Colney Chapel moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010718

Date first listed: 30-Jan-1992


Ordnance survey map of Colney Chapel moated site
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 06:53:12.


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

County: Hertfordshire

District: St. Albans (District Authority)

Parish: London Colney

National Grid Reference: TL 17437 03123


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.

The moated site at Colney Chapel is an unusual example of a moat with the surviving remains of a central chapel. It has a well-documented history and is an example of the significant role played by such small chapel sites in the religious life of the later medieval period.


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


The moat at Colney Chapel is situated south-west of London Colney on the south side of the River Colne. It is an oval shaped moated site with an island measuring c.115m east-west by c.37m north-south. The moat is dry and is now approximately only 3m wide and 1.2m deep, although it is known within living memory to have been 9m to 10m wide. There are two accesses to the island: one via a small path at the east end of the island, the other across a small modern concrete bridge at the west end of the island. At the east end of the island are the foundations of the chapel. These were partly restored in the 1920's on the line of the original chapel and include two courses of flint wall forming a rectangular shaped structure. West of the chapel is a small circular pond, now dry, approximately l0m in diameter with a brick built causeway across it, which is presumed to be modern. The chapel is first mentioned at the time of the Norman Conquest when a chantry chapel was dedicated to St. John the Baptist on a small island encircled by the River Colne. According to historical documents the chapel was not used for religious services after 1471 when the last priest of Colney Chapel died. There is a reference to the underpinning of the walls of the chapel in 1566 indicating that for a long time it remained in use as a religious site. The footbridge at the west end of the island and the modern causeway across the pond on the island are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

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: 20614

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County : Volume II268
SMR No: 070250, Information from SMR,

End of official listing