Medieval moated site and associated pillow mound, Wildwood Copse


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013034

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1990


Ordnance survey map of Medieval moated site and associated pillow mound, Wildwood Copse
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 22:42:59.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Surrey

District: Waverley (District Authority)

Parish: Alfold

National Grid Reference: TQ 05037 35290


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 example in Wildwood Copse exhibits good earthwork survival and a range of visible features, such as the inner and outer banks and the remains of the building. Unusually, the moated site is associated with a pillow mound. The continued waterlogging of the moat suggests that a variety of environmental evidence is likely to survive.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The moated site in Wildwood Copse includes a nearly-square moat with an outer bank on the north, east and west sides and an inner bank on the south and east sides. Within the moated area is a distinct mound which may represent the remains of a building, while at the north-east corner lies a pillow mound formerly used for breeding rabbits. Moated sites are generally seen as the prestigious residences of the Lords of the manor, the moat marking the high status of the occupier but also serving to deter casual raiders and wild animals. Most moats were constructed in the period to either side of 1300 AD, and it is to this period that the example in Wildwood Copse is likely to date. The inner and outer banks may originally have been continuous but survive only partially today. The outer bank is particularly evident on the north-east side where it appears to have been enlarged to form a pillow mound in which rabbits were reared for food. Inside the moated area a hollow on the southern side may indicate the location of a small fishpond, while a mound 18m long which rises about 1m above the surrounding land probably marks the site of the manor house since roofing tile and brick is visible on the surface here. The stream which supplied the moat now flows through the re-cut southern moat arm but leaves much of the original moat undisturbed. The stream itself is excluded from the scheduling, but the moat beneath it is included. All fencing within the scheduled area is also excluded from the scheduling.

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: 12759

Legacy System: RSM


Darvill, T C, MPP Single Monument Class Description - Warrens, (1988)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)
Surrey Antiquity 691,

End of official listing