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Moated site at Leigh Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Worthen with Shelve, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6263 / 52°37'34"N

Longitude: -2.9865 / 2°59'11"W

OS Eastings: 333321.306343

OS Northings: 303623.182054

OS Grid: SJ333036

Mapcode National: GBR B6.7RDB

Mapcode Global: WH8C3.374Z

Entry Name: Moated site at Leigh Hall

Scheduled Date: 7 June 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019010

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32324

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Worthen with Shelve

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Worthen

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork, standing structural and buried remains of
a medieval moated site. The moated site is considered to be the later centre
of the manor of Leigh, probably constructed in the early 14th century by
Robert Corbet, who by 1324 had become the local Member of Parliament. The
Corbets of Leigh held the manor until 1748. By 1667-68 the manor house was
described as `lately burnt, destroyed or demolished', possibly the result of
damage in the Civil War. The adjacent farmhouse at Leigh Hall, constructed in
the late 17th century, was built to replace the former manor house. It is a
Listed Building Grade II and not included in the scheduling.
The moated site is situated on level ground on the southern side of the Rea
Brook valley, with extensive views of the valley and the uplands to the north
and west. The moat, which retains water, defines a rectangular island
approximately 45m south west - north east by 80m north west - south east. The
arms of the moat are between 10m and 13m wide and have been revetted with
stone. The south eastern arm and the southern portion of the south western arm
have largely been filled in, but survive as buried features. Material
excavated from the moat has been used to create external banks which bound the
north eastern and north western moat arms. The north eastern bank stands to a
height of 1.6m. The modern causeway across the north western arm is believed
to follow the original means of access onto the island. Wall footings and the
remains of collapsed walls of stone and brick survive around much of the
perimeter of the island, indicating ranges of buildings set around a
courtyard. The short upstanding section of stone wall, which is Listed
Grade II, survives to a height of 2.5m. It is thought to date from the 14th or
15th century and incorporates earlier fragments of dressed sandstone.
The site was the subject of a detailed archaeological survey in 1977-78 when a
small-scale archaeological excavation across the north western arm of the moat
was also carried out prior to the partial dredging of the moat. This
investigation revealed that the moat had been repeatedly cleaned prior to the
deposition of building rubble during the 17th and 18th centuries.
There are a number of features which are excluded from the scheduling, these
are: all modern boundary walls, fences and gates, all modern domestic and
agricultural buildings constructed over the southern part of the moat, the
surface of the causeway crossing the north western moat arm and the surface
of the farm track next to the south eastern and north eastern moat arms,
although the ground beneath all 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 Leigh Hall survives well despite some recent disturbance
from agricultural practices. Archaeological investigation of the site has
confirmed the nature, extent and date of structural remains and associated
deposits existing on the moated island. These remains, together with artefacts
and organic remains surviving on the island and in the moat, will provide
valuable evidence about the occupation and social status of the inhabitants.
Organic remains surviving in the buried ground surface under the external
banks, and within the moat, will also provide information about the changes to
the local environment and the use of the land before and after the moated site
was constructed. The importance of the site is further enhanced by late
medieval documentary sources which provide ownership information.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Burrow, I, 'Medieval Settlement Research Group' in Leigh Hall Farm, , Vol. 5, (1979), 20-22

Source: Historic England

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