Ancient Monuments

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Moated site in Upper Kempley Wood, Willaston

A Scheduled Monument in Ightfield, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.9199 / 52°55'11"N

Longitude: -2.5992 / 2°35'57"W

OS Eastings: 359805.114536

OS Northings: 336003.00413

OS Grid: SJ598360

Mapcode National: GBR 7P.N54W

Mapcode Global: WH9BW.1VJW

Entry Name: Moated site in Upper Kempley Wood, Willaston

Scheduled Date: 8 May 1978

Last Amended: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017011

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32311

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Ightfield

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Calverhall (or Corra) Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated
site constructed on high ground in an area of undulating land. It lies 70m
north east of a motte castle, which is the subject of a separate scheduling.
The water-filled moat defines a roughly square island 42m across. The arms of
the moat are between 10m and 14m wide and have an average depth of 1m.
Material excavated from the moat has been used to create external banks 8m
wide along the northern and eastern moat arms. The northern bank is 0.7m high
and the eastern bank, 0.4m high. Material extracted when the moat was cleaned
out has been deposited along the outer edge of the southern moat arm.
A causeway crosses the western arm of the moat and provides access to the
island. In the north eastern part of the island there is a spread of stone and
bricks, lying on top of which is a sandstone block inscribed with the words
`Old Well'. In the eastern part of the island embedded sandstone boulders and
cobbles indicate the existence of other structures, which will survive as
buried features. A curving trench in the northern part of the island that
connects with the northern arm of the moat appears to have been created as
part of a modern drainage operation. There are other drainage ditches that cut
through the outer banks on the northern and eastern sides of the site.

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.

The moated site in Upper Kempley Wood is a well-preserved example of this
class of monument. 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 buried ground surfaces under the external banks and
in the moat will also provide information about changes to the local
environment and use of the land before and after the moated site was
constructed. The close proximity of the moated site to the earlier motte
castle suggests these two monuments were related, thus indicating the changing
forms of manorial residence.

Source: Historic England

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