Ludstone Hall moated site and fishpond


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019834

Date first listed: 09-May-2001


Ordnance survey map of Ludstone Hall moated site and fishpond
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Claverley

National Grid Reference: SO 80005 94549


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

Ludstone Hall moated site is a well-preserved example of this type of monument. In addition to the retaining walls around the moat and the early 17th century house, the moated island retains the buried evidence of medieval structures that once stood on the site. Invaluable information about these buildings is provided by medieval documentary sources. These structures, together with the associated artefacts and organic remains, will provide valuable evidence about those who inhabited the site. The small-scale archaeological excavations conducted here have helped to demonstrate the nature of the medieval buildings which occupy the island, and have also provided an important sequence of medieval pottery, dating from the 12th to the 15th century.

The fishponds, which were used for the breeding and storing of fish in order to provide a sustainable supply of food, provide further evidence about the economy and life style of the inhabitants of the moated site during the medieval period. Organic remains surviving in the moat and in the adjoining fishpond will provide information about the changes to the local environment and the use of the land since the 12th century.

Post-medieval documentary sources provide important details regarding the ownership of the site after it had ceased to be an ecclesiastical residence.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the earthwork, upstanding structural and buried remains of a medieval moated site and an adjoining fishpond to the north. Documentary sources indicate that the manor house located here was maintained by the deans of Bridgnorth from the College of St Mary Magdalen as a local residence from the 12th or early 13th century, until the beginning of the 15th century. Peter of Rivaulx obtained a gift of 18 beams for the repair of buildings at Ludstone shortly after his appointment as dean in 1223. The timber-framed house, which stood here when Thomas of Tutbury was dean (1391-1403), comprised a hall, chamber, `frerechamber' (friar's chamber), kitchen and bakehouse. It is also recorded that there was a gatehouse, partly built of stone, and a well-stocked fishpond. Tutbury had intended to rebuild the house in stone, but his successor, Columb of Dunbar, sold the materials obtained for the purpose and had the greater part of the house pulled down allowing the remainder to fall into ruin. Immediately following the Dissolution of the College of St Mary Magdalen in 1548, the manor and tithes of Ludstone changed hands on several occasions before being purchased by John Jones of Ludstone in 1557. By the early 17th century the moated site and the surrounding land had been acquired by the Whitmore family. The present hall, which is situated in the south western part of the moated island, was constructed by Sir John Whitmore about 1607. It is an elaborate H-plan brick-built structure with stone dressings, which was extensively restored in the late 19th century. The Hall is a Listed Building Grade I and the associated 19th century garden walls are Listed Grade II. The 19th century formal gardens and the small park surrounding the hall is a Registered Park and Garden Grade II*.

The moated site occupies gently sloping ground in an area of undulating land and is overlooked by higher ground to the east. The water-filled moat defines a rectangular island approximately 52m by 68m (maximum dimensions). With the exception of the northern side, the arms of the moat are between 6m and 9m wide and are lined with stone and brick walls, partly strengthened with regularly placed buttresses. The differences in the masonry indicate that parts of these retaining walls have been altered and repaired on several occasions. The tithe map of 1841 shows that access onto the island was via bridges/causeways located across the southern and western arms. The southern bridge or causeway was situated directly opposite the centre of the present hall, but is no longer visible as the adjoining sections of the moat arm were infilled as part of the development of the gardens in the late 19th century. The bridge across the western arm was also probably altered at this time. Here stone-built abutments of a former bridge, 7.3m wide, remain visible and now provide the supporting structure for a brick and stone-built footbridge. The principal means of access onto the island is now from the east, where there is a brick-built bridge of 19th century date across the moat. Constructed on the edge of the island and flanking this bridge is a small square stone and brick-built lodge of probable 17th century date. At the south eastern corner of the island are the remains of a small brick and stone-built outbuilding, also of probable 17th century date. The parts of these two structures standing above the current ground level are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

Archaeological excavations were undertaken in 1998 and 1999 in advance of the construction of a swimming pool in north western part of the island, to the north of a service wing attached to the 17th century hall. Stone foundations of rectangular structure, about 10m long and subdivided into two rooms, were discovered, aligned parallel with the western moat arm. To the east of this building an associated yard surface was found. The pottery recovered indicates that the building was probably constructed in the 13th century and was demolished in the 15th century. The high quality of the surviving masonry suggests that the building was used as a domestic outbuilding associated with the 13th century manor house. Parch marks seen in the lawn to the east of the present hall may represent the site of the manor house.

Abutting the northern side of the island is a roughly rectangular-shaped fishpond, approximately 110m long and 50m wide. Much of the pond basin retains water, although the northern part has been drained and is now dry. The northern part of the western side of the pond basin is defined by an earthen dam, about 12m wide and standing to a height of 1.3m. A rectangular fishpond to the south of the moated site was enlarged as part of the 19th century landscaping works and is not included in the scheduling.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these are; Ludstone Hall, the adjoining buildings and the outbuildings, all 19th century and later garden walls, the 19th century bridges crossing the moat, the driveway and yard surfaces, paths and paved areas, and all ornamental features; the ground beneath all these features is, however, included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


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

Legacy System number: 33844

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Shropshire: Volume II, (1973), 127-28
Hannaford, H R, 'Shropshire County Council Archaeology Service Report' in An Archaeological Evaluation at Ludstone Hall, Claverley, , Vol. 136, (1998)
Hannaford, H R, 'Shropshire County Council Archaeology Service Report' in Archaeological Investigations at Ludstone Hall, Claverley, , Vol. 166, (1999)

End of official listing