Woking Palace moated site, fishponds and ruins at Oldhall Copse


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Woking Palace moated site, fishponds and ruins at Oldhall Copse
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Woking (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 02911 57083

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.

Woking Palace is of particular importance because of its excellent survival, high diversity, enormous archaeological potential both on the island itself and in the waterlogged moats and particularly because of its historical association with royalty and the amenity value which it is afforded by this association.


The moated site at Woking Palace includes the earthworks of the moat and its surviving inner bank, the area within the moat which contains ruined and standing buildings and, within the copse on the north west side, a group of fishponds. This unusually large moated site was a royal residence dating from at least 1272 which was used by Edward IV and Henry VIII.

The monument features at its centre a stone building with a 14th century doorway and a brick barrel vault with some original stone ribs. The ruins of a brick-built barn of 16th century date adjoin this stone building, while to the east are the brick and stone foundations of further buildings, some or all of which belong to the medieval or early post-medieval manor.

Around the perimeter, except to the south, is a moat which is seasonally water-filled. The southern limit itself is formed by the River Wey, an area of which contains a submerged timber structure believed to be a contemporary wharf. This was discovered and recorded in the northern half of the river at the east end of the monument in 1996. On the western side of the monument the moat is bounded by a slight outer bank and a substantial inner bank which in turn has an inner narrower moat. It was from this inner moat that water was directed into the two parallel rectangular fishponds, thence to a third and now partly infilled pond and finally into an internal projection of the moat which led northwards from the centre of the monument to the main moat circuit. The causeway entrance at the mid-point of the eastern moat arm is likely to have been the original access point.

All fences and gates 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.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 03/10/2012


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)
Kettering L, AM 107, (1979)
Surrey Antiquity 463,
Surrey Antiquity No. 463,


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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