Moated site and three ponds at Parsonage Farm


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.

Uttlesford (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 57945 35375

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 moat at Parsonage Farm remains essentially undisturbed and as such will retain archaeological information relating to the occupation of the monument. The water-filled ditches will retain environmental evidence pertaining to the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.


The monument includes a moated site and three ponds situated on high ground 1.8km south-west of All Saints Church, Wimbish. The moated site is sub-rectangular in shape and measures 90m north-south by 75m east-west. The arms are water-filled in parts and are between 6m and 10m wide. A brick built bridge 5m wide gives access to the island across the southern arm and a wooden and iron footbridge also crosses the eastern arm. A wooden footbridge crosses the western arm of the moat. Foundations of the original house are preserved on the island and incorporated into the foundations of the present house, which dates to the 19th century. There are three fishponds associated with the moated site. One to the south is water-filled and measures 30m north-south by 14m east-west. It was originally connected to the moat by a drainage channel which has been infilled and is no longer visible at ground level. This channel is, however, preserved as a buried feature. The second pond is east of the moat and measures 40m NE- SW by 30m NW-SE. It is connected to the north-east corner of the moat by a channel, 2m wide, and, though waterlogged, has a lower water-level than the moat. The third pond is visible as a shallow depression 10m west of the moat. It is crescent shaped and measures 16m east-west by a maximum of 6m north- south. This pond was also connected to the moat by a channel which is visible as a shallow depression 2m wide and approximately 0.5m deep. Other earthworks in the field immediately west of the moat are thought to be drainage channels and are not included in the scheduling. The site is mentioned in the Court Rolls of 1392 as Personeslane. The present house, outhouses, bridges and garden walls, which occupy the site at present, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them, including the foundations of the original house, is included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Reaney, PH, Place names of Essex, (1935)


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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