Rye House moated enclosure and gatehouse


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Rye House moated enclosure and gatehouse
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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 north. 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 scheduling. 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

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