Moated site at Moat House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017243

Date first listed: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Moat House
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Solihull (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Hampton in Arden

National Grid Reference: SP 20220 80785


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.

Partially moated and walled sites are relatively rare, and that at Moat House will provide information about the fashions, status and purpose attached to the moat at the time of its construction when moats were particularly favoured as high status sites in the forest lands of Warwickshire. In addition the walled southern side, constructed from massive blocks of imported red sandstone, which overlooks the road and the flood plain of the River Blythe may have acted to provide a semi-fortified appearance to the manor. Whilst the majority of the monument survives as earthworks providing information on the size and form of the moated site, those areas of the moat which have been partly infilled will be expected to preserve earlier deposits including evidence of its construction and any re-cutting or alterations which occurred during its active history. In addition the moat remains waterlogged in parts and will preserve environmental deposits providing information about the ecosystem and agricultural regimes around the moated site.

Geophysical survey has confirmed that the buried remains of buildings survive upon the island, these will provide evidence for their dates and methods of construction, occupation and demolition. Artefactual evidence will also illuminate the social history of the site, providing understanding of its occupants and their daily activities, as well as providing dating evidence. The arrangement of the agricultural and domestic ancillary buildings in relation to the residential quarters, will help illustrate the day to day functioning of the manor.


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


The monument includes the known extent of the buried, earthwork and standing remains of the partially moated and walled manorial complex at Moat House. The site is located in a landscape which was formerly part of the Forest of Arden, lying just below the crown of a hill overlooking the flood plain of the River Blythe, adjacent to the parish church, on the main Solihull Road.

On the north and east sides are the remains of a moat, whilst a large buttressed ashlar wall defines the south side and parts of the eastern and western sides. The local topography prevented the site ever being fully moated and the large wall to the south is believed to have been constructed as a counter-part to the moat where the land sloped too steeply to countenance a moat.

The site is sub-rectangular with all of the moat island and most of the moat and wall circuit surviving. It is orientated north to south and measures approximately 140m by 90m overall. The arms of the moat measure up to 15m wide and 3m deep on the north side, being shallower at the less complete east arm. There are traces of both an internal and external bank on the lip of the moat which will have added to its effectiveness both as a boundary and in terms of its visual impact. The moat is generally dry, but remains waterlogged in places, and is expected to preserve organic remains. The wall measures up to 3m high and is up to 1m wide at the base. It is constructed from monolithic ashlar blocks of imported sandstone. A gate in the eastern wall, 5m from the terminus of the eastern arm of the moat, leads directly from the site of the medieval manor house to the west entrance of the church; it is believed that this marks an original causeway between the two sites.

The moat island is level with the prevailing ground levels. Geophysical survey was carried out on the moat island in the 1990s. This indicated that, despite previous landscaping in the area, there is still considerable archaeological survival of buried features of the medieval period; in particular a large buried building, believed to be the medieval manor house, was located beneath the gardens to the east of the present buildings. Moat House, a Grade II* Listed Building, is sited on the island. It is a timber framed house of the 16th and 17th century believed to incorporate masonry reused from the medieval manor. The house is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

Although few earlier records survive, detailed records exist from the 17th century relating to the present house which is believed to represent an upgrading of the residence replacing the medieval manor house sited to the east, thus providing a more fashionable residence. The estate belonged to the Peel family and in the 19th century was owned by Sir Robert Peel. Sir Robert's son later built the Gothic mansion to the north west, and this became the primary residence, whilst the house on the moated site continued in use as a farm.

Moat House and all made up surfaces 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: 30055

Legacy System: RSM


Various SMR officers, Various notes in SMR Office, SMR West Midlands 3101

End of official listing