Brockhold Farm moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008212

Date first listed: 12-Jan-1994


Ordnance survey map of Brockhold Farm moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Braintree (District Authority)

Parish: Finchingfield

National Grid Reference: TL 69395 36440

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.

Brockhold Farm moated site is well preserved and will retain archaeological information relating to the construction and occupation of the site. The waterlogged ditches will retain environmental evidence relating to the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived. The unusual layout of the site, with the use of the stream to form one of the arms and to supply the moat with water, is of additional interest.


The monument at Brockhold Farm includes a triangular-shaped moated site situated on the banks of Toppersfield Brook 1km east of Cornish Hall End church. The moated site measures a maximum of 100m north-south by 110m east- west. The southern and western arms are seasonally waterfilled and are approximately 4m wide and 0.5m to 1.2m deep. The northern part of the western arm has been filled in recent years but is preserved as a buried feature. The northern arm is formed by a small stream. A causeway, 4m wide, over a modern brick culvert gives access to the island across the southern arm. To the north, a bridge over the stream provides a second access to the island. A 17th century farmhouse occupied the island until 1929 when it was burnt down. A small cart shed, which was once part of the farm buildings, now occupies the northern part of the island. The site is that associated with the family of Geoffrey Brokenhole in 1398. The culvert, bridge and cart shed are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features 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: 20743

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Reaney, PH, Place names of Essex, (1935), 427-428

End of official listing