Moated site immediately west of Skreens Lodge


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

Epping Forest (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 61793 08043

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 immediately west of Skreens Lodge survives well. The island is largely undisturbed and will retain buried evidence for structures and other features relating to former periods of occupation. The buried silts in the base of the ditches will contain artefacts relating to the period of occupation and environmental evidence for the appearance of the landscape in which the monument was set. In particular, the partly infilled arm will preserve archaeological deposits illustrating the earliest use of the site.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are relatively numerous, enabling chronological and social variations to be explored. Further moated sites are situated at Shellow Hall, Willingale, 1.3km to the west and to the east of The Old Rectory, Willingale Doe, 2km to the WSW. Comparative studies between these sites and further examples from other regions, will provide valuable insights into the development of settlement and many other aspects of medieval society in England.


The monument includes a medieval moated site immediately west of Skreens Lodge, south of the road between Roxwell and Willingale and 210m to the ESE of Shellow Cross Farm.

The moated site includes a rectangular island which measures a maximum of 58m east-west by approximately 30m north-south. The island is contained by a moat or ditch measuring a maximum of 1.5m in depth and up to 5m wide on the west, south, and east sides. The majority of the northern arm of the moat, except for a 20m section at its eastern end, survives as a buried feature. A leat extends for a short distance to the east from the north east corner, towards Hangman's Spring which is thought to have served as the principal water supply. A sample of this feature is included in the scheduling.

Both the 1800 Estate map of Willingale Doe and Shellow Bowells and the 1837 tithe map of Willingale depict the moat with the greater part of the north side missing, suggesting that the northern arm was filled in prior to 1800. When the site was visited in 1976 by the Moated Site Research Group it was recorded that the northern arm remained visible as a vague depression.

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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
'Moated Sites Research Group' in Moated Sites Research Group, (1976)
Essex Record Office Ref: D/P 339/3/5, Willingale Doe and Shellow Bowells, (1800)
Title: Willingale Tithe Map Source Date: 1837 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Essex Record Office Ref: D/CT/402


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

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