Upper Barn moat


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


Ordnance survey map of Upper Barn moat
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 42169 86095

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.

Upper Barn moat is a good example of an isolated moated site reflecting the rise in wealth of the area after wholesale woodland clearance in the later medieval period. The site is essentially undisturbed and will retain considerable potential for both archaeological and environmental evidence.


Upper Barn moat lies 1km to the north-west of Wistanstow. The site is situated in an elevated position on a south-east facing slope overlooking the village. The site is almost square and covers an area measuring 78m x 80m. The moat island is surrounded by a flat-bottomed ditch 2.5m deep and 10m wide. This ditch is waterlogged and fed by a stream which enters the site on the north-western corner and runs out through a modern gap in the bank on the south-eastern corner of the moat. The moat island stands 1m above the surrounding land surface and the uneven interior suggests the presence of buried structures. A causewayed entrance 3m wide crosses the moat ditch in the north-western corner and gives access to the interior. There is an outer bank, 6m wide and 1.5m high, on the south and east sides of the moat ditch and traces of remains of an outer bank on the west side. Upper Barn is a medieval homestead moat which is isolated from any contemporaneous settlement. The location may be attributed to woodland clearance, or assarting, which provided additional agricultural land during a period of intensive agricultural expansion in the area.

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


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

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Watson, M D, 'West Midlands Archaeology' in Medieval Moated Sites in Shropshire, , Vol. 24, (1981), 35-44


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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