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Leigh Hall moat

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Worthen With Shelve.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ33310362
Latitude 52.62620° Longitude -2.98640°

Leigh Hall moat has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Moated site situated on a N facing terrace on the S side of the Rea brook valley, the moat lies on the N side of the gently sloping terrace, the ground falling away to the N and NE. The moat is trapezoidal in shape and measures c 809m NW/SE x 45m SW/ NE overall. The ditch, which is waterfilled, averages 1.5m deep to present silt level and up to c 10m wide. There is an external bank on the NE and NW sides. A causeway crosses the ditch in the centre of the NW arm-it appears modern in its present form but probably marks the course of the original entrance. Most of the SE arm and the SE end of the SW arm have been filled in. At several points the base of the moat ditch is metalled with rammed stone (probing). The moat's water supply was probably largely from seepage though there is an inlet drain running into the SW corner-not necessarily contemporary with the moat. The moat island is revetted with a stone wall, much disturbed by trees, but in places up to 2m high. The moat island contains one of the few examples of standing medieval masonry on a moat in the county. It is a 5m length of wall standing 2.5m high situated on the edge of the island on the SW side; its function is uncertain. There are also mounds representing possible building platforms at the NW and NE corners. large stones also indicate the presence of other buildings on the island and in particular the foundations of a large rectangular probable gatehouse structure on the NW side adjacent to the causeway. The island is generally in good condition and appears to be relatively undisturbed. A small T shaped trench was excavated across the moat ditch in May 1978 in advance of dredging. beneath superficial humus and rubble was located a hard rammed rubble surface lying on the demolition rubble of a building, partly of brick, with stone roof slates. Below this was a fine grey clay. The site is probably the manor house of the Corbets of Leigh-Juxta-Caus from the early C14, the manor being held prior to that time by the Hager family. Moat probably abandoned in the C17, possibly as the result of damage in the Civil War. (Shropshire SMR report)

The moated site at Leigh Hall survives well despite some recent disturbance from agricultural practices. Archaeological investigation of the site has confirmed the nature, extent and date of structural remains and associated deposits existing on the moated island. These remains, together with artefacts and organic remains surviving on the island and 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 external banks, and within the moat, will also provide information about the changes to the local environment and the use of the land before and after the moated site was constructed. The importance of the site is further enhanced by late medieval documentary sources which provide ownership information.
The monument includes the earthwork, standing structural and buried remains of a medieval moated site. The moated site is considered to be the later centre of the manor of Leigh, probably constructed in the early 14th century by Robert Corbet, who by 1324 had become the local Member of Parliament. The Corbets of Leigh held the manor until 1748. By 1667-68 the manor house was described as 'lately burnt, destroyed or demolished', possibly the result of damage in the Civil War. The adjacent farmhouse at Leigh Hall, constructed in the late 17th century, was built to replace the former manor house. It is a Listed Building Grade II and not included in the scheduling. The moated site is situated on level ground on the southern side of the Rea Brook valley, with extensive views of the valley and the uplands to the north and west. The moat, which retains water, defines a rectangular island approximately 45m south west - north east by 80m north west - south east. The arms of the moat are between 10m and 13m wide and have been revetted with stone. The south eastern arm and the southern portion of the south western arm have largely been filled in, but survive as buried features. Material excavated from the moat has been used to create external banks which bound the north eastern and north western moat arms. The north eastern bank stands to a height of 1.6m. The modern causeway across the north western arm is believed to follow the original means of access onto the island. Wall footings and the remains of collapsed walls of stone and brick survive around much of the perimeter of the island, indicating ranges of buildings set around a courtyard. The short upstanding section of stone wall, which is Listed Grade II, survives to a height of 2.5m. It is thought to date from the 14th or 15th century and incorporates earlier fragments of dressed sandstone. The site was the subject of a detailed archaeological survey in 1977-78 when a small-scale archaeological excavation across the north western arm of the moat was also carried out prior to the partial dredging of the moat. This investigation revealed that the moat had been repeatedly cleaned prior to the deposition of building rubble during the 17th and 18th centuries. (Scheduling Report)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:34

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