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.
Moat Farm moated site is a well-preserved example of this class of
monument, encompassing the remains of a late medieval residence and its
associated revetment wall. This wall is the finest and best preserved of its
type in Shropshire. In addition to these structures, the moated island will
retain structural and artefactual evidence of other contemporary and earlier
buildings. The remains of all these structures, together with the artefacts
and organic remains existing in the moat, will provide valuable evidence about
the occupation and social status of the inhabitants. Organic remains surviving
in the buried ground surface under the raised island and within the moat will
also provide information about the changes to the local environment and the
use of the land before and after the moated site was constructed. The
importance of the site is further enhanced by medieval and post-medieval
documentary sources which provide ownership information.
The monument includes the earthwork, standing structural and buried remains of
a medieval moated site. It is considered to be the manor of the Stapleton
family, and passed to Edward Leighton in 1455. The Leightons held the manor
until the 17th century when it was apparently sold to Lord Keeper Egerton and
became a farm.
The moated site is situated on level ground in an area of gently undulating
land. The moat, which has been largely infilled, defines a rectangular island,
36m south west - north east by 42m north west - south east. Access onto the
island is via a causeway that crosses the north western arm at its mid point.
Material excavated from the moat was used to raise the surface of the island
by about 2.5m above the level of the surrounding land. The sides of the island
have been strenghtened by the construction of a revetment wall of dressed
sandstone blocks. Considered to date to the 14th or 15th century, this wall
stands up to 2.5m high, and has been repaired in several places with uncoursed
rubble and brick. It is Listed Grade II and included in the scheduling.
The timber-framed house in the south west corner of the island was also
constructed in the 14th or 15th century and later remodelled in the 17th
century. Its external walls sit on a sandstone block foundation, the lower
courses of which are angled outwards, and define the edges of the island at
this point. This building is a separate construction to the revetment wall
which it abuts, although both structures would appear to have been built at
the same time. The house is a Listed Building Grade II* and is not included in
the scheduling. On the north west side of island, adjoining the house, and
aligned with the entrance causeway, a timber-framed two-storeyed jettied
gatehouse was constructed. The remains of this structure were demolished in
about 1950. Opposite the house, on the northern part of the island, is an
outbuilding of 17th century date, possibly incorporating some medieval
stonework. It is a Listed Building Grade II. The earliest large scale Ordnance
Survey map (published in 1882) indicates that much of the moat was infilled
prior to that date, and the only arm to contain water was on the north eastern
side. This arm, together with the south eastern arm is still waterlogged. The
early Ordnance Survey map also shows that the arms of the moat were between
10m and 12m wide. The infilled arms of the moat survive as buried features and
are included in the scheduling.
Moat Farm farmhouse and the associated outbuilding, the driveway and yard
surfaces, all ornamental garden features, the greenhouse and the base on which
it sits, all fences and modern garden walls, the oil storage tank and the
concrete blocks on which it stands, the utility poles, the water trough, and
the water pump house are excluded from the scheduling; the ground beneath
these features is, however, 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.