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 Warren Hall example is unusual in this area for possessing two islands
and is particularly important for having the preserved timbers of a bridge
in situ. Furthermore, additional organic and palaeoenvironmental material is
likely to have survived in the moat.
Both islands are largely undisturbed, therefore substantial archaeological
deposits will survive well.
Warren Hall moated site consists of two islands, the northernmost raised
and measuring c.50m x 50m and the southernmost level and measuring c.30m
x 30m. The larger is surrounded to west, south and east by a 10m wide
waterfilled moat thought to have relied on the natural water-table for
its supply. To the north the moat is filled in and partially overlain
by the modern farmyard, and it was here, during the construction of a
slurry pit in c.1962, that timbers thought to have been part of a bridge
were unearthed and covered up again.
The moat round the south island exists only on the east side where it
has been recut as part of a modern drain. The line of it, however, can
be seen where a partly filled ditch runs on the south and west sides.
The smaller island, which has a low bank round the edge, is interpreted
as a garden or orchard attached to the main house site which lay on the
adjacent larger island. Medieval tile, currently with Doncaster Museum,
has been found on site and the present house is purported to contain
remnants of an older, larger house. The name Warren Hall is said to have
derived from the de Warennes for whom the site may have been a hunting
lodge. The first documentary reference, however, is in 1521 when the
site was leased by William Copley, having formerly been in the
possession of the Fitzwilliam family. Excluded from the scheduling are
all modern buildings, paths, gates and fencing, but all the ground
beneath these features is included.
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.