Hawton moated site, fishpond, Civil War redoubt and ridge and furrow


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Newark and Sherwood (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:

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 Hawton is a good example of a large manorial moat with an attached fishpond and is unusual in that, due to its strategic location at the confluence of two rivers and overlooking the 17th century road to Newark, it was re-used as a Parliamentarian siegework during the Civil War. The Civil War earthworks of Newark are the most extensive in the country and provide the most complete physical evidence of mid-17th century siege warfare. The redoubt at Hawton is one of the best-preserved elements as, together with the moat, it has suffered only minimal disturbance since it was abandoned. Not only is the relationship between the two phases of occupation preserved in its substantial earthworks, but the remains of buildings and structures from both periods will survive throughout the monument.


The monument occupies a roughly right-angled bend of the River Devon 250m west of the parish church at Hawton. It includes a late medieval moated site and fishpond, a redoubt (temporary fortification) constructed inside the moat during the Civil Wars of the 1640s, and the ridge and furrow inside the redoubt which post-dates the period of Civil War occupation. The moat surrounds a large platform or island measuring c.130m from north to south by between 90m and 140m from east to west. The larger of the latter dimensions applies to the north side of the platform and the variation is due to the ditch along the east side being, in fact, the former course of Middle Beck, a stream which now flows from east to west 180m north of the site. The ditch surrounding the island varies in width from between 8m to 15m and is up to 1.5m deep. A 5m wide outer revetment bank was constructed along the east side and is divided approximately half-way along its length, which suggests that, at this point, the stream may have fed a fishpond. This pond is no longer extant, but a further well-preserved fishpond lies to the south and is itself fed by a 5m wide channel from the stream. This pond is c.2m deep, measures 37m from north to south by 7m from east to west, and would have been controlled by a wooden sluice gate. Additional sluice gates controlled the channels which fed the moat at its north-east corner and drained it at the north-west and south-east corners; the latter where Middle Beck originally joined the River Devon. Modern flood defences on the west and south sides of the moat have, to a minor extent, interfered with the remains of the medieval ditch system so that the outflow arrangements are no longer entirely clear, both channels having been truncated by flood banks. Neither is it certain that there was an outer bank along these edges, though such a bank does survive to the north where it is c.8m wide and divides the moat from a parallel overflow channel 3m wide. The moat was the site of a 15th century manor house built by Thomas Molyneux. The ditch was waterfilled when the moat was constructed, prior to the diversion of Middle Beck. However, by the 17th century, the ditch was dry and the site abandoned, indicating that the stream had been diverted by this time. Along with the River Devon, the diverted Middle Beck formed part of the line of circumvallation held by the forces of Parliament during the Civil War. The abandoned moat became the site of a temporary fortress or redoubt comprising a roughly rectangular area, measuring 150m from north to south by 80m from east to west, enclosed by a 5m wide ditch which is connected at the south-east corner and near the north-west corner to the moat ditch which then formed an additional and more massive line of defence. The fact that the 15th and 17th century ditches were linked suggests that it may have been possible to flood them, possibly from the channel connecting the north-west corner of the moat to the River Devon. An additional feature is the rectangular platform at the north-east corner of the monument, sandwiched between the 15th and 17th century ditches. Two breaks in the latter provide evidence of this area's function as a gun-platform overlooking the Newark-Hawton road and commanding the bridge over Middle Beck. The breaks in the later ditch allowed the guns to be pulled back inside the inner defences when necessary and it is probable that there would, in addition, have been a palisade along the inside edge of the ditch. This palisade would have surmounted an earth rampart but, due to later ploughing inside the redoubt, only the faintest trace of this remains. Ploughing was probably carried out soon after the redoubt was dismantled and is now represented by faint 8m wide ridge and furrow running from north to south across the interior. Hawton is just one of the many villages within a two mile radius of Newark which became headquarters at various times for the units besieging the town between late 1642, when it was first occupied by a Royalist garrison, and May 1646 when it finally surrendered. It is not known precisely when the moat came into use as a Civil War fort, but a letter from the Committee before Newark (that is, the Parliamentarian council of war) implies that all the Parliamentarian headquarters were occupied by the 2nd March 1646. Some were defended by a surrounding rampart and ditch. However, at Hawton three redoubts were constructed: one east of the village, another west of the River Devon overlooking Devon Bridge, and the third inside the abandoned moat. The latter also guarded Devon Bridge and similarly commanded both the bridge over Middle Beck, which carried the road from Hawton to Newark, and also the road to Farndon which was the headquarters of the Parliamentarian General Poyntz.

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.

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Books and journals
Clampe, R, A Plan Depicting the Parliamentarian Siegeworks round Newark, (1646)
RCHME, , Newark on Trent - The Civil War Siegeworks, (1964), 40
RCHME, , Newark on Trent - The Civil War Siegeworks, (1964), 5-40
RCHME, , Newark on Trent - The Civil War Siegeworks, (1964), 41
'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in Transactions of the Thoroton Society: Volume 43, , Vol. 43, (1939), 3, 8-9


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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