Cornish Hall moated site and fishpond, 750m south of Cornish Hall End church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008978

Date first listed: 18-Jul-1994


Ordnance survey map of Cornish Hall moated site and fishpond, 750m south of Cornish Hall End church
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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 68410 35700


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

Even though the moat arms have been partially infilled, the moated site at Cornish Hall survives in good condition and will retain archaeological information relating to the occupation of the site. The moat itself and the associated fishpond provide information on the control of water in the area. The water-filled ditches will retain environmental evidence relating to the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument at Cornish Hall includes a moated site and fishpond situated on a south west facing slope, 750m south of Cornish Hall End church. The moated site is an irregular rectangle in shape and measures a maximum of 60m east-west by 70m north-south. The western part of the moated site remains visible as earthworks with moat arms which measure 6m in width and about 1m in depth. The southern arm has been enlarged to form a pond for watering cattle and remains water-filled all year from land drainage, whilst the western and northern arms are seasonally water-filled. The eastern part of the moat has been infilled but is preserved as a buried feature. The buried moat arms are visible as shallow depressions on the same alignments as their western parts. A causeway, 4m wide, gives access to the central island across the western arm of the moat. The island has been levelled in order to provide a flat platform and is at the prevailing ground level in its northern part, but is raised approximately 1m in its southern part. A 15th century house, which is Listed Grade II, and some modern outbuildings occupy the island. An irregularly shaped fishpond, which measures 80m north-south by a maximum of 17m east-west, is situated 6m south of the south western corner of the moat. It is also water-filled by land drainage. A strip of land 19m wide, between the moat and the fishpond, is included in the scheduling as this area is considered to contain archaeological evidence for the relationship between the two features. The site is first mentioned in 1235 as Norton and was renamed after the family of Richard de `Cornerde' of Cornard in 1303. The house, outhouses and the driveway are all excluded from the scheduling though the ground beneath them 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: 20755

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Reaney, PH, Place names of Essex, (1935), 426-7

End of official listing