Coldharbour Moat


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010744

Date first listed: 02-Jan-1992


Ordnance survey map of Coldharbour Moat
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hertfordshire

District: Welwyn Hatfield (District Authority)

Parish: Essendon

National Grid Reference: TL 28362 05816


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.

Coldharbour Moat is well documented both archaeologically and historically. It is well preserved and there is high potential for the recovery of organic deposits due to waterlogging. Although partially excavated, a substantial area of the site is undisturbed and retains considerable archaeological potential.


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


Coldharbour Moat, situated in Friday Field south of Essendon, is a rectangular shaped moat. It measures c.73m north-west/south-east by c.70m north-east/ south-west. The arms measure c.9m in width and between c.1.5m and 1.8m in depth, apart from the southern arm which is silted up. The western arm is presently waterlogged. During excavations in 1939 the remains of a building were discovered in the north-west corner of the island. The building can be dated to the early 14th century by the pottery sherds found in association with it. Pottery dating from the 15th to 16th centuries was also recovered indicating that the site had a history of use over at least 300 years. It is thought that the moated site represents the remains of the manor house of Hornbeamgate, first documented in 1370.

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: 20611

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Rutherford - Davies, , 'TEHAS' in , , Vol. Xl, (1940), 11-15
SMR No: 070250, Information from SMR,

End of official listing