Blithewood moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011883

Date first listed: 17-Jan-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1992


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

County: Staffordshire

District: Staffordshire Moorlands (District Authority)

Parish: Checkley

National Grid Reference: SJ 99074 36542


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 in good condition, its earthworks being particularly evident. The site is a rare and unusual example in Staffordshire of a double moated site which has an additional moated arm on one side and illustrates well the diversity in form of this class of monument. Additionally the site is unencumbered by modern development and will retain considerable evidence of the structural foundations of the buildings on the island, and further finds of artefacts associated with the occupation of the monument.


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


The monument includes a well preserved double moated site with an additional moated arm on the E side. The site includes a raised grassy island measuring c.52m x 48m surrounded by a wet inner moat c.10m wide x 4.5m max. depth, beyond which is a flat-topped intermediate bank c.9m wide on the W side and 18m wide on the E. A wet outer moat c.10m wide x 4m max. depth surrounds these features. A dry channel issues from the SE corner of the inner moat and, cutting into the intermediate bank, connects with the outer moat. On the E side two external banks are separated by a waterlogged third moated arm c.7m wide which runs the full length of the monument. External banks also exist on the S, W and N sides, the former measuring c.8m wide x 0.5m high being the most prominent. The monument at Blithewood is largely undisturbed; however, a small excavation in 1846 found chain armour and medieval leather shoes. All fence posts along the E edge of the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 13467

Legacy System: RSM


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
English Heritage Rec Off SAM Report Print form T,
PRN NO. 182, Staffordshire SMR, Blithewood: Checkley,

End of official listing