Ancient Monuments

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Lighteach moated site and associated water management features

A Scheduled Monument in Wem Rural, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.9063 / 52°54'22"N

Longitude: -2.6783 / 2°40'41"W

OS Eastings: 354476.914804

OS Northings: 334532.183115

OS Grid: SJ544345

Mapcode National: GBR 7L.NXM1

Mapcode Global: WH89W.T6TT

Entry Name: Lighteach moated site and associated water management features

Scheduled Date: 27 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017007

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32306

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Wem Rural

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Prees St Chad

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated
site and associated water management features, situated in an area of
undulating land. The moat surrounds a rectangular island, which measures
approximately 47m north-south and 70m east-west. The moat arms have an
average width of 14m, with the exception of the western arm which has been
widened by later digging principally on its western (outer) side. This part of
the moat still retains water. A causeway, 10m wide at its base, at the
junction of the northern and eastern moat arms, provided access to the island.
Records indicate that a late 16th or early 17th century timber-framed house
stood on the north eastern part of the island. It was a two and a half storey,
two bay gable-fronted building, the second and attic storeys of which were
decorated with diamonds that defined crosses. A gatehouse, with similar
decorative framing, formerly stood at the entrance to the moat. Both
structures were demolished in the 19th century. It is thought that the house
caught fire. Earthworks indicate the location of the house, and although both
buildings survive well as buried features, no visible remains exist of the
gatehouse. A well was located at the back of the property.
Prior to 1700 the house was occupied by John Hill, an apothecary of Wem, and a
member of one of the most important and influential families in Shropshire at
that time.
Two pairs of conjoined fishponds to the west of the moated site acted as
reservoirs for the moat, and are likely to have been used for the breeding and
storing of fish to provide a sustainable supply of food. The two groups of
ponds were connected to one another and to the moat by a series of channels,
now largely infilled. The southern group still contains water as does one of
the ponds to the north. A ditch 11m wide and 0.5m deep runs south westwards
from the corner of the moat and connects with the southern group of ponds. A
later drainage trench has been dug along the line of this ditch. Running
parallel with this feature is another similar channel, 8m wide and 0.2m deep,
which carried water from the northern group of ponds to the moat. A leat 3.5m
wide and 0.3m deep runs south eastwards from this set of ponds and joins with
the ditch to the south. This defines the western extent of the water
management system.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these are; all garden
features, the summer house, the garden walls, the surface of the tennis court,
the modern field boundaries, fences and gates, the corrugated iron animal
shelter, and the telegraph and electricity poles; the ground beneath all these
features is, however, 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.

Lighteach moated site and the associated water management features survive
well despite some modification of the water management system. The moated
island will retain structural and artefactual evidence of the buildings that
once stood on the site, which together with the artefacts and organic remains
existing in the moat will, provide valuable information about the occupation
and social status of the inhabitants. Organic remains surviving in the moat
will also provide information about changes to the local environment and use
of the land. The associated fishponds and connecting channels are also
significant as they will provide information about the ways in which water was
controlled in order to maintain its supply to the moat. The use of these ponds
as fishponds will provide additional evidence about the economy and lifestyle
of the occupants.

Source: Historic England


Private copy. Not published., (1860)
Private copy. Possibly not published., (1860)
Walley, J, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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