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Moated site immediately east of Heron Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Herongate and Ingrave, Essex

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Latitude: 51.6011 / 51°36'3"N

Longitude: 0.3666 / 0°21'59"E

OS Eastings: 563998.611241

OS Northings: 191793.099599

OS Grid: TQ639917

Mapcode National: GBR NKM.HJC

Mapcode Global: VHJKS.90NX

Entry Name: Moated site immediately east of Heron Hall

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016861

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33242

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Herongate and Ingrave

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Ingrave St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a medieval moated site immediately east of Heron Hall
and 1.2km north east of the village of Herongate.

The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island which measures a maximum
of 88m north-south and approximately 80m east-west, raised about 1m above the
surrounding ground surface. This island is contained by a water-filled moat or
ditch measuring up to 18m wide and at least 2m deep and revetted in brick on
both the inner and outer edges. An outer bank measuring a maximum of 20m wide
and 1.5m high and thought to represent upcast from the ditch, is visible along
the northern and eastern arms of the moat. The northern bank supports a brick
wall, surviving up to 2m high in places and believed to post-date the brick
revetment around the moat. The modern bridge across the south east corner of
the moat, which provides access to the island, replaces an earlier causeway
which extended across the centre of the southern arm of the moat.

The manor is mentioned in 1232 as `Fyndegod(s)hurne' and in 1379 as `Herne'.
By the late 14th century it was owned by Sir William Heron, who left the manor
on his death to his daughter Margaret who was married to James Tyrell. The
manor continued to be held by the Tyrells, an important Essex family, until at
least the late 17th century. In the 16th century the messuage is recorded as
including `100 acres of arable, 200 acres of pasture, 60 of wood and 40 of

The local antiquarian, P Morant noted in 1769 that the manor house of Heron
was `an old brick edifice surrounded with a moat, on the outer side of which
stand four towers detached from the rest of the building'. The 1777 Chapman
and Andre Map of Essex shows a square building built around a courtyard
towards the south west corner of the island. It is recorded that this house
was pulled down in 1790 leaving only two of the towers, and this statement is
reinforced by the 1849 map of the parish of East Horndon, which depicts the
island devoid of buildings. The bases of the towers are still visible along
the outer edges of the island.

The present 18th century Heron Hall immediately to the west which succeeded
the moated site is Listed Grade II. The Grade II* and II Listed barns
immediately to the south and south west of the moat have the initials J.T.,
and some of these may be contemporary with the Tudor building on the island.
The hall and barns are not included in the scheduling.

Three fishponds which were recorded in 1923 by The Royal Commission on the
Historical Monuments of England to the west of the moat have been destroyed by
modern landscaping and are therefore not included in the scheduling.

The wall on the bank to the north of the moat, the wooden bridge across the
west arm of the moat and the modern brick wall and pathway to the west of the
moat ditch, the peacock and goose houses and the fencing on the island, the
concrete bridge across the south east corner of the moat and the associated
gate are all excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these
features 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 east of Heron Hall is one of the best known
examples of moated sites in Essex. The site, with its surviving brick
revetting and tower bases together with its known historical background,
illustrates the very grand and possibly defensive nature of the site and
reflects the wealth and social standing of its inhabitants. The island remains
largely undisturbed and will retain buried evidence for structures and other
features relating to the development and character of the island throughout
its periods of occupation. The buried silts in the base of the ditches will
contain both artefacts relating to the period of occupation and environmental
evidence for the appearance of the landscape in which the monument is set.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are fairly numerous, with a
further moated site in Herongate, 750m to the SSW and another at Old Thorndon,
2.6km to the south west. Comparisons between these sites and others across the
county, will provide valuable insights into the developments in the nature of
settlement and society in the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Morant, P, The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex 1763-1768, (1769), 208-211
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, (1923), 38
Wright, T, History of Essex, (1832)
Sellers, E, 'Moated Sites Research Group' in Moated Sites Research Group, (1974)
Title: Map of the County of Essex
Source Date: 1777
Essex Record Office
Title: Map of the Survey of the parish of East Horndon
Source Date: 1849
Essex Record Office Ref: DDP P54

Source: Historic England

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