Moor Hall: a moated manorial site and associated earthworks immediately north-east of Moor Green


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009241

Date first listed: 18-Sep-1992


Ordnance survey map of Moor Hall:  a moated manorial site and associated earthworks immediately north-east of Moor Green
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hertfordshire

District: East Hertfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Ardeley

National Grid Reference: TL 32711 26803

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 Moor Hall is a well preserved and undisturbed example of a moated manorial site. It has a long documented history of occupation from the late 13th century until the 19th century. The associated earthworks in Great Wood indicate that the moated site was part of a larger, more complex medieval settlement. The monument contains important archaeological information pertaining to the layout and development of the medieval site while the ditch fills and ponds are likely to contain environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument includes a moated manorial site and associated earthworks at Moor Hall, situated about 250m east of the Old Bourne River on the line of the Roman road between Bishops Stortford and Baldock. The moat is at the west end of the site. To the north and the north-east is an enclosure on the same alignment as the moat. To the east and to the south are associated earthworks, running into the woods to the east where there are also four fishponds. The rectangular-shaped moat encloses an island which measures 45m north-south by 39m east-west. The moat arms are dry and are at maximum 5m wide and c.1m deep. Around the inside of the moat arms is a bank 6m to 10m wide and between 0.6m and 1m high. An entrance causeway, approximately 8m wide, is situated on the eastern side of the moat. Within the south-west corner of the moat is an irregularly-shaped fishpond. It measures about 20m north-south by 15m east-west and now merges into the western arm of the moat. To the north of the moat are earthworks on the same alignment, and of similar dimensions, which are interpreted as belonging to an associated enclosure, although the extent of the earthworks within the woods has not been surveyed in detail; a pond within the woods may represent the eastern arm of this enclosure. The southern arm of this enclosure has become infilled over the years and is no longer visible on the surface. To the south of the moat is a curved bank which follows the line of the southern moat arm running into the earthworks to the east. This is thought to have been adapted later to form a trackway some 20m wide. To the east of the moat and extending into the woods are earthworks on the same alignment as the moat. These include a series of ditches and four fishponds. One, located in the north-west corner of the wood, measures 30m north-south by 10m east-west and is seasonally waterfilled. The other three are situated in the south-eastern corner of the wood and are all waterfilled. The smallest is aligned east-west and measures 20m by 4m. 3m east of this pond is another, aligned north-south, which is 45m by 7m. The third of the group is located 12m north of the small pond and measures 41m east-west by 15m north-south. Other earthworks are visible but remain difficult to interpret until the wood is cleared and a full survey is conducted. The monument is identified as the manorial site of Moor Hall which is recorded from the late 13th century when it was held as part of the main manor of Ardeley.

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: 20647

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1907)
070250, Information from SMR,

End of official listing