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 or, in some cases, which were used for horticulture.
The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and
seigniorial 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.
Moat Hill, Fenwick is a good example of a small moated site with an
attached fishpond. Although the moat is no longer water-logged, and
therefore unlikely to retain much surviving organic material, the
central island is undisturbed and will retain evidence of the buildings
that were originally located there.
The monument is an irregular quadrilateral in plan with a slightly
raised island measuring c.40m along the south and west and c.50m along
the north and east. A moat c.5m wide surrounds it and is crossed by a
causeway on the east side. The moat is dry now and there is no
indication of how it was formerly fed, therefore it is thought to have
been reliant on the natural water table which has since lowered. An arm
projecting from the north-west corner is still slightly marshy and is
interpreted as the remains of a fishpond. Only on the west side, where
the moat has been recut and laid with a hedge, is there any obvious
disturbance to the site, though it is possible that slight depressions
running north-south across the island are the remains of former ridge
and furrow cultivation, as plough ridges can be seen east of the site.
The island now displays no obvious sign of building foundations, but
stone wall footings have been seen on it in the past and, more recently,
limestone blocks were observed in the west arm of the moat.
Though the historical context of the monument is not known, according to
local tradition it was a Templar site.
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.