Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Whitwell

A Scheduled Monument in Much Wenlock, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6132 / 52°36'47"N

Longitude: -2.5572 / 2°33'25"W

OS Eastings: 362367.979882

OS Northings: 301859.054298

OS Grid: SJ623018

Mapcode National: GBR BS.8H4R

Mapcode Global: WH9DF.PLH0

Entry Name: Moated site at Whitwell

Scheduled Date: 15 June 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019013

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32327

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Much Wenlock

Built-Up Area: Homer

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Sheinton

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated
site situated on a gentle west facing slope at the top of the northern side of
a steep-sided valley. The moat, which is now dry, defines a square island 17m
across. The arms of the moat are between 8m and 12m wide. The northern and
western arms have been largely infilled in modern times, but will survive as
buried features. Material excavated from the moat has been used to heighten
the western portion of the island by 0.8m above the level of the surrounding
ground in order to create a level platform. Spoil from this operation has also
been used to form an external bank, 8m wide, alongside the western moat arm.
In the post-medieval period the moat was used as a pond to supply water to a
watermill known as Oldmill, now the house at Whitwell. This building and the
leat to the east of moated site are not included in the scheduling.
Remains of a strip cultivation system - ridge and furrow - are known to have
existed to the north and west of the moated site. These remains have been
modified by later agricultural activities and are also not included the
There are a number of features which are excluded from the scheduling, these
are: the gate, sheds, oil storage container and water pump house all of which
are situated within the southern arm of the moat, although the ground beneath
all these features is 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.

The moated site at Whitwell is a well-preserved example of this class of
monument and is one of the smallest known moated sites in Shropshire. 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 evidence about the
occupation and social status of the inhabitants. Organic remains surviving in
the buried ground surfaces under the raised interior, the external bank, 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

Source: Historic England

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