Hextall moated site and fishponds


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Stafford (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 85807 24940

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.

The moated site and fishponds at Hextall Farm, Ranton survive well and represent a fine example of a combined moat and fishpond water-management complex.


The monument includes the moated site and fishponds at Hextall, 700m north-east of All Saints' Church, Ranton. The platform of the moated site projects out of the natural hillslope and measures 42m east-west by 62m north- south. The platform is enclosed on three sides by a dry, grass-covered moat, up to 15m wide and 4m deep. There is now no surface evidence of the north arm of the moat which has been infilled and built over but will survive as a buried feature. There is an external enclosure bank which measures up to 0.7m high on the western and eastern outer edges of the moat. The outer bank is less evident on the south side of the moat. South of the moat there is a complex water-management system with at least one L-shaped fishpond sub-divided into three smaller ponds by earth banks. The north part of the eastern pond is now infilled but will survive as a buried feature. These ponds lie some 70m south of the moat and were connected to it by two channels. Three outlet channels, all now dry, lead from the ponds, two to the south and one to the west. These survive poorly and lie outside the area of the scheduling. The ponds are bounded by a continuous external bank on the south side. In the field to the west of the site, outside the area of the scheduling are traces of ridge and furrow cultivation, although its relationship to the moated site is not now clear. The manor of Hextall was first established by the Norman family, De Hescall, from whom the name of the manor is derived, but it was abandoned in about 1235. During the reign of Elizabeth I, the manor was occupied by the Eld family. Excluded from the scheduling are the late 18th century house, its associated brick-built garage and outbuildings, the surfaces of the driveway and garden paths, and the fence posts but the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Johnstone, H, The Victoria History of the County of Staffordshire, (1908), 366


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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