Moat at Spargrove.
Reasons for Designation
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. Country houses of the late Tudor and early Jacobean period comprise a distinctive group of buildings which differ in form, function, design and architectural style from country houses of both earlier and later date. Built after the dissolution of the monasteries they are the product of a particular historical period in which a newly-emerged Protestant elite of lawyers, courtiers, diplomats and other officials, mostly with close contacts at court, competed with each other to demonstrate wealth, taste and loyalty to the sovereign, often overstretching themselves financially. Their houses are a development of the medieval hall with flanking wings and a gatehouse, often looking inwards onto a courtyard; later examples tend to be built outwards, typically on a U- or H-plan. About 5000 country houses are known to have been standing in 1675; of these about 1000 are thought to survive, although most have been extensively altered or rebuilt in subsequent centuries to meet new demands and tastes. Surviving country houses of the late Tudor and early Jacobean period stand as an irreplaceable record of an architectural development which was unique both to England and to a particular period in English history characterised by a flourishing of artistic invention; they provide an insight into politics, patronage and economics in the early post-medieval period. Although altered and rebuilt, parts of the original country house may be retained within the moated area with other structures, layers and deposits which will contain archaeological and environmental evidence regarding its construction, development, longevity, function, social and political significance and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 26 August 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes a moat situated on a gentle north facing slope between the River Alham to the north and a tributary to the west. The moat survives as a rectangular enclosure defined by a partially buried ditch measuring up to 10m wide and 0.6m deep which surrounds an inner island with a perimeter bank of up to 12m wide and 1.8m high. It is best preserved to the north and east. Within the enclosure was a country house dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. There is a standing manor house, parts of which dates back to the same period but which was largely rebuilt after c. 1870 in Free Jacobean style. There is also a fully standing 16th to 17th century outbuilding possibly formerly the detached kitchen for the main dwelling. The upstanding buildings are both listed Grade II, Spargrove Manor and the outbuildings. Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are not included in the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed.