Hell Wood moated site and enclosure


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


Ordnance survey map of Hell Wood moated site and enclosure
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Broxbourne (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 35601 04785

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 site at Hell Wood is an unusual example of a relatively small moat with a very large attached enclosure. The massive size of the enclosure bank probably indicates a defensive function for the site boundary. The well- preserved nature of the enclosure and moat together with the waterlogged and silted condition of the ditches offers considerable potential for the survival of archaeological and environmental remains.


The moated site at Hell Wood is situated north of Cheshunt about 500m east of the A10. The monument comprises a rectangular moat with additional earthworks to the north and north-east forming an adjacent enclosure. The moat itself measures c.70m north-south by c.75m east-west. All four arms are waterlogged and are c.17m wide and up to 4m deep. There is a causeway at the north-east corner which is c.5m wide. The western boundary of the outer enclosure is formed by a large bank approximately 3m high, 10m wide and 160m long. It is on the same alignment as the western arm of the moat and is cut by the brook. To the north, the boundary is formed by a ditch about 10m wide and 0.5m deep with a maximum length of 360m. The enclosure is bounded on the south side by the brook.

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:
Legacy System:


SMR No: 070250, Information from SMR,


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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