Lower Cleeton moat, a moat and fishponds 380m south east of Cleeton Court


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


Ordnance survey map of Lower Cleeton moat, a moat and fishponds 380m south east of Cleeton Court
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 60786 79116

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.

Lower Cleeton moated site survives in good condition and is a fine example of its class. Its circular shape, rather than the more usual rectangular plan, suggests that it may be one of the earlier examples of a manorial moat in Shropshire. The interior of the moat platform is undisturbed and will contain archaeological evidence relating to the manorial buildings which once occupied it. The moat ditch and associated enclosure will retain valuable archaeological information relating to the method and period of construction and to the occupation of the site. The fishpond and water management system in close association with the moat is also a good example of its class. Such systems of interlinking ponds often, though not always, included shallow fry ponds and deeper stew ponds, linked by a series of leats controlled by simple sluice gates. Water levels were altered in order to facilitate the management and harvesting of fish which formed an important part of the medieval economy. The good condition of the earthwork remains at Cleeton provide valuable information of the close relationship between the pond system and the moat water supply system. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the earthworks were constructed will survive in the fill of the ditch and in the pond silts. There is some potential for the survival of organic material in the waterlogged portion of the moat. Such monuments, when considered as single sites, or as a part of a broader medieval landscape, contribute valuable information on the settlement pattern, economy and social structure of the region during the medieval period.


The monument includes Lower Cleeton moated site, an attached enclosure, three associated fishponds and elements of a water management system. The complex lies on the lower slopes of Titterstone Clee Hill, adjacent to a tributary of Farlow Brook and overlooking ground falling gently to the north. It is thought that this is the manorial site of Cleeton which was held in 1253 by the Lord of the Manor, William Ledwich. By 1373 the manor had passed into the hands of Sir Walter Huwet who sold the estate to the Abbot of Wigmore in Herefordshire.

The moated enclosure itself is roughly circular in plan and has an overall diameter of 90m. The moat island has an internal diameter of 48m and its surface is raised approximately 0.5m above the surrounding land surface. Slight surface undulations in the interior are believed to represent the positions of buried building foundations. The surrounding moat ditch remains well defined throughout its length and averages 6m wide and 2.5m deep. Although now largely dry, a small pond occupies the north east quarter of the ditch. There is some evidence of stonework surviving around the edges of the moat island, suggesting that the ditch may originally have had a stone revetment. An outer bank 1.5m high and between 3m and 4m wide flanks the ditch around the west, north and north east sides. At the north west corner of the moat both the outer bank and the ditch are interrupted and a stream drains to the north. At the south east corner of the moat a causeway 3m wide crosses the ditch and is believed to represent the position of the original entrance to the moat interior. The approach to this entrance is protected on its south east side by a well defined inlet channel which links a stream to the south into the moat ditch. To the west of the entrance a small secondary enclosure is attached to the south west side of the moat. The lack of the outer bank along the edge of the moat ditch here suggests that this outer enclosure is a part of the original earthwork layout. The enclosure extends for approximately 43m to the south and is 32m wide. It is protected around its west and south west sides by a well defined bank averaging 1.3m high and 3m wide and by a scarp slope around the east. A stream runs around the base of this scarp to feed into the moat supply leat.

Extending westwards from the junction of the enclosure bank with the moat outer bank, is a strong linear bank 1.2m high and 3m wide. It runs for approximately 36m before ending on slightly rising ground. The ground in the angle south of this bank and west of the small enclosure bank, is slightly dished, forming a rough rectangle approximately 36m north to south by 32m transversely. Although this area is now dry, it is clear that an artificial fishpond once existed here, probably fed from the stream to the south east. To the east of the moat, some 15m from the moat edge, is a second well defined fishpond some 30m north to south by 12m east to west. It lies cut to a depth of 2.3m into the valley side of a small stream and is linked on its downslope, north and east, sides by a strong bank 2m high. A supply leat feeds into the south side of the pond from a spring to the south east and a discharge channel flows from the midpoint of the north side. The ingress and exit points from the pond will have been controlled by simple sluice gates allowing control of the internal water level. A third probable fishpond lies adjacent to the outer bank of the moat in its north east quarter. It is formed by a bank 0.8m high around the north west and north, an inner facing scarp around the east and the outer face of the moat bank around the south.

All boundary features within the scheduled area are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Eyton, , 'Antiquities of Shropshire' in Antiquities of Shropshire: Volume IV, (), 373-4
Info from VCH historian, Cox, D, Lower Cleeton Moated Site, (1991)


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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