Moated site in Upper Kempley Wood, Willaston


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017011

Date first listed: 08-May-1978

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Moated site in Upper Kempley Wood, Willaston
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Ightfield

National Grid Reference: SJ 59805 36004


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.

The moated site in Upper Kempley Wood is a well-preserved example of this class of monument. The moated island will retain structural and artefactual evidence of the buildings that once stood on the site, which together with the artefacts and organic remains existing in the moat will provide valuable information about the occupation and social status of the inhabitants. Organic remains surviving in the buried ground surfaces under the external banks and in the moat will also provide information about changes to the local environment and use of the land before and after the moated site was constructed. The close proximity of the moated site to the earlier motte castle suggests these two monuments were related, thus indicating the changing forms of manorial residence.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated site constructed on high ground in an area of undulating land. It lies 70m north east of a motte castle, which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The water-filled moat defines a roughly square island 42m across. The arms of the moat are between 10m and 14m wide and have an average depth of 1m. Material excavated from the moat has been used to create external banks 8m wide along the northern and eastern moat arms. The northern bank is 0.7m high and the eastern bank, 0.4m high. Material extracted when the moat was cleaned out has been deposited along the outer edge of the southern moat arm. A causeway crosses the western arm of the moat and provides access to the island. In the north eastern part of the island there is a spread of stone and bricks, lying on top of which is a sandstone block inscribed with the words `Old Well'. In the eastern part of the island embedded sandstone boulders and cobbles indicate the existence of other structures, which will survive as buried features. A curving trench in the northern part of the island that connects with the northern arm of the moat appears to have been created as part of a modern drainage operation. There are other drainage ditches that cut through the outer banks on the northern and eastern sides of the site.

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: 32311

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing