Ashen House moat and fishpond, 500m north of St Augustine's Church.


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013762

Date first listed: 22-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Ashen House moat and fishpond, 500m north of St Augustine's Church.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Braintree (District Authority)

Parish: Ashen

National Grid Reference: TL 74824 42799


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.

Despite partial infilling of the moat arms, the moated site and fishpond at Ashen House survive well and will retain archaeological information relating to the original function and occupation of the site. The site contains a wide diversity of components associated with moated sites including the moat and island, the fishpond and the leats as well as the 16th century house and the buried remains of the chapel, a relatively rare feature. The fishpond, in particular, will provide information related to the economy of the site. Organic remains will be preserved in the water filled moat ditches. These remains will not only provide information about the site itself but also the environment in which it was constructed and used.


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


The monument at Ashen House includes a moated site and fishpond situated on a north facing spur overlooking the River Stour, 500m north of Ashen parish church. The moated site is rectangular in plan and measures 60m east-west by 50m north-south. The northern and western arms are water filled by a spring and measure approximately 10m in width and 2m in depth. The northern arm has been revetted on both sides in brick. The southern arm remains visible as a dry hollow, also 10m in width and approximately 0.4m in depth. The eastern arm is visible at its southern end as a slight terrace, approximately 0.3m high. The northern part of the eastern arm is no longer visible on the ground but will be preserved as a buried feature, its corner sealed by a small outbuilding. A wooden footbridge, 2m wide, provides access to the island across the northern arm of the moat although the main access to the island is a causeway c.1.5m wide at the north eastern corner of the moat. The island is occupied by a house which dates from c.1542, which is Listed Grade II. A rectangular fishpond, which measures 22m east-west by 7.5m north-south and is 0.6m deep, is situated 30m north of the moat. It is connected to the moat by a leat, 1m wide, and has another leat running northwards from its north eastern corner which allows the water to flow north to the river. The pond is now dry but the pond, the whole of the southern leat, connecting it to the moat, and a short length (10m long) of the leat to the north are included in the scheduling. The site is thought to have been the location of a chapel prior to the construction of the present house, and the remains of the chapel and its associated buildings will survive as buried features. The house, outbuilding, fences, bridge and driveway 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. 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: 20768

Legacy System: RSM


SMR No 6979, Information From SMR,

End of official listing