Paynsley Hall moated site and outer enclosure


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011050

Date first listed: 08-Nov-1993


Ordnance survey map of Paynsley Hall moated site and outer enclosure
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2018 at 09:38:43.


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

County: Staffordshire

District: Staffordshire Moorlands (District Authority)

Parish: Draycott in the Moors

National Grid Reference: SJ 98710 38009


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 monument survives well and has good historical documentation. The moated island will retain considerable structural and artefactual evidence for the original fortified manor house known to have existed on the island whilst the moat and ditch system will retain evidence for the environment and economy of its inhabitants. The monument represents a fine example of a combined moated site and water-management complex.


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


The monument includes the earthwork remains of a moated site which is enclosed within an outer ditched enclosure and an area of ridge and furrow cultivation. It is located in an isolated context and covers an area of approximately 3.75ha. Paynsley Hall moated site is bounded on its north-east, north-west and south-east sides by a shallow, waterlogged, outer ditched enclosure up to 10m wide. The north-east side of the enclosure ditch is approximately 230m long. There are the remains of a slight external bank beyond the north-eastern edge of the outer enclosure. At its eastern corner are traces of an outlet channel, the remains of which are included in the scheduling. There is a linear earthwork beyond the south-eastern edge of the outer ditched enclosure which has been modified by linear quarrying. The linear earthwork is considered to be the remains of a mutilated track or hollow way. The south- west side of the outer ditched enclosure is not visible at ground level but will survive as a buried feature running between the western and southern corners of the site. Centrally placed within the outer ditched enclosure is a moated site which has ditches up to 18m wide. The moated island has an irregular plan and is approximately 45m wide. It is slightly raised and is occupied by the 16th-century timber-framed house, called Paynsley Hall. At the south-easten edge of the moated island the moat widens to form a rectangular fishpond area which is 50m wide. The pond area is now dry and is bounded by a retaining bank on its north-east and south-east sides. The interior of the pond contains two mounds which represent artificial islands, probably provided for waterfowl. The south-western edge of the pond is no longer evident at ground level but will survive as a buried feature in the vicinity of the modern boundary south-west of Paynsley Hall. To the south-west of the moated island are the earthwork remains of ridge and furrow cultivation and the remains of a length of walling. The line of the wall can be traced as a slight earthwork and, in parts, it survives above ground as a low sandstone wall. Both the ridge and furrow and the sandstone walling overlie the remains of the south-western outer ditch and are included in the scheduling. The Draycot family held the manor at Paynsley from the time of William the Conqueror until the end of the 18th century. The moated site is believed to have been occupied by a fortified manor house prior to the construction of the present building. Excluded from the scheduling are the 16th-century timber-framed house which is a Grade II listed building, the agricultural outbuildings and cattle pens, the surfaces of the trackways and all fence posts but the ground beneath all these features 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: 21512

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Masefield, C, Staffordshire, (1918), 125-126
Plant, R, The History of Cheadle in Staffordshire, (1881), 179-181
Hammer, M E, 'Staffordshire Archaeology' in The Moated Sites of Staffordshire, , Vol. 3, (1974), 38

End of official listing