Goxhill Hall moated site, associated drainage system, fishponds and field system


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

North Lincolnshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TA 10924 20452

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 at Goxhill Hall survives well and is unusual in retaining one of its original medieval buildings. Remains of the other buildings which originally occupied the site will also survive on the island. The contemporary enclosures incorporating further building remains, fishponds and part of a field system will retain information on the wider economy which helped support the moated site.


The monument is the moated site at Goxhill Hall. It includes the main moated site and associated fishponds, drainage ditches, and part of a contemporary field system. The island of the moated site measures 60 metres north-south by 40 metres east-west and provided a setting for a range of medieval buildings. Unusually, one of these, a stone-built medieval chamber block, still stands in the north- eastern corner of the island. This is thought to date to the late 14th or early 15th century. The island is defined on all four sides by a moat which remains water-filled. It is between 12m and 15m wide and up to 2m deep; at the northern side of the site the inner edge of the eastern and western arms are revetted with stone. The northern arm had been infilled, but was re- dug in 1976. Concentric to this moat on its west, south, and east sides, and lying between 20m and 40m from it, is a drainage ditch 10m wide and 1.5m to 2m deep. Material excavated from this ditch has been used to construct banks up to 0.5m high and 5m wide on either side of it. At its north-east corner this ditch would originally have extended into the area now occupied by the farmyard of Priory Farm. A building platform evident as an earthwork feature in the south- eastern corner of the area enclosed by this drainage ditch indicates that ancillary buildings associated with the moated site were located between the moat and this outer ditch. Further drainage ditches extend out from this concentric ditch surrounding the moated site and link-up with the ditches which form the western, southern and eastern boundaries of the monument. The proportions of all these ditches are broadly similar to that surrounding the moat. This ditch system defines a series of enclosures orientated north-south which surround the moat on its west, east and south sides. The largest enclosure to the west of the moated site and its associated concentric ditch measures 220m north-south, by 150m east-west. This was formerly used for cultivation as indicated by the earthwork remains of ridge and furrow preserved there. To the east of the moated site and its external ditch is another large enclosure measuring 260m north-south by 85m wide east-west in which ridge and furrow earthworks are also visible. Additionally a large rectangular fishponds is located here. This measures 60m by 10m by 2m deep, and is orientated west-east aligning with the south arm of the drainage ditch around the moat. To the south of the moated site are two smaller enclosures; these do not retain any evidence for arable cultivation and are interpreted as serving other agricultural functions, possibly being stock enclosures. That to the west measures 55m by 80m. That to the east measures 55m by 120m and has a second fishpond located at its centre. This measures 32m by 12m and is also orientated east-west. Originally the drainage ditches and field system associated with the moated site extended beyond the monument. The site was owned by the Despencer family, who developed it and built the fine medieval hall which still stands on the site. There are documentary records of the site from the reign of Richard II and Henry VIII. The site was subsequently owned by the Wentworth family. From 1598 until the 19th century the hall was owned by the Hildyard family; they have now acquired the site once more. The current building known as Goxhill Hall was built between 1690 and 1701. Although the medieval building on the site has been called a chapel, there is no evidence that the site was ever in ecclesiastical use. The site has perhaps been confused with Gokewell priory near Scunthorpe. The medieval chamber block, which is listed Grade I, is included in the scheduling, as is the ground beneath it. The house known as Goxhill Hall, which is listed Grade II*, and its attached outbuildings are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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
Dugdale, W, Monasticum Anglicanum, (1846), 325-8
Loughlin, N, Miller, K, Survey of Archaeological Sites in Humberside, (1979), 199
Loughlin, N, Miller, K, Survey of Archaeological Sites in Humberside, (1979), 199
Pevsner, N, John, H, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, (1964), 251
Thompson, A H, Military Architecture in England, (1912), 190
Williams, A, Medieval Humberside, (1989), 8


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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