West End House moated site, 640m west of St Lawrence's Church

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1012097
Date first listed:
23-Feb-1998

Map

Ordnance survey map of West End House moated site, 640m west of St Lawrence's Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:
Essex
District:
Braintree (District Authority)
Parish:
Ridgewell
National Grid Reference:
TL 73359 40833

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.

West End House moated site is an unusual shape, remains well preserved and will retain archaeological information relating to the construction and occupation of the site. The water-filled ditches will retain environmental evidence relating to the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.

The site is close to a second moated site at Moat Farm 250m to the south (the subject of a separate scheduling) and associations such as this allow a study of the relationships between different types of moated site and illustrate the ways they functioned in the wider context of the village and the parish.

Details

The monument at West End House includes a medieval moated site situated on relatively high ground to the north of the River Colne, immediately north of the Stambourne Road (Drury Lane) and some 350m to the west of centre of the village of Ridgewell.

The moated site is triangular in shape, defined by two arms of a water-filled ditch which converge at a point some 105m to the north of Stambourne Road. These ditches, fed by drainage, measure between 7.5m and 4m in width and average approximately 2m in depth. The southern end of the eastern arm now terminates some 50m from Drury Lane, although it is known to survive as a buried feature reaching almost to the northern side of West End House (approximately 25m from the road). The western arm similarly terminates some 30m short of the road, where it is joined by two channels - a narrow leat (not included in the scheduling) extending westwards towards The Mill House and a wider spur curving to the south east. The south eastern spur is shown as a narrow drain continuing towards the road on maps dating back to 1873, although this section has been considerably modified in recent times and is therefore not included in the scheduling.

The interior of the monument is level and is thought to retain buried evidence for the structures which the moat was originally designed to enclose. The southern edge of the area flanked by the moat arms (along the road frontage) is, however, not included in the scheduling. This area was formerly occupied by an 18th and 19th century farm, of which only one building, West End House, remains. Modern houses now occupy the site of the wider farm complex.

All outbuildings, fences and the surfaces of all paths are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
20767
Legacy System:
RSM

Sources

Other
Title: Map of Essex Source Date: 1777 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

Legal

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

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