Ancient Monuments

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Chitham's Farm moated site

A Scheduled Monument in South Hanningfield, Essex

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Latitude: 51.6342 / 51°38'3"N

Longitude: 0.4642 / 0°27'51"E

OS Eastings: 570631.645057

OS Northings: 195697.313747

OS Grid: TQ706956

Mapcode National: GBR PLP.J62

Mapcode Global: VHJKN.0671

Entry Name: Chitham's Farm moated site

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016803

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33250

County: Essex

Civil Parish: South Hanningfield

Built-Up Area: Ramsden Heath

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Downham St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a medieval moated site surrounding Chitham's Farm on the
western side of the village of Ramsden Heath.

The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island which measures a maximum
of 64m north-south by 44m east-west. This is contained by a water-filled moat
or ditch, measuring up to 8m wide and at least 2m in depth. The brick
revetting, visible along the southern arm of the moat, is thought to be
relatively modern but may have replaced an earlier retaining wall. The north
eastern corner of the moat, which has been partly infilled, survives as a
shallow earthwork measuring up to 0.4m in depth. A causeway across the
eastern arm of the moat is depicted on the 1805 enclosure map of Ramsden
Bellhouse and is believed to represent the original entrance to the moat.
The house located on the north western corner of the island has been extended
in recent years but is believed to have originated in the 16th century. A
covered well is situated on the north west corner of the island.

The house, the sunken garden, the swimming pool, the tarmac and brick drive,
the summer house, swimming pool shed, stone steps, pathways, outside lights,
the bridges across the north, east, south and west arms of the moat, the patio
and the septic tank are all excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath and surrounding these features 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.

Chitham's Farm moated site survives well. Despite extensions to the house and
other modern activities, the island remains largely undisturbed and will
retain buried evidence for earlier structures, and other features relating to
the development and character of the site throughout the periods of
occupation. The buried silts in the base of the ditches will contain both
artefacts relating to early habitation of the site and environmental evidence
for the appearance of the landscape in which the monument was set.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are relatively numerous, with
a further example site situated at Downham Hall, in the parish of South
Hanningfield, 2.5km to the ESE. Comparative studies between these sites and
with further examples from other regions, will provide valuable insights into
the development of settlement and many other aspects of medieval society in

Source: Historic England


Royal Commission for Historical Monuments: Essex, (1923)
Title: Map of Ramsden Bellhouse
Source Date: 1805
Essex Records Office Ref: D/DHt P40
TQ79-003, Sellers, E E, Moated Site Research Group,

Source: Historic England

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