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Moated site at Fingrith Hall Farm

A Scheduled Monument in High Ongar, Essex

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Latitude: 51.7085 / 51°42'30"N

Longitude: 0.3273 / 0°19'38"E

OS Eastings: 560896.391925

OS Northings: 203650.786668

OS Grid: TL608036

Mapcode National: GBR NJ6.ZGJ

Mapcode Global: VHHMQ.MBD2

Entry Name: Moated site at Fingrith Hall Farm

Scheduled Date: 26 October 1973

Last Amended: 12 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020360

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33241

County: Essex

Civil Parish: High Ongar

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Blackmore St Laurence

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a medieval moated site immediately north of Fingrith
Hall farmhouse.

The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island which measures a maximum
of 90m north-south and up to 70m east-west, raised 1m above the surrounding
ground surface. This island is contained by a moat or ditch measuring up to
16m wide and a maximum of 3m in depth. The south western corner of the moat
survives as a buried feature; it was infilled prior to 1847 when it was
depicted on the tithe map as being overlain by Fingrith Hall (the forerunner
to the modern farmhouse). It is believed that access was originally via a
causeway across the southern arm of the moat. A well, covered by a drain cover
is situated on the edge of the island on the north east corner of the moat.

The local 18th century antiquarian, P Morant, records that in 1165 the manor
of Fingrith was owned by John de Sandford. It remained in his family until the
13th century when Alice, the daughter of Sir Gilbert de Sandford, married
Robert de Vere (1240-1296), the fifth Earl of Oxford, and from then on it
continued in the de Vere family until the 16th century.

A Grade II Listed timber framed barn, which stands on the southern half of
the island, pheasant pens and fences on the island and the modern wall around
the south eastern edge of the moat, are excluded from the scheduling, 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 Fingrith Hall Farm survives particularly well. The
island remains largely undisturbed and will retain buried evidence for
structures and other features relating to earlier periods of occupation. In
addition, 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 monument is set. The buried south
western corner of the moat was infilled prior to 1847 and may be expected to
retain sealed deposits from the earliest occupation of the site as well as
surviving foundations relating to the forerunner of the modern Fingrith Hall.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are fairly numerous, with
further moated sites situated at Jericho Priory, Blackmore, 2.2km to the
south; Spriggs, High Ongar, 1.7km to the north west and Franklin's Island,
Highwood, 3.8km to the east. Comparative studies between these sites and
further examples from other regions, will provide insights into the
development of settlement and many other aspects of medieval society in

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Morant, P, The History of Essex, (1769), 56
'Essex Review' in Essex Review, , Vol. 8, (1899), 66
Title: Map of the Parish of Blackmore in the County of Essex
Source Date: 1847
Essex Record Office Ref: D/CT 37
Title: Ordnance Survey Card
Source Date: 1961
TL 60 SW 03

Source: Historic England

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