Summerhouse moated site and associated drainage channels, enclosure and field system


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011265

Date first listed: 19-Jan-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Oct-1993


Ordnance survey map of Summerhouse moated site and associated drainage channels, enclosure and field system
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. 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.

District: Darlington (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Summerhouse

National Grid Reference: NZ 20215 18928


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.

Although a large number of moated sites survive in England relatively few are known in the northern counties including County Durham. The site at Summerhouse survives well and features such as the tower suggest it formerly supported a building of some importance. Additionally, its dominant position at one end of the village green indicates that it had an important role in the life of the medieval village.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site and its related drainage channels, a rectangular enclosure and part of an adjacent field system. The monument is situated on level ground immediately adjacent to Summerhouse Beck and at the southern end of a long village green, now encroached upon by other buildings. The moated site is rectangular in shape and measures 15m east-west by 20m north-south within a ditch 10m wide and up to 1m deep. At the south- western corner of the enclosed island there are the remains of a circular structure measuring 12m in diameter interpreted as the remains of a tower. The site has the appearance of a defended manor house situated at one end of the village green. Adjoining the moated site at its south-eastern corner is a series of ditches, drainage channels with well defined banks to the outside. The ditches are 10m wide and the banks survive to a height of 1.5m above the bottom of the ditches. These channels are placed roughly at right angles to each other and represent a form of water regulation associated with the moated site. Immediately to the south of the moated site is a rectangular enclosure, the remains of a substantial building measuring 23m by 10m within a slight bank 2m across. The remains of at least two other enclosures, of agricultural function, lie to the west of the moated site. At the southern end of the site part of the rig and furrow cultivation of the associated medieval field system is preserved, apparently bounded by the banks and ditches of the drainage system. All fences are excluded from the scheduling, as is a small shed at the western end of the site, 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: 20875

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Surtees, R, The Victoria History of the County of Durham, (1905)
1:2500, Summerhouse, (1991)

End of official listing