Blue Man's Bower moated site, Whiston


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Blue Man's Bower moated site, Whiston
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Rotherham (Metropolitan Authority)
Rotherham (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SK 43850 89606

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.

Blue Man's Bower is an unusual example of its class in that a natural feature has been used to create an outer enclosure round the moated site itself. Although no longer wet, its moat and fishponds are sufficiently waterlogged for there to be some survival of organic and palaeoenvironmental material. In addition, despite the 1939 excavation, undisturbed deposits remain on the island and also around it, between the moat and the outer enclosure.


The main component of Blue Man's Bower moated site is a small rectangular island, measuring c.12m x 15m, partially excavated in 1939 by C.E.Whiting. Found at this time were a series of large stones interpreted as padstones for a barn or similar building. The island seems too small, however, to have been the site of a house. Surrounding the island is a 5m wide moat with outer banks to the south-west and south-east and channels leading off at the south and west corners. These connected with a ditch running parallel with the south- west arm of the moat. This ditch, a dried-up stream-bed, indicates that the stream west of the site has been diverted, and that, at the time the moated site was built, it curved round the site as an outer moat instead of running past it north to south. It is crossed by a causeway mid-way between the channels coming off the moat and once connected with a line of infill, visible to the south and now overgrown with trees. Converging with this filled-in section is another line of infill representing a former course of the Ulley Brook along which the parish boundary still runs. Faint earthworks and a line of lush grass running northwards from the confluence, indicate a string of filled-in fishponds running north-south across the bend in the stream, thereby creating a bow- shaped outer enclosure round the moated site. The northernmost fishpond is still visible as a rectangular reed-filled depression measuring c.50m x 15m. A telegraph pole and its stays, within the constraint area, are excluded from the scheduling though the ground underneath 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Le Patourel, H E J, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, (1973)
Whiting, C E, 'Trans. Hunter Archaeological Society' in Trans. Hunter Archaeological Society, , Vol. V, (1943)


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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