Sinai Park moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011068

Date first listed: 18-Jan-1994


Ordnance survey map of Sinai Park moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Staffordshire

District: East Staffordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Branston

County: Staffordshire

District: East Staffordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Shobnall

National Grid Reference: SK 22215 23090


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.

Sinai Park is in origin a very rare class of moated site; only a handful of similar monastic retreats or 'Seyney Houses' have been identified nationally. The central island retains buildings which date from this period of use and are probably unique survivals and the island also retains similarly rare deposits and features which relate to the site's unusual function. The site's importance is also enhanced by the survival of documentation relating to its unusual use in the monastic period.


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


Sinai Park moated site is situated in an isolated context, on a ridge of high ground overlooking Burton upon Trent. The monument includes the island and its associated moat ditch. The moated island is partly occupied by a timber-framed house which is a Grade II* Listed Building. The moated island has a sub-rectangular plan and measures approximately 50m NW-SE and 60m NE-SW. The present house on the moated island originally dates to the early 16th century; beneath the north wing, however, are the remains of an earlier stone structure. Access onto the island is currently by a brick-built bridge situated across the south-eastern arm of the moat and two modern causeways across the south-western and north-eastern moat ditches. The bridge is dated 1732 and is not included in the scheduling. The original access onto the moated island is thought to have been by a timber bridge. An excavation in 1988 located an oak foundation beam for a bridge in the central section of the north-western arm of the moat. The moat ditches measure up to 10m wide and are partially silted. The southern and northern corners of the moat remain water-filled. The north-western and south-western arms of the moat are approximately 2.5m deep, while the south-eastern and north-eastern arms measure up to 1.5m deep. The original inside edge of the north-western arm of the moat was not located during excavations in 1988, but is considered to lie close to the north wall of the north wing of the house. The house on the moated island and the moat ditches are undergoing restoration. In November 1988 the moat was mechanically re-excavated and seven 2m wide sections were laid out across the moat and archaeologically recorded. This work provided evidence for the date and character of occupation at the site. The earliest dating evidence was from the 16th century but it is considered that the moat was systematically cleaned out during earlier occupation of the site, leaving little evidence from earlier periods. The site at Sinai Park was the summer retreat of the abbots of Burton Abbey. By c.1320 there was 'a place surrounded by a ditch' in Shobnall Park, later called Sinai Park, which was used as a retreat for the monks undergoing blood-letting. It was still used for this purpose during the 1380s and the site remained in the abbey's possession until the 16th century. The 16th century house, which includes mid-17th, early 19th and late 20th century alterations, is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included. The fence posts, which currently follow the edge of the island, the breeze-block structure and the brick outbuilding, both situated in the northern part of the monument, the brick bridge across the south-eastern arm of the moat, the concrete surface of the farmyard at the southern corner of the monument and the cattle grid are also excluded from the scheduling, 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 4 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: 21535

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Greenslade, M W, Hannam, U C, The Victoria History of the County of Stafforshire: Burton Upon Trent, (1970), 204
Neal, M, Report of a Watching Brief at Sinai Park, (1988), 1
Neal, M A, A Medieval Moated Site at Sinai Park, Burton Upon Trent, (1988), 28

End of official listing