Moated site in Wassell Wood, 400m south of Trimpley Green
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1014743
Date first listed: 11-Jun-1976
Date of most recent amendment: 19-Jun-1996
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wyre Forest (District Authority)
Parish: Kidderminster Foreign
National Grid Reference: SO 79470 77647
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.
The moated site in Wassell Wood survives in good condition and its hilltop position and method of construction is unusual for this class of monument. The platform will retain structural evidence for the building or buildings it housed, as well as environmental and artefactual evidence for the activities taking place there. Similarly, the ditch fills will retain archaeological material relating to occupation and land use, and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the site was constructed. Evidence for structures such as a bridge will be preserved by the ditch deposits and in the platform itself. The ground surface sealed beneath the surrounding bank will preserve evidence for land use immediately before the construction of the site. The monument forms part of a broader picture of medieval settlement in Hereford and Worcester, and as such can increase our understanding of the settlement pattern, economy, and social structure of the region during the medieval period.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a moated site,
situated in a strategically strong position on the summit of a small, roughly
north-south orientated spur, and with extensive views over the surrounding
The enclosure is rectangular in plan, with maximum dimensions of 120m north west to south east by 86m transversely. It includes a central platform measuring 64m by 45m which has been created by a levelling and scarping of the hilltop to give a level interior surface raised above the surrounding natural land surface. The platform scarp is clearly defined and varies in height between 2.5m on its highest west side, and 1.2m on its east side. The site is defined by a substantial ditch around all sides, averaging 8m wide and 1m deep. The spoil from this ditch has been thrown outwards to form a large spread bank up to 12m wide and 1.5m high on its outside. Along the north east side the outer edge of this bank merges with the natural hillslope, and at its east end the bank and outer edge of the ditch appear to have been removed, perhaps by quarrying, and the hillside slopes steeply away. A probable original entrance lies at the change of slope in the north west corner of the site. A lowering of the outer bank midway along the south west side appears to be a later modification. This may be associated with two scooped building platforms which have been cut into the inner scarp from the ditch bottom at the south west corner of the moat. Slight surface irregularities visible on the platform represent the buildings and other structures that originally occupied the interior.
In shape and form the earthworks show most of the characteristics of medieval moated enclosures, even though the ditch was clearly not designed to hold water. The monument is therefore attributed to the medieval period and described as a moated site.
The fence along the north east side of the monument is excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath it 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: 19141
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Bowen, , The hillforts of Worcestershire and its borders
Nash, T, Collections for the history of Worcestershire
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