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Moated site known as Spriggs

A Scheduled Monument in High Ongar, Essex

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Latitude: 51.7232 / 51°43'23"N

Longitude: 0.3167 / 0°19'0"E

OS Eastings: 560115.334075

OS Northings: 205256.270865

OS Grid: TL601052

Mapcode National: GBR NJ0.WDF

Mapcode Global: VHHMJ.FYTD

Entry Name: Moated site known as Spriggs

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016881

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33258

County: Essex

Civil Parish: High Ongar

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: High Ongar St Mary the Virgin with Norton Mandeville All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a medieval moated site known as Spriggs, which now forms
part of the garden of an 18th century house of the same name, located 800m
north of Norton Heath hamlet.

The moated site includes a rectangular island measuring a maximum of 38m
east-west by at least 34m north-south. The island is contained by a water-
filled moat or ditch on the north and east sides which measures approximately
6m wide and at least 1m deep. The southern arm of the moat survives as a
buried feature, and the western arm has become silted and is now in use as a
drainage ditch.

P H Reaney, in `The Placenames of Essex', states that Spriggs is thought to be
associated with the family of Robert Sprigge who lived locally in the second
half of the 15th century. The predecessor to the 18th century house, which is
situated immediately to the south west of the moated site, stood on the north
west corner of the island and is marked on Chapman and Andres' 1777 Map of
Essex as `Sprig Hall'. The house was no longer standing in 1874 when the 1st
edition 25" Ordnance Survey map was drawn up. When the site was visited in
1976 by the Moated Site Research Group however, medieval building debris,
including fragments of peg tiles and bricks, was recorded on the north west
corner of the island. The Chapman and Andre map shows the moat with the south
and west sides missing, suggesting that these two arms were filled-in prior to

The stables, animal pens and fencing are all 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 known as Spriggs 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 both artefacts relating to the period of occupation and
environmental evidence for the appearance of the landscape in which the
monument was set. The buried western and southern arms of the moat are known
to have been infilled at an early date, and it is likely that they will retain
sealed deposits from the earliest phases of the moat's occupation.

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 Fingrith Hall in the parish of Blackmore, 1.75km to the
SSE, and at Shellow Hall and The Old Rectory in the parish of Willingale,
2.4km to the NNE and 2.3km to the NNW. 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 England.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Moated Sites Research Group, (1976)
Reaney, PH, Place names of Essex, (1935)
Title: Map of the County of Essex
Source Date: 1777
Essex Record Office
Title: Ordnance Survey 1st Edition 25"
Source Date: 1874
Essex Record Office

Source: Historic England

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