Moated site at Huddington Court
- 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.
- Wychavon (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SO 94256 57301
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 Huddington Court survives as a well-preserved example of a moat including associated fishponds and evidence for the wider extent of the site during the medieval period. The island will preserve evidence of late medieval structures, including both domestic and ancillary buildings and their associated occupation levels. Evidence for former buildings, such as the demolished western bay of the house, is expected to be preserved. These remains will illustrate the nature of use of the site and the lifestyle of its inhabitants in addition to providing evidence which will facilitate the dating of the construction and subsequent periods of use of the moat. The moat ditch can be expected to preserve earlier deposits including evidence of its construction and any alterations during its active history. In addition, the waterlogged condition of the moat will preserve information about the environment and landscape in which it was set. The ditch to the south of the moat will provide evidence for the original extent and nature of the moated site and its possible later use as a garden feature, in addition to preserving, in its waterlogged deposits, climatic and environmental evidence. Complimentary to its archaeological importance is Huddington Court's historical role in the Gunpowder Plot, and the presence of a number of re-erected historic buildings from the Worcestershire area adds to the site's amenity value.
The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the manorial moat
and fishpond at Huddington Court. The monument is located on gently undulating
ground, a short distance to the west of Bow Brook. The parish church of
Huddington is situated adjacent to the south east corner of the moat and is
not included in the scheduling.
Huddington Court was, at the time of the Gunpowder Plot, the family home of
the Wyntour family and is believed to be the place where Robert Catesby, a
cousin of the Wyntours, first hatched the plot in 1604. On November 6th 1605
the conspirators met at Huddington to hear their final mass together. Robert,
Thomas, and John Wyntour were all executed for their part in the conspiracy,
as was Father Garnet who was implicated because of the use of Huddington as
the headquarters of the Jesuit Mission in England.
The island is rectangular, measuring some 80m by 40m, and is defined by a
substantial moat which remains water-filled. The moat measures up to 3m deep
and 10m wide, access being gained from three points. The main access is via a
Grade II Listed masonry bridge, in the centre of the eastern arm, with
secondary access directly opposite in the centre of the western arm, also via
a masonry bridge. The third access point is via a 19th century Grade II Listed
cast iron footbridge in the centre of the northern arm. This bridge was
brought to the site in the middle of the 20th century by a former owner. An
inlet leat from the adjacent stream is situated in the northern half of the
The island is generally level and landscaped, and no traces of structures
relating to the medieval occupation are evident, although they are expected to
survive as buried features. These will include both domestic and ancillary
buildings and their associated occupation levels. The western bay of the later
house, is expected to be preserved. At the centre of the island are located
the 15th century house which is Listed Grade I, a modern garage and, at the
south eastern corner of the western bridge, a late medieval timber framed
privy. These buildings are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath them is included. To the south west of Huddington Court are a late
18th century gate and gate piers which are Listed Grade II. These are
excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.
Parallel with its southern arm, and 20m to the south of the moat, is situated
a rectangular ditch approximately 60m long by 10m wide by 3m deep. This
waterlogged ditch is believed to represent the southern arm of a second
concentric moated enclosure which enclosed the surviving moat. This may later
have been utilised as a garden feature, and between this ditch and the south
western corner of the moat is situated a Grade II Listed orangery from the
former Strensham Lodge which was rebuilt here. The orangery is excluded from
the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included.
To the north west of the extant surviving moat is a large rectangular pond
measuring approximately 120m by 30m. This pond is believed to be the remains
of a large medieval fishpond which formed a western extension of the northern
arm of the outer moat. This is believed to have been modified as a garden
feature in the post-medieval period, and is not therefore included in the
scheduling. At the eastern end of the pond is a substantial modern dam and a
stream which exits the pond and flows eastwards, in the bottom of an
artificial cutting, towards Bow Brook. This is thought to represent the
northern arm of the former outer moat. The modern dam is excluded from the
scheduling although the ground beneath it is included.
All modern fencing and gates, modern ground surfacing, modern steps to the
moat, the timber framed dovecote (Listed Grade II and re-erected from
elsewhere), the three bridges, the orangery, the summer house, Huddington
Court, the gate and gate piers to the south west of Huddington Court and the
privy are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all 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:
Books and journals
The Victoria History , (1913), 408
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, (1968), 200
Rolt, L T C, Worcestershire, (1949), 139-40
Bond, C J, HW Provisional List of Moats, 1972,
Curry C, SMR Records, (1989)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6" Source Date: 1954 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
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