Medieval moated site at Leigh Place


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013040

Date first listed: 03-Apr-1991


Ordnance survey map of Medieval moated site at Leigh Place
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Feb-2019 at 04:40:21.


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

County: Surrey

District: Mole Valley (District Authority)

Parish: Leigh

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 infilled. 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 included.

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)

End of official listing