Lea Hall moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012093

Date first listed: 02-Nov-1995


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

County: Essex

District: Uttlesford (District Authority)

Parish: Hatfield Heath

National Grid Reference: TL 52834 15384


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.

Despite the infilling and the construction of modern buildings on the eastern arm of the northern enclosure, Lea Hall moated site is a well-preserved example of a double moated site: a comparatively rare category of moated site in Essex. The monument will retain archaeological information relating to the construction and occupation of the site, and the waterfilled ditches will retain environmental evidence relating to the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.


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


The monument at Lea Hall includes a double moated site situated on a gentle east facing slope, 750m north east of Hatfield Heath parish church. It includes a complete sub-rectangular moat with a second moated enclosure to the north. The southern moat is a maximum of 110m north-south by a maximum of 110m east-west. The moat arms are an average of 9m in width and are all waterfilled except the north western arm which has been partially infilled and survives as a dry earthwork 0.5m deep. A causeway, 8m wide with a stone and concrete bridge, gives access to the island across the northern arm. Three footbridges, all built of wood and concrete, cross the moat on the east, south and west arms. An internal bank, 0.5m high and 2m, wide surrounds the island to the south, east and west. The island is occupied by a mid-17th century house, Lea Hall, which has later additions and a modern outhouse and garage. The northern moated enclosure has a maximum dimension of 70m north-south. The northern arm is waterfilled and extends eastwards from a leat entering the site from the north west. Including the leat, therefore, the northern arm has an overall length of 130m and a maximum width of 11m. The western arm survives as partially infilled dry earthwork 6m wide, 0.5m deep and 70m long, continuing on the same alignment as the western arm of the southern moat. The eastern arm and the eastern part of the platform have been greatly modified by more recent buildings and infilling and are excluded from the scheduling. The site of Lea Hall is first mentioned in 1306. Lea Hall (Listed Grade II*), a piece of medieval window tracery now used as a garden ornament (Listed Grade II), outhouse, bridges, driveway and garage are all excluded from the scheduling though 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: 20760

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Reaney, PH, Place names of Essex, (1935), 41

End of official listing