Essex Hall moated site, 700m ESE of Three Chimneys Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013761

Date first listed: 22-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Essex Hall moated site, 700m ESE of Three Chimneys Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Jan-2019 at 03:36:00.


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

County: Essex

District: Braintree (District Authority)

Parish: Ridgewell

National Grid Reference: TL 72360 39963


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.

As a double moated site Essex Hall moated site is of unusual form and a rare survival. It remains well preserved and will retain archaeological information relating to the construction, development and occupation of the site. Evidence of the location of the original house associated with the 14th century documentary source will be preserved on one or both of the islands. The water filled ditches will retain environmental evidence relating to the economy of the inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.


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


The monument at Essex Hall includes a double moated site situated on the flood plain of the River Colne, 700m ESE of Three Chimneys Farm. The two moats are alongside each other and are orientated north west-south east. The smaller of the two moats is rectangular in shape and measures 72m north west-south east by a maximum of 60m north east-south west. The northern, western, eastern and parts of the southern arm remain visible as earthwork ditches, 8m wide and a maximum of 1.2m deep. The northern and eastern arms remain water filled through a spring in the eastern arm. The south eastern corner of the moat is no longer visible at ground level, it has been infilled but is preserved as a buried feature. The middle section of the southern arm has been widened to form a sunken rose garden. A causeway, 3m wide, gives access to the island across the northern arm of the moat. The south eastern corner of the island is occupied by a house which was originally built in the 1680s and has more modern additions. It is a Grade II Listed building. Other modern outbuildings also occupy the island. On the western half of the island are two square-shaped earthwork depressions, aligned with the moat arms. These are considered to be garden features associated with the construction of the sunken rose garden. The northern arm of the small moat extends south eastwards to form the northern arm of the larger moated site, to the south east of the smaller one. The eastern arm of this second moated site also remains visible whilst the eastern arm of the small moat forms the northern part of the western arm. The southern part of the western arm of the large moated site remains visible as an earthwork bank, approximately 0.3m high, representing the eastern bank of the moat ditch. A barn has been constructed on the southernmost point of this arm but archaeological features remain preserved beneath. The southern arm of the moat is no longer visible at ground level, but is preserved as a buried feature along a line to the north of the present driveway. The larger moat is thus rectangular in plan and measures 90m north west-south east by 102m north east-south west. Both the northern and eastern arms remain water filled and are between 10m and 5m in width and 1.2m deep. The moated island is occupied by a tennis court. The moated site at Essex Hall is thought to be named after John `Essex' who occupied the site in 1361. It is first referred to as Essex Hall in 1549. The house, outbuildings, tennis court, paths and fences are all excluded from the scheduling though the ground beneath them 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: 20766

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Reaney, PH, Place names of Essex, (1935), 453

End of official listing