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Soulton Hall Moat

In the civil parish of Wem Rural.
In the historic county of Shropshire.
Modern Authority of Shropshire.
1974 county of Shropshire.
Medieval County of Shropshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ54573033
Latitude 52.86854° Longitude -2.67636°

Soulton Hall Moat has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Soulton moated site and the formal garden associated with Soulton Hall survive well despite some disturbance from road building and the construction of Cedar House.
The moated site is of an unusual type. Circular and sub-circular moats are relatively uncommon nationally, and its form may indicate it is an early example. The moated island, which is thought to have been modified during the creation of the formal gardens, will retain structural and artefactual evidence of the buildings that once stood on the site. These structural elements, 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 within the moat will provide information about the changes to the local environment and use of the land before and after the moated site was constructed. The importance of the site is enhanced by documentary sources which provide ownership information.
Formal gardens dating from the early 16th century onwards were created around many large country houses, although the majority have been substantially modified in recent centuries. Within this garden, the earthworks would suggest that the buried remains of walkways, parterres and other ornamental features have survived, together with the evidence of planting schemes. These remains will provide important information about the functional and artistic development of gardening and landscape design in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated site and a post-medieval formal garden within two separate areas of protection.
The moated site is considered to be the centre of the manor of Soulton. In the Domesday survey the manor was recorded as belonging to St Michael's Chapel in Shrewsbury Castle. Records dating to the second half of the 13th century indicate that by that time the manor was being leased to Robert Corbet. In the 16th century it had been bought by Sir Rowland Hill, which probably led to the building of a new residence, known as Soulton Hall, 200m to the south west of the moated site. This house was sizably enlarged in the third quarter of the 17th century and is partly surrounded by a walled garden. The hall and the 17th century garden walls are Listed Grade II(star) and are not included in the scheduling. The moated site is situated on the western edge of the flood plain of Soulton Brook, at the base of a gentle east facing slope. An oval shaped moat, well preserved to the north and west (averaging 18m wide), but less evident around the rest of its circuit, surrounds a rectangular island. The island is an unusual construction, displaying a well defined stepped profile on all sides, which is believed to be the result of of its later use as part of the post-medieval formal garden. The lower step averages 1.2m in height and the upper step is about 0.8m high. The upper portion raises the height of the moated island above the level of the surrounding ground to the west. The top of the island measures approximately 18m east-west by 22m north-south. On the top there are a series of slight scarps, which relate to the building or buildings that once occupied the site. Crossing the western moat arm are the slight remains of a causeway.
In the second area of protection opposite the moat, and to the east of the 17th century walled garden of Soulton Hall, lie the earthwork remains of a formal garden consisting of a series of well defined terraces and raised areas, including a rectangular building platform measuring 16m by 11m. These earthworks follow the same alignment as Soulton Hall and the walled garden and are believed to be of the same date. It is apparent that the gardens were laid out in relation to the moated site and to provide an impressive formal setting for Soulton Hall.
The spring in the north eastern part of the garden is contained and surrounded by walls of red sandstone blocks and covered by a red sandstone slab. The complex of garden earthworks opposite the walled garden continues to the north of the modern road, incorporating and utilising the existing moated site. A series of shallow channels connect with and radiate out from the northern half of the moat, some of which also connect with the ditches which now define the western and northern boundaries of the field. An associated linear depression to the north of the moat appears to be the remains of a pond. There are slight traces of terraces on the sloping ground to the west of the moated site. (Scheduling Report)

Near the existing Soulton Hall (SA 12406) on the opposite side of the road by a brook is a rectangular moated area, the site of the older house occupied in the C13 (TCSVFC 1920/26; Woodward 1952; TSAHS 1904)
One of the compilers of the OS record card interpreted the site as a ringwork on the basis of an OS 1965 vertical AP (1973. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ53SW9)
Well preserved small rectangular moat sited on gently E sloping ground on the W bank of Soulton Brook. There is no E side to the moat...the flooded brook may well have formed this E arm. The S arm has been partly destroyed by the modern road (built on its outer scarp)...The N and W arms are intact and average 1.7m deep and up to 10m wide. At the S end of the W arm is the remains of a causewayed entrance c 3m wide... The very small island measures c35m x 30m and is raised 1m above the surrounding ground level, it also has a stepped profile. At its NW and its SW end corners are what appear to be small rectangular raised building platforms between which runs a linear holloway in alignment with the causeway. This may represent the original entrance flanked by ? gatetowers. Abutting onto the N arm outer edge is a rectangular area enclosed by its scarp on its N and E sides and a shallow ditch on the W which runs into the moats N arm. Just to the west of this running from the NW corner of the moat is a wide shallow linear depression which is wet and marshy and which may be a possible feeder leat. A similar but much shorter ditch runs into the W arm The scarp defined rectangular area is probably an external enclosure (Watson Michael D. 1981-Feb-05. Site Visit Form). (Shropshire HER)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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