Moat House moated site


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)
Stapleford Tawney
National Grid Reference:
TL 50029 02072

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 at Moat House survives well. The island remains largely undisturbed and will retain buried evidence for earlier structures, as well as other features relating to the development and use of the site throughout the 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 moated site was set.

Moat House moated site lies in an area where moated sites are comparatively numerous, with a further example situated 3.4km to the north west at North Weald Bassett. Comparisons between these sites and with further examples from other regions will provide valuable insights into the developments in the nature of settlement and their relationship to medieval society in England.


The monument includes a medieval moated site surrounding Moat House, which is situated on Tawney Common in the hamlet of Colliers Hatch.

The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island measuring a maximum of 40m north-south by 26m east-west which is raised by about 0.5m above the surrounding ground surface. This is contained by a water-filled moat or ditch measuring between 5m and 12m wide and a maximum of 2m deep. Moat House, which dates from the 17th century is a Listed Building Grade II and occupies the centre of the island. A causeway across the western arm of the moat provides access to the island. A spur of the ditch extending 4m beyond the outer edge of the western arm of the moat may have served as a watering place for cattle from the adjacent fields. A leat continues southwards for 8m from the eastern arm of the moat linking the moat with adjacent drainage ditches.

The moat is marked on a number of historic maps including Chapman and Andre's 1777 Map of Essex, the 1809 `Survey of a Farm in the Parish of Stapleford Tawney' which was reduced from a 1757 survey, and the 1838 Tithe Map of Stapleford Tawney. These show that the moated site has changed little from the late 18th century.

The house, the bridge across the east arm of the moat, the concrete platform on the west side of the island, the concrete steps, the patio, the oil tank, the concrete post, garden furniture, the telegraph pole, the gates and all the surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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:


Title: A Survey of a Farm in the Parish of Stapleford Tawney Source Date: 1809 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Essex Record Office: D/DQ 14/36
Title: Map of the County of Essex Source Date: 1777 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: ERO
Title: Ordnance Survey 2nd Edition 25" Map Source Date: 1896 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Essex Record Office: 50/15
Title: Tithe Map of Stapleford Tawney Source Date: 1838 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Essex Record Office: D/CT 331


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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