Moated site known as Spriggs


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


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1016881.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2021 at 04:40:35.


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

Epping Forest (District Authority)
High Ongar
National Grid Reference:
TL 60114 05257

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 known as Spriggs 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 both artefacts relating to the period of occupation and environmental evidence for the appearance of the landscape in which the monument was set. The buried western and southern arms of the moat are known to have been infilled at an early date, and it is likely that they will retain sealed deposits from the earliest phases of the moat's occupation.

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 Fingrith Hall in the parish of Blackmore, 1.75km to the SSE, and at Shellow Hall and The Old Rectory in the parish of Willingale, 2.4km to the NNE and 2.3km to the NNW. 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.


The monument includes a medieval moated site known as Spriggs, which now forms part of the garden of an 18th century house of the same name, located 800m north of Norton Heath hamlet.

The moated site includes a rectangular island measuring a maximum of 38m east-west by at least 34m north-south. The island is contained by a water- filled moat or ditch on the north and east sides which measures approximately 6m wide and at least 1m deep. The southern arm of the moat survives as a buried feature, and the western arm has become silted and is now in use as a drainage ditch.

P H Reaney, in `The Placenames of Essex', states that Spriggs is thought to be associated with the family of Robert Sprigge who lived locally in the second half of the 15th century. The predecessor to the 18th century house, which is situated immediately to the south west of the moated site, stood on the north west corner of the island and is marked on Chapman and Andres' 1777 Map of Essex as `Sprig Hall'. The house was no longer standing in 1874 when the 1st edition 25" Ordnance Survey map was drawn up. When the site was visited in 1976 by the Moated Site Research Group however, medieval building debris, including fragments of peg tiles and bricks, was recorded on the north west corner of the island. The Chapman and Andre map shows the moat with the south and west sides missing, suggesting that these two arms were filled-in prior to 1777.

The stables, animal pens and fencing are all 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
The Moated Sites Research Group, (1976)
Reaney, PH, Place names of Essex, (1935)
Title: Map of the County of Essex Source Date: 1777 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Essex Record Office
Title: Ordnance Survey 1st Edition 25" Source Date: 1874 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Essex Record Office


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].