Medieval moated site at Leigh Place
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1013040
Date first listed: 03-Apr-1991
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Mole Valley (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TQ 22471 47285
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.
Leigh Place is one of the few examples in Surrey where the settlement of the moated site has been continuous. The large area unoccupied by modern buildings and currently under lawns means that the island is of particularly high archaeological potential.
The monument includes a medieval moated site comprising not only the water-
filled moat and the nearly-square island within the moat but also the
embanked area around the moat on all but the west and north-west sides. This
is the site of a medieval moated manor dating from at least 1281AD, which
was the prestigious residence of the Lords of the manor. Historical
documentation shows the manor to have taken the form of a number of
buildings arranged around a courtyard, the buildings occupying the majority
of the island.
In its present form the moat measures 6-7m in width and encloses an island
some 50m E-W by 40m N-S. It is brick-lined around the western half of its
circuit. The bank around the moat attains a maximum height of 1.5m and is at
most 17m across, but it diminishes on the north-east side to 0.4m high and
6m across. The bank is cut on the eastern side by an outlet leat which
appears to have replaced an earlier leat 2m to the north which is now
The present house, part of which dates from the 15th century but which has
been remodelled in the 17th-19th century, is listed grade II* and is
excluded from the scheduling. Also excluded are all upstanding structures
such as outbuildings, the bridges which provide access to the island, the
fence, steps and slipway around the moat, electricity poles, the service
pipelines and their immediately overlying soil and the paved paths. The
ground beneath each of these structures and beneath the house, however, is
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: 12762
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Malden, H E, The Victoria History of the County of Surrey: Volume III, (1911), 210-11
Watney, J, Surrey Arch. Collections, (1893), 141-84
Listed buildings greenback, (1896)
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