a buried feature, its corner sealed by a small
outbuilding. A wooden footbridge, 2m wide, provides access to the island
across the northern arm of the moat although the main access to the island is
a causeway c.1.5m wide at the north eastern corner of the moat. The island is
occupied by a house which dates from c.1542, which is Listed Grade II.
A rectangular fishpond, which measures 22m east-west by 7.5m north-south and
is 0.6m deep, is situated 30m north of the moat. It is connected to the moat
by a leat, 1m wide, and has another leat running northwards from its north
eastern corner which allows the water to flow north to the river. The pond is
now dry but the pond, the whole of the southern leat, connecting it to the
moat, and a short length (10m long) of the leat to the north are included in
the scheduling.
The site is thought to have been the location of a chapel prior to the
construction of the present house, and the remains of the chapel and its
associated buildings will survive as buried features.
The house, outbuilding, fences, bridge and driveway 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 partial infilling of the moat arms, the moated site and fishpond at
Ashen House survive well and will retain archaeological information relating
to the original function and occupation of the site. The site contains a wide
diversity of components associated with moated sites including the moat and
island, the fishpond and the leats as well as the 16th century house and the
buried remains of the chapel, a relatively rare feature.
The fishpond, in particular, will provide information related to the economy
of the site. Organic remains will be preserved in the water filled moat
ditches. These remains will not only provide information about the
site itself but also the environment in which it was constructed and used.

Source: Historic England


SMR No 6979, Information From SMR,

Source: Historic England

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