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Rye House, Stanstead Abbots

In the civil parish of Stanstead Abbots.
In the historic county of Hertfordshire.
Modern Authority of Hertfordshire.
1974 county of Hertfordshire.
Medieval County of Hertfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL38550994
Latitude 51.77094° Longitude 0.00666°

Rye House, Stanstead Abbots has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Rye House moated enclosure is considered to be one of the finest medieval moated sites in Hertfordshire. The monument survives in very good condition and displays an outstanding range of features including the remains of a fine 16th century gatehouse. The site has exceptional potential for the preservation of both wet and dry remains including the undisturbed remains of the original castle. The significance of the monument is considerably increased by the wide range of historical documentation relating to the site.
The monument includes the well-preserved remains of a medieval moat and two-storeyed gatehouse located on the east bank of the River Lee. The moated enclosure measures some 90 metres by 75 metres including the surrounding water filled ditch which measures about 6 metres across. A broad leat connects the moat to the river, with a further small leat leading into the moat from the north. Entrance to the site is provided by a causeway on the south side which is flanked by two twisted brick pillars which are re-erected late medieval chimneys and are included within the scheduling. The interior is dominated by the 16th century brick built gatehouse belonging to the castle. The gatehouse is located on the east side of the island and must have been reached by an earlier bridge than presently crosses the moat at this point. It is decorated with cut brick details, castellated parapets and twisted chimneys and is a Listed building grade I as well as being included within the scheduling. Also visible on the southern side of the island are two sections of wall which are the surviving remains of the castle which has recently been partially marked out in modern brick although no excavations are believed to have been undertaken at the site. The standing ruins are included within the scheduling. Historical records date from the 15th century when the site was licensed to Andrew Ogard in 1440 in order to build a castle. (Scheduling Report)

Site of a C15 fortified manor house. The gatehouse, moat, two stretches of walling and two chimneys survive. The house was built circa 1443 and in 1683 was the scene of the Rye House Plot to murder Charles II. It had been converted for use as the parish workhouse by 1834. Circa 1868, Henry Teale developed the site as a pleasure garden, turning the moat into an ornamental feature. The gatehouse is a fine example of early brick construction, with a number of significant features including the very early use of moulded bricks. It is a two storey structure, now roofless, with a museum on the ground floor. The two stretches of rubble walling stand on the inner side of the moat, to the west and south east of the gatehouse. They presumably formed part of C15 house and were repositioned circa 1868. The two brick chimneys currently act as gateposts and were probably repositioned at the same time as the walls. The spiral, fluted chimneys are about 3m high and stand to the south of the gatehouse. (PastScape)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1443 July 7 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

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

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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