Chitham's Farm moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016803

Date first listed: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Chitham's Farm moated site
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Nov-2018 at 17:54:58.


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

County: Essex

District: Chelmsford (District Authority)

Parish: South Hanningfield

National Grid Reference: TQ 70632 95698


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.

Chitham's Farm moated site survives well. Despite extensions to the house and other modern activities, the island remains largely undisturbed and will retain buried evidence for earlier structures, and other features relating to the development and character of the site throughout the periods of occupation. The buried silts in the base of the ditches will contain both artefacts relating to early habitation of the site and environmental evidence for the appearance of the landscape in which the monument was set.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are relatively numerous, with a further example site situated at Downham Hall, in the parish of South Hanningfield, 2.5km to the ESE. Comparative studies between these sites and with further examples from other regions, will provide valuable insights into the development of settlement and many other aspects of medieval society in England.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site surrounding Chitham's Farm on the western side of the village of Ramsden Heath.

The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island which measures a maximum of 64m north-south by 44m east-west. This is contained by a water-filled moat or ditch, measuring up to 8m wide and at least 2m in depth. The brick revetting, visible along the southern arm of the moat, is thought to be relatively modern but may have replaced an earlier retaining wall. The north eastern corner of the moat, which has been partly infilled, survives as a shallow earthwork measuring up to 0.4m in depth. A causeway across the eastern arm of the moat is depicted on the 1805 enclosure map of Ramsden Bellhouse and is believed to represent the original entrance to the moat. The house located on the north western corner of the island has been extended in recent years but is believed to have originated in the 16th century. A covered well is situated on the north west corner of the island.

The house, the sunken garden, the swimming pool, the tarmac and brick drive, the summer house, swimming pool shed, stone steps, pathways, outside lights, the bridges across the north, east, south and west arms of the moat, the patio and the septic tank are all excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath and surrounding these features 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: 33250

Legacy System: RSM


Royal Commission for Historical Monuments: Essex, (1923)
Title: Map of Ramsden Bellhouse Source Date: 1805 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Essex Records Office Ref: D/DHt P40
TQ79-003, Sellers, E E, Moated Site Research Group,

End of official listing