Ancient Monuments

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Moated site immediately west of Skreens Lodge

A Scheduled Monument in Willingale, Essex

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Latitude: 51.7477 / 51°44'51"N

Longitude: 0.3424 / 0°20'32"E

OS Eastings: 561796.155397

OS Northings: 208043.333368

OS Grid: TL617080

Mapcode National: GBR NHV.9D0

Mapcode Global: VHHMJ.WBCJ

Entry Name: Moated site immediately west of Skreens Lodge

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016801

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33248

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Willingale

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Willingale St Christopher with Shellow and Berners Roding

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a medieval moated site immediately west of Skreens
Lodge, south of the road between Roxwell and Willingale and 210m to the ESE of
Shellow Cross Farm.

The moated site includes a rectangular island which measures a maximum of 58m
east-west by approximately 30m north-south. The island is contained by a moat
or ditch measuring a maximum of 1.5m in depth and up to 5m wide on the west,
south, and east sides. The majority of the northern arm of the moat, except
for a 20m section at its eastern end, survives as a buried feature. A leat
extends for a short distance to the east from the north east corner, towards
Hangman's Spring which is thought to have served as the principal water
supply. A sample of this feature is included in the scheduling.

Both the 1800 Estate map of Willingale Doe and Shellow Bowells and the 1837
tithe map of Willingale depict the moat with the greater part of the north
side missing, suggesting that the northern arm was filled in prior to 1800.
When the site was visited in 1976 by the Moated Site Research Group it was
recorded that the northern arm remained visible as a vague depression.

All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them
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.

The moated site immediately west of Skreens Lodge survives well. The island is
largely undisturbed and will retain buried evidence for structures and other
features relating to former periods of occupation. The buried silts in the
base of the ditches will contain artefacts relating to the period of
occupation and environmental evidence for the appearance of the landscape in
which the monument was set. In particular, the partly infilled arm will
preserve archaeological deposits illustrating the earliest use of the site.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are relatively numerous,
enabling chronological and social variations to be explored. Further moated
sites are situated at Shellow Hall, Willingale, 1.3km to the west and to the
east of The Old Rectory, Willingale Doe, 2km to the WSW. Comparative studies
between these sites and further examples from other regions, will provide
valuable insights into the development of settlement and many other aspects of
medieval society in England.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Moated Sites Research Group' in Moated Sites Research Group, (1976)
Essex Record Office Ref: D/P 339/3/5, Willingale Doe and Shellow Bowells, (1800)
Title: Willingale Tithe Map
Source Date: 1837
Essex Record Office Ref: D/CT/402

Source: Historic England

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