Hutton John moated site, moated annexe, possible fishpond and enclosure


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013651

Date first listed: 08-Feb-1995


Ordnance survey map of Hutton John moated site, moated annexe, possible fishpond and enclosure
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Hutton

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 44127 27015


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.

Hutton John moated site, moated annexe, possible fishpond and enclosure survive well and remain unencumbered by modern development. It will retain evidence for the buildings which originally occupied the moated platform and annexe. Additionally the monument has an extensive and complex system of moats, connecting channels and a possible pond. These features offer the potential for an understanding of the elaborate medieval water management system at this site.


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


The monument includes a moated site, an adjoining moated annexe, a possible fishpond, a series of connecting channels and an enclosure. It is located a short distance to the east of Hutton John pele tower, the moated site, moated annexe, possible fishpond and some of the connecting channels being situated on low-lying land, the enclosure and main feeder channels being located on a steeply sloping hillside immediately to the north. The moated site includes an island measuring approximately 40m by 33m, at the eastern end of which is an undulating raised platform upon which are traces of sandstone foundations of the house which originally occupied the site. Surrounding the island is a moat, measuring 2.5m-7m wide and now dry, which was fed by an inlet channel at its north west corner and has outlet channels at its south east and north east corners. The moat is flanked on all sides except the west by an outer bank up to 4.5m wide by 1m high that projects westwards beyond the western edge of the moat for some considerable distance before terminating against higher ground. Immediately to the north of the outer bank, and running parallel with the moat's northern arm, is what may be a dry fishpond measuring approximately 40m long by 6m wide which was fed by two inlet channels at its western and north western ends. Two outlet channels issue from the `pond': one connects with the moat's northern arm; the other runs from the pond's eastern end. To the west of the `pond' and moated island there are traces of a rectangular annexe containing a raised building platform measuring 14m by 6m and two small artificially levelled rectangular hollows which are thought to represent the site of structures. This annexe is surrounded by a dry channel or moat originally fed by two inlet channels leading from the hillside to the north and has a connecting channel feeding into the main moat. On the hillside to the north there are traces of an enclosure, approximately 70m square, with its east and west boundaries being formed by a stone bank and its north boundary being defined by a terrace. Elsewhere on the hillside there are water channels, the main one surviving as a terrace cut diagonally across the hillside and through the enclosure just described. The feeder channel to the `pond' runs downhill from this diagonal channel. Close to the foot of the hillside the diagonal channel connects with the `pond' outlet channel and nearby two other channels also connect with the `pond' outlet channel. The moated site is thought to be the precursor of the present pele tower at Hutton John. Although no documentary evidence for the building of the moated site exists it is thought to have been abandoned around the end of the 13th or beginning of the 14th century when William de Hoton is thought to have commenced work on the present site of Hutton John. The moated site is very low-lying and this factor, along with its location immediately next to a hillslope, suggests it may always have been damp and poorly drained. Attempts to remedy this situation may explain the complexity of channels and raised platforms evident at the site. Ultimately this situation may have led to its abandonment in favour of the adjacent higher site. All modern field boundaries and gateposts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.

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: 23756

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Huddleston, F, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in A Short Description of Hutton John, (1924), 164
Huddleston, F, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in A Short Description of Hutton John, (1924), 164
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Dennison, E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1988)
SMR No. 1142, Cumbria SMR, Hutton John Park, (1985)
SMR No.1142, Cumbria SMR, Hutton John Park, (1985)

End of official listing