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Blakemere Moat

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Blakemere Castle; Black Mere; Blackmere; Black Park; Whitchurch; Whitecherche

In the civil parish of Whitchurch Urban.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ55994247
Latitude 52.97767° Longitude -2.65680°

Blakemere Moat has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

Although parts of the moated site immediately south east of Blake Mere have been modified and disturbed in modern times it remains a good example of this class of monument.
The moated island will retain structural and artefactual evidence of the buildings that once stood on the site, which 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 interior and in the moat will also provide information and the changes to the local environment and use of the land before and after the moated site was constructed. The archaeological excavation has helped to demonstate the nature of the structural sequences existing here, and has provided information about the length of occupation and the degree to which buried remains survive. The importance of the site is further enhanced by documentary sources which provide ownership information.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated site situated in a prominent position overlooking a natural pool known as Blake Mere, and with extensive views of the countryside to the south east.
Documentary sources indicate that a manor house belonging to the Le Strange family existed here in the 12th century. It passed to the Talbots in the 14th century, and in 1383 was the birthplace of John Talbot, the first Earl of Shrewsbury. The Talbot family sold the manor in 1590 and by the end of the following century the house was in ruins.
The moated site was constructed on ground which rises from south to north, alongside the former edge of Blake Mere. This natural pool is likely to have served as a fishpond, although it is not included in the scheduling. Three of the four moat arms that define the island survive as visible earthworks and are now dry. The south western arm has been infilled but survives as a buried feature. The north western and south eastern arms are about 14m wide, the north eastern arm is about 20m wide and the width of the south western arm was probably similar to the arm on the opposite side. Material excavated from the moat has been used to raise the surface of the island up to 2m above the level of the surrounding land. The island measures approximately 56m north west - south east. Quarrying for soil in modern times has modified the original south western side of the island and has resulted in the formation of an irregular scarp along this side. From the adjacent moat arms it would appear that the island originally measured about 60m south west - north east.
A series of slit trenches each about a metre wide run across the western and northern parts of the island. These trenches, and other associated hollows and mounds, are the remnants of modern small-scale excavations. In 1963 a trench was dug across the south eastern moat arm. During this investigation artefacts dating between the 12th and 16th centuries were discovered, together with the remains of two 16th century retaining walls. (Scheduling Report)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1322 July 14 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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