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Witham Blunts Hall

In the civil parish of Witham.
In the historic county of Essex.
Modern Authority of Essex.
1974 county of Essex.
Medieval County of Essex.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL807143
Latitude 51.79864° Longitude 0.62007°

Witham Blunts Hall has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Homestead moat with strong inner rampart. (RCHME) Subrectangular moated feature, banked, of which the N arm, 40m of the E arm, and 45m of the W arm survive. The moat is dry, with an average depth of 1.5m and an average width of 8m. The central area is raised and has an inner rampart on the W and S sides. Maximum height of a mound at the SE corner is 3m, measured internally, and it is about 6m above the ditch bottom (now ground level) externally. The island is cultivated as a garden but no surface building debris or foundations were encountered. A mutilation halfway along the E bank has destroyed what may have once been the original entrance. There is a slight bank in the field called Castle Baileys, to the W. (OS record, 1976) Moat is partly wet. The interior is higher than the exterior. Strong inner rampart terminates in a substantial mound at the SE corner 2.5m high, 5m approx diameter. (Scheduling report, 1983) Three trial trenches were dug in 1958 to assess whether this was the site of the Edward the Elder's burh. This moated site is distinguished from other Essex moat's by its prominent internal bank. The moat is not complete - it has silted on two sides. The bank has been slighted on the other two. The first trench cut through the highest part of the bank on the W side. The second was abandoned after hitting waterlogged clay impregnated with dumped oil waste. The third trench aimed to find internal structures. Trench I disclosed the structure of the bank and the old ground surface for half its length. Trench III uncovered finds below the ploughsoil but no features other than a trench with fire-reddened sides and choked with charcoal. Too large for a domestic hearth, it may have been a clamp kiln. Dating is dependent on the pottery recovered, giving a suggested occupation period of 1050-1200. The Anarchy provides a likely historical background, 1135-1150. Documentary evidence provides clues as to ownership but no certainties. Two theories are suggested in this source. Firstly, that the earthwork was built by William de Tregoz whose family held the greater part of the manor of Blunts in 1135. Alternatively, Geoffrey de Mandeville was the builder. The honour of the manor and William's knights fees were granted to Geoffrey in 1141. It is also suggested that traces of a low bank following the curve of the road E of the modern farm may represent the later medieval site. The moated site was unoccupied after c1200. (Trump, 1961) 'The Blunts Hall earthwork falls into one of the more elaborate categories of moat : that of a moat with prominent internal bank and raised internal platform. This type derives from the ring-work tradition of small fortified sites and probably here representing the defending of manorial buildings.' (Unlocking Essex's Past)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:30

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