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Ludstone Hall moated site and fishpond

A Scheduled Monument in Claverley, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.5484 / 52°32'54"N

Longitude: -2.2963 / 2°17'46"W

OS Eastings: 380002.151162

OS Northings: 294542.761106

OS Grid: SO800945

Mapcode National: GBR 08G.87S

Mapcode Global: VH911.46WR

Entry Name: Ludstone Hall moated site and fishpond

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019834

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33844

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Claverley

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Claverley

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork, upstanding structural and buried remains
of a medieval moated site and an adjoining fishpond to the north. Documentary
sources indicate that the manor house located here was maintained by the deans
of Bridgnorth from the College of St Mary Magdalen as a local residence from
the 12th or early 13th century, until the beginning of the 15th century. Peter
of Rivaulx obtained a gift of 18 beams for the repair of buildings at Ludstone
shortly after his appointment as dean in 1223. The timber-framed house, which
stood here when Thomas of Tutbury was dean (1391-1403), comprised a hall,
chamber, `frerechamber' (friar's chamber), kitchen and bakehouse. It is also
recorded that there was a gatehouse, partly built of stone, and a well-stocked
fishpond. Tutbury had intended to rebuild the house in stone, but his
successor, Columb of Dunbar, sold the materials obtained for the purpose and
had the greater part of the house pulled down allowing the remainder to fall
into ruin. Immediately following the Dissolution of the College of St Mary
Magdalen in 1548, the manor and tithes of Ludstone changed hands on several
occasions before being purchased by John Jones of Ludstone in 1557. By the
early 17th century the moated site and the surrounding land had been acquired
by the Whitmore family. The present hall, which is situated in the south
western part of the moated island, was constructed by Sir John Whitmore about
1607. It is an elaborate H-plan brick-built structure with stone dressings,
which was extensively restored in the late 19th century. The Hall is a Listed
Building Grade I and the associated 19th century garden walls are Listed Grade
II. The 19th century formal gardens and the small park surrounding the hall is
a Registered Park and Garden Grade II*.

The moated site occupies gently sloping ground in an area of undulating land
and is overlooked by higher ground to the east. The water-filled moat defines
a rectangular island approximately 52m by 68m (maximum dimensions). With the
exception of the northern side, the arms of the moat are between 6m and 9m
wide and are lined with stone and brick walls, partly strengthened with
regularly placed buttresses. The differences in the masonry indicate that
parts of these retaining walls have been altered and repaired on several
occasions. The tithe map of 1841 shows that access onto the island was via
bridges/causeways located across the southern and western arms. The southern
bridge or causeway was situated directly opposite the centre of the present
hall, but is no longer visible as the adjoining sections of the moat arm were
infilled as part of the development of the gardens in the late 19th century.
The bridge across the western arm was also probably altered at this time. Here
stone-built abutments of a former bridge, 7.3m wide, remain visible and now
provide the supporting structure for a brick and stone-built footbridge. The
principal means of access onto the island is now from the east, where there is
a brick-built bridge of 19th century date across the moat. Constructed on
the edge of the island and flanking this bridge is a small square stone and
brick-built lodge of probable 17th century date. At the south eastern corner
of the island are the remains of a small brick and stone-built outbuilding,
also of probable 17th century date. The parts of these two structures standing
above the current ground level are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.

Archaeological excavations were undertaken in 1998 and 1999 in advance of the
construction of a swimming pool in north western part of the island, to the
north of a service wing attached to the 17th century hall. Stone foundations
of rectangular structure, about 10m long and subdivided into two rooms, were
discovered, aligned parallel with the western moat arm. To the east of this
building an associated yard surface was found. The pottery recovered indicates
that the building was probably constructed in the 13th century and was
demolished in the 15th century. The high quality of the surviving masonry
suggests that the building was used as a domestic outbuilding associated with
the 13th century manor house. Parch marks seen in the lawn to the east of the
present hall may represent the site of the manor house.

Abutting the northern side of the island is a roughly rectangular-shaped
fishpond, approximately 110m long and 50m wide. Much of the pond basin retains
water, although the northern part has been drained and is now dry. The
northern part of the western side of the pond basin is defined by an earthen
dam, about 12m wide and standing to a height of 1.3m. A rectangular fishpond
to the south of the moated site was enlarged as part of the 19th century
landscaping works and is not included in the scheduling.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these are; Ludstone
Hall, the adjoining buildings and the outbuildings, all 19th century and later
garden walls, the 19th century bridges crossing the moat, the driveway and
yard surfaces, paths and paved areas, and all ornamental features; 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.

Ludstone Hall moated site is a well-preserved example of this type of
monument. In addition to the retaining walls around the moat and the early
17th century house, the moated island retains the buried evidence of medieval
structures that once stood on the site. Invaluable information about these
buildings is provided by medieval documentary sources. These structures,
together with the associated artefacts and organic remains, will provide
valuable evidence about those who inhabited the site. The small-scale
archaeological excavations conducted here have helped to demonstrate the
nature of the medieval buildings which occupy the island, and have also
provided an important sequence of medieval pottery, dating from the 12th to
the 15th century.

The fishponds, which were used for the breeding and storing of fish in order
to provide a sustainable supply of food, provide further evidence about the
economy and life style of the inhabitants of the moated site during the
medieval period. Organic remains surviving in the moat and in the adjoining
fishpond will provide information about the changes to the local environment
and the use of the land since the 12th century.

Post-medieval documentary sources provide important details regarding the
ownership of the site after it had ceased to be an ecclesiastical residence.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Shropshire: Volume II, (1973), 127-28
Hannaford, H R, 'Shropshire County Council Archaeology Service Report' in An Archaeological Evaluation at Ludstone Hall, Claverley, , Vol. 136, (1998)
Hannaford, H R, 'Shropshire County Council Archaeology Service Report' in Archaeological Investigations at Ludstone Hall, Claverley, , Vol. 166, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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