Corfham Castle moated site and water management system 460m west of Peaton Bridge


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Corfham Castle moated site and water management system 460m west of Peaton Bridge
© 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 52541 84989

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.

The complex moated site known as Corfham Castle survives well and is a good example of its class. The moat platform retains valuable information about the substantial stone building which once stood upon the platform, allowing an understanding of the date of its construction and the nature of its occupation. Similarly the interior of the attached enclosure will retain archaeological evidence relating to the period of its construction and the character of its use. Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the moats were built and the economy of the inhabitants will be preserved sealed on the old land surface beneath the moat platform, which stands higher than the surrounding natural ground surface. Similar environmental evidence, possibly including organic material, will be preserved in the fill of the moat ditches and the associated water channels. The site represents a large and important moated complex and such monuments, when considered as single sites or as a part of a larger archaeological landscape, contribute valuable information concerning the settlement pattern, economy and social structure of the countryside during the medieval period.


Corfham Castle includes the remains of a moated house, an associated moated enclosure and a water management system occupying the north end of a low ridge overlooking a shallow coombe to the south west and situated midway between the River Corve to the west and Pye Brook to the east. Near the centre of the monument is a roughly rhomboidal moated platform with internal dimensions of 32m both north to south and east to west. Its level surface stands 2m above the bottom of the surrounding moat and some 0.4m above the level of the surrounding natural ground surface. Visible on the top of the platform are a series of surface irregularities and a scatter of broken masonry. These are the remains of a large rectangular building measuring approximately 24m east to west by 20m transversely. A linear bank of stone rubble 20m long by 5m wide and 1m high marks the east side of the building. Circular hollows at the north west, north east and south east corners of the building probably represent the foundations of three circular towers each with an approximate diameter of 6m. A roughly rectangular quarry hollow flanked by a low bank running south east for 5m from the south west corner of the building may be the site of a rectangular corner tower. Surrounding the platform is a well defined moat varying between 15m and 10m wide, and from 0.4m deep in the south to 1.6m on the north. The south west corner of the moat has been largely infilled but will survive as a buried feature. To the immediate north of the moated platform, adjacent to the north side of the moat is a large rectangular moated enclosure. It lies orientated roughly north east to south west and has internal dimensions of 70m north west to south east by 50m transversely. It is enclosed by a substantial ditch up to 16m wide and 3.5m deep externally and 3m internally. Along the north side of the enclosure there is an inner bank up to 5m wide and 0.9m high. Faint traces of a similarly positioned bank can be recognised along the east and west sides of the enclosure. The original entrance to the enclosure probably lay at its north west angle. However there is some evidence of later alterations in this area, where the enclosure ditch has been partly infilled and the inner rampart removed. A well defined channel runs for some 120m from the south east corner of the enclosure, curving towards the Pye Brook to the east. Though now dry, this leat would originally have supplied water to the moats. A low mound south of this supply leat, orientated roughly east to west and measuring some 30m long by 20m wide and 1.4m high, forms a part of the water control system. Water from the moat system would have discharged from the south end of the west arm of the larger moated enclosure, running westwards to join with the River Corve. All watercourses and both moats are now dry.

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.

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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.

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