Ancient Monuments

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Moat House moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Stapleford Tawney, Essex

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Latitude: 51.6973 / 51°41'50"N

Longitude: 0.1695 / 0°10'10"E

OS Eastings: 550028.049766

OS Northings: 202071.72597

OS Grid: TL500020

Mapcode National: GBR MGW.FNL

Mapcode Global: VHHMM.WLFP

Entry Name: Moat House moated site

Scheduled Date: 27 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017315

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33261

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Stapleford Tawney

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Stapleford Tawney with Theydon Mount

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a medieval moated site surrounding Moat House, which is
situated on Tawney Common in the hamlet of Colliers Hatch.

The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island measuring a maximum of
40m north-south by 26m east-west which is raised by about 0.5m above the
surrounding ground surface. This is contained by a water-filled moat or ditch
measuring between 5m and 12m wide and a maximum of 2m deep. Moat House, which
dates from the 17th century is a Listed Building Grade II and occupies the
centre of the island. A causeway across the western arm of the moat provides
access to the island. A spur of the ditch extending 4m beyond the outer edge
of the western arm of the moat may have served as a watering place for cattle
from the adjacent fields. A leat continues southwards for 8m from the eastern
arm of the moat linking the moat with adjacent drainage ditches.

The moat is marked on a number of historic maps including Chapman and Andre's
1777 Map of Essex, the 1809 `Survey of a Farm in the Parish of Stapleford
Tawney' which was reduced from a 1757 survey, and the 1838 Tithe Map of
Stapleford Tawney. These show that the moated site has changed little from the
late 18th century.

The house, the bridge across the east arm of the moat, the concrete platform
on the west side of the island, the concrete steps, the patio, the oil tank,
the concrete post, garden furniture, the telegraph pole, the gates and all the
surfaces are 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 at Moat House survives well. The island remains largely
undisturbed and will retain buried evidence for earlier structures, as well as
other features relating to the development and use of the site throughout the
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 moated site was set.

Moat House moated site lies in an area where moated sites are comparatively
numerous, with a further example situated 3.4km to the north west at North
Weald Bassett. Comparisons between these sites and with further examples from
other regions will provide valuable insights into the developments in the
nature of settlement and their relationship to medieval society in England.

Source: Historic England


Title: A Survey of a Farm in the Parish of Stapleford Tawney
Source Date: 1809
Essex Record Office: D/DQ 14/36
Title: Map of the County of Essex
Source Date: 1777
Title: Ordnance Survey 2nd Edition 25" Map
Source Date: 1896
Essex Record Office: 50/15
Title: Tithe Map of Stapleford Tawney
Source Date: 1838
Essex Record Office: D/CT 331

Source: Historic England

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