Moated site at Fingrith Hall Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020360

Date first listed: 26-Oct-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Fingrith Hall Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Brentwood (District Authority)

Parish: Blackmore, Hook End and Wyatts Green

National Grid Reference: TL 60898 03653


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.

The moated site at Fingrith Hall Farm survives particularly well. The island remains largely undisturbed and will retain buried evidence for structures and other features relating to earlier periods of occupation. In addition, the buried silts in the base of the ditches will contain both artefacts relating to the period of occupation and environmental evidence for the appearance of the landscape in which the monument is set. The buried south western corner of the moat was infilled prior to 1847 and may be expected to retain sealed deposits from the earliest occupation of the site as well as surviving foundations relating to the forerunner of the modern Fingrith Hall.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are fairly numerous, with further moated sites situated at Jericho Priory, Blackmore, 2.2km to the south; Spriggs, High Ongar, 1.7km to the north west and Franklin's Island, Highwood, 3.8km to the east. Comparative studies between these sites and further examples from other regions, will provide insights into the development of settlement and many other aspects of medieval society in England.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site immediately north of Fingrith Hall farmhouse.

The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island which measures a maximum of 90m north-south and up to 70m east-west, raised 1m above the surrounding ground surface. This island is contained by a moat or ditch measuring up to 16m wide and a maximum of 3m in depth. The south western corner of the moat survives as a buried feature; it was infilled prior to 1847 when it was depicted on the tithe map as being overlain by Fingrith Hall (the forerunner to the modern farmhouse). It is believed that access was originally via a causeway across the southern arm of the moat. A well, covered by a drain cover is situated on the edge of the island on the north east corner of the moat.

The local 18th century antiquarian, P Morant, records that in 1165 the manor of Fingrith was owned by John de Sandford. It remained in his family until the 13th century when Alice, the daughter of Sir Gilbert de Sandford, married Robert de Vere (1240-1296), the fifth Earl of Oxford, and from then on it continued in the de Vere family until the 16th century.

A Grade II Listed timber framed barn, which stands on the southern half of the island, pheasant pens and fences on the island and the modern wall around the south eastern edge of the moat, 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: 33241

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Morant, P, The History of Essex, (1769), 56
'Essex Review' in Essex Review, , Vol. 8, (1899), 66
Title: Map of the Parish of Blackmore in the County of Essex Source Date: 1847 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Essex Record Office Ref: D/CT 37
Title: Ordnance Survey Card Source Date: 1961 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: TL 60 SW 03

End of official listing