Moated enclosures, Well Wood and Chapel Wood, Watton-At-Stone
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1012054
Date first listed: 05-Jan-1976
Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1991
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: East Hertfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TL 28285 18843
Reasons for Designation
Around 6000 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 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. This moated site with its associated triangular enclosure is highly unusual for its class. The Well Wood site is made unusual through its association with the Chapel Wood site. Imported Caen stone ware indicates that the Chapel was not merely an ancillary place of worship but that it was a religious site of major significance, reflecting the wealth and status of the landowner. Both sites demonstrate the high potential for the survival of archaeological remains.
The monument includes the remains of a medieval moated enclosure next
to a contemporary non-moated enclosure of high religious status. The
Well Wood moated site consists of an irregular rectangular enclosure
orientated NE-SW and measuring 175m by 90m in overall dimension
including the 10 m wide moat. There is an inner bank which survives in
places up to a height of 2.5m. There appears to be an entrance causeway
on the SW side. No internal earthworks are visible although oyster
shells and medieval pottery have been noted in the centre of the island
suggesting (earlier) occupation.
Immediately to the south of the moat is the Chapel Wood site. This
monument includes the remains of a double enclosure with a small chapel
standing in the middle of it. The outer enclosure is triangular in shape
with its longest side measuring 270m. It consists of a dry ditch 5m wide
with an internal bank 1m high. There is an entrance on the NW side
opposite the entrance to the second inner enclosure. The latter is
subrectangular in form measuring some 50m by 65m with an inner bank and
ditch of similar shape and size to the external earthwork. The entrance
to the inner enclosure is through slightly inturned earthworks which
lead to the remains of a small stone faced chapel which has been partly
excavated. Only a few pieces of masonry and a low hump mark the remains
of the Chapel. Finds of imported stonework indicate this to be a very
high status ecclesiastical site.
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: 11523
Legacy System: RSM
re: Well Wood moated site, W-A-S, Rook, T,
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing