Moated site in Paddock Wood 560m north-east of Chesterford Park


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


Ordnance survey map of Moated site in Paddock Wood 560m north-east of Chesterford Park
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Jun-2019 at 03:31:22.


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

Uttlesford (District Authority)
Little Chesterford
Uttlesford (District Authority)
Saffron Walden
National Grid Reference:
TL 53703 42952

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.

As confirmed by partial excavation, the moated site in Paddock Wood is well preserved and will retain further archaeological information relating to the occupation and development of the site as well as environmental evidence pertaining to the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.


The monument includes a moated site situated in the south-west corner of Paddock Wood on a west-facing slope overlooking the River Cam, 560m north-east of Chesterford Park. It is defined by an irregular shaped moat and measures 68m east-west by 64m north-south. The arms are partly waterlogged and are 8m wide and 1.5m in depth. A central ditch 6m wide part bisects the island and is thought to be a later feature on the site. The Domesday Book indicates that the surrounding lands were within the manor of Manhall , but it is thought that until c1600 the manor house was located 2.75km south-west of the moat. In 1257 Richard, Earl of Gloucester, was granted a licence to build a castle on his land at Manhall. From 1970 to 1977 excavations were carried out by the Chesterford Park Archaeological Society in order to investigate the theory that the castle was built on this site. A crude stone wall was uncovered along with some metalwork finds including a knife blade with a silver damascene initial and pottery dating from the 13th or 14th centuries.

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:


Smith, D W, Report to Archaeology Section of Essex County Council, (1976)
SMR No 4757, Information from SMR (No. 4757),


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