Rye House moated enclosure and gatehouse
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- East Hertfordshire (District Authority)
- Stanstead Abbots
- National Grid Reference:
- TL 38544 09916
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 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.
Rye House moated enclosure is considered to be one of the finest medieval moated sites in Hertfordshire. The monument survives in very good condition and displays an outstanding range of features including the remains of a fine 16th century gatehouse. The site has exceptional potential for the preservation of both wet and dry remains including the undisturbed remains of the original castle. The significance of the monument is considerably increased by the wide range of historical documentation relating to the site.
The monument includes the well-preserved remains of a medieval moat and
two-storeyed gatehouse located on the east bank of the River Lee. The moated
enclosure measures some 90 metres by 75 metres including the surrounding water
filled ditch which measures about 6 metres across. A broad leat connects the
moat to the river, with a further small leat leading into the moat from the
Entrance to the site is provided by a causeway on the south side which is
flanked by two twisted brick pillars which are re-erected late medieval
chimneys and are included within the scheduling. The interior is dominated by
the 16th century brick built gatehouse belonging to the castle. The gatehouse
is located on the east side of the island and must have been reached by an
earlier bridge than presently crosses the moat at this point. It is decorated
with cut brick details, castellated parapets and twisted chimneys and is
a Listed building grade I as well as being included within the scheduling.
Also visible on the southern side of the island are two sections of wall which
are the surviving remains of the castle which has recently been partially
marked out in modern brick although no excavations are believed to have been
undertaken at the site. The standing ruins are included within the
Historical records date from the 15th century when the site was licensed to
Andrew Ogard in 1440 in order to build a castle.
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
'East Herts Arch Soc' in East Herts Arch Soc, , Vol. 30, (1971), 210
RCHM (1910), (1910)
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