Chapel Hill moated site: a medieval hermitage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016694

Date first listed: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Chapel Hill moated site: a medieval hermitage
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Tealby

National Grid Reference: TF 13027 89441


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.

Following St Augustine's re-establishment of Christianity in England in AD 597, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular medieval life. Although usually living in communities, some men and women chose to live solitary lives of contemplation and simplified religious observance, akin to those of the Christian fathers and early British saints. Known as hermits, they lived in secluded sites such as isolated islands and caves in river banks, marshy areas or forests.

The hermits lived off alms or under the patronage of the nobility who commissioned them to pray for the souls and well-being of their families. Hermitages were generally simple, comprising a dwelling area, an oratory or room set aside for private prayer, and perhaps a small chapel. They fell out of favour with the Dissolution of religious establishments in the middle of the 16th century. Around 500 hermitages are known from documents but the locations of very few have been identified with certainty, and they are therefore rare nationally. All examples which exhibit surviving archaeological remains are therefore considered worthy of scheduling.

The medieval moated hermitage at Chapel Hill survives well as a series of earthworks and buried deposits. The buried building remains will preserve evidence of the nature and layout of the religious and domestic buildings. In addition, the artificially raised ground and the banks around the moat will preserve evidence of the land use prior to the construction of the moat. As a result of historical research and archaeological survey the site is quite well understood.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site located at Chapel Hill, believed to be the site of a 14th century hermitage. In 1336 Edward III gave protection for one year for Roger de Staunford and Richard de Burle, hermits of the chapel of St Thomas at Tealby, and their attorneys to collect alms. The chapel is referred to in a document of 1638, but by the end of the following century no buildings remained standing.

The monument includes a platform, or island, enclosed by a moat with external banks and water control features. The island is rectangular in plan, measuring approximately 45m by 40m, and is slightly raised above the surrounding ground level. On the northern part of the island there is a roughly square raised platform measuring approximately 20m in width which is believed to be the location of former buildings including a chapel and domestic accommodation. A further building platform is located at the south western corner of the island.

The moat, now dry, measures 6m to 8m in width and up to 1.5m in depth with a slight internal bank on the eastern arm, a broad external bank measuring approximately 8m across on the western arm, and a slight external bank at the north east corner of the moat. A shallow channel enters the moat at the north western corner with an outlet channel provided at the south western corner.

All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although 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: 31627

Legacy System: RSM


RCHM(E), Everson, P L and Taylor C C and Dunn, C J, Change And Continuity: Rural Settlement in North-West Lincolnshire, (1991)

End of official listing