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Longnor; The Moat House

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

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

OS Map Grid Reference: SJ49350023
Latitude 52.59760° Longitude -2.74907°

Longnor; The Moat House has been described as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Probably site of house of Richard Clerk, who was granted permission by Lord of Longnor to widen moat by 12ft between 1291 and 1298. Excavations by P Barker revealed cobbling at the NW corner of enclosure and a stone-built bank on the inner edge of the north side of the moat. In primary silt on the west side beneath a C19 clay filling was wood debris..from a palisade or bridge, and stratified above the silting were fragments of C13/C14 and later pottery. Late C14 with c.1600 and C17 alterations. Timber framed with plastered infill, partly rebuilt in rendered rubble with painted imitation framing; left-hand end wall rebuilt in dressed grey sandstone and right-hand end wall rebuilt in roughly dressed sandstone and rendered brick; plain tile roof. 1:1:2 framed bays; former open hall of 2 framed bays to left with narrower screens bay and service bay to left. Framing: closely- spaced uprights with 2 rails. 2 storeys and gable-lit attic. Stone ridge stack just off-centre to right with rendered brick shaft and rendered external end stack to right. 3-window front; 2- and 3 light mid- to late C19 and C20 wooden and wooden-framed metal casements, ground floor to right with segmental head. C20 nail-studded boarded door off-centre to right with C19 gabled timber framed porch including cusped angle braces and open sides with cast-iron lattice windows. Probable blocked former first-floor window to left with 2 shaped-headed lights and probable blocked inserted first-floor 3-light window to right; evidence of a former probably C16 two-storey porch in front of screens bay off-centre to left (see mortices in frame posts). Interior: lower end with large C14 joists, chamfered tiller former screens passage; c.1600 inserted floor in former 2-bay hall with chamfered beams; large c.1600 inserted stack with 2 dressed grey sandstone chamfered Tudor-arched fireplaces; inserted c.1600 moulded doorway in lower end; remains of C14 screen including cusped brace (mortices suggest that this formed one of a pair of open quatrefoil panels flanking central entrance to hall). Two first-floor c.1600 chamfered stone fireplaces; old doors throughout. Fine C14 smoke blackened roof: billet decorated frieze. Trusses have chamfered brackets with moulded capitals, the central hall truss with carved head corbels; moulded main posts and braces to central hall truss with moulded tiebeam, queen struts, collar and cusped v-struts; chamfered arch-braced intermediate collar trusses with cusped v-struts. Sets of 3 chamfered butt purlins with chamfered cusped wind braces; spere truss with queen struts and v-struts. Pairs of purlins with wind braces over lower end. The house was possibly that built for Edward de Acton, whose descendants occupied it from 1377-1610. It probably extended further at each end, possibly incorporating a cross-wing, and formed the centre of a larger group of buildings. The house stands within a large, roughly rectangular moat with a fishpond to the east. (Shropshire SMR report)

Moat House moated site is a well-preserved example of this class of monument encompassing an upstanding late medieval hall house. This structure, together with the related documentary sources and buried remains, provide valuable insights into the development and use of the site. The documentary sources also provide important information about the establishment of the site and its changing ownership during the medieval and post-medieval periods. The archaeological investigations of the site were small scale, but have helped to demonstrate the nature, extent and date of the buried structural features existing on the moated island and the deposits within the moat. These remains together with the artefacts and organic remains surviving on the island and in the moat will provide additional evidence about the occupation and social status of the inhabitants. Organic remains surviving in the buried ground surface under the raised portion of the island 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. Fishponds were constructed throughout the medieval period with many dating to the 12th century. The association of the moated site with this pond provides further evidence about the economy and life style of the occupants of the site during the medieval period.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated site and an associated fishpond on the south eastern outskirts of Longnor. The moat surrounds Moat House, a Listed Building Grade II*. A documentary source suggests that the moated site was constructed in the early 13th century when Roger Spuncheaux had timber to fortify his house at Longenaire (Longnor). Between 1291 and 1298 the tenants, Richard and Emma Clerk, were given licence by the lord of the manor of Longnor to widen the moat by 12 feet. Structural timbers from Moat House have been dated by dendrochronology (the technique of dating using tree growth rings) and indicate that the house was constructed about 1467. It is thought that the house was built by Thomas Acton, a leading Shropshire lawyer, who died in 1480. The house originally consisted of a hall, open to the roof, with service rooms to the north and probably other chambers, including a withdrawing room (a solar), to the south. In 1370 Sir Edward Acton was granted a licence for a private oratory (a chapel) at Longnor. The house would have formed the centre of a group of buildings arranged around a courtyard. It is suggested that the area to the west of the house, where building debris is known to exist, was the site of a detached kitchen. A licence for the demolition of such a building was granted in 1646. In the late 16th century the house was substantially altered and early in the following century it was used as a farmhouse. It was converted into two farm cottages in the 19th century and restored as a single dwelling in the late 20th century. The moated site occupies a low-lying position on a gentle south east facing slope with extensive views of the surrounding uplands. The moat retains water with the exception of the north western part of its circuit, and defines a subtectangular island 60m east-west by 85m north-south (maximum dimensions). The arms of the moat are between 8m and 12m wide, except to the south west where the arm extends slightly inwards. Material excavated from the moat has been used to raise the south eastern part of the island in order to create a level platform. The earliest large scale Ordnance Survey map (published in 1882) shows three entrance causeways across the moat. The only one to remain extant is that to the west. The same map also shows two buildings which were subsequently demolished - a stone barn in the middle of the southern portion of the island and a timber framed structure next to the western moat arm to the south of the causeway. Earthworks survive to indicate the building platform for the barn, together with two boulders marking the position of part of the north wall. These boulders are included in the scheduling. The location of the demolished structure next to the moat is marked by four stone post pads, which originally supported load bearing timber uprights, and stone wall foundations along its western side. The post pads and stone wall foundations are also included in the scheduling. Further earthworks on the southern half of the island are considered to mark the position of other buildings. The site was the subject of an archaeological investigation in 1958 when exploratory trenches were dug. In the trench excavated on the northern side of the island next to the moat the remains of a stone bank were found. Trenches were dug in the north western corner of the island and in one a cobbled surface was discovered. A trench was also dug close to the entrance causeway which crosses the western moat arm. Here the initial silt deposits contained pieces of waterlogged wood, all adze cut, which probably came from the construction of a bridge or a palisade. Later silt deposits were sealed below a layer of boulder clay, deposited during the 19th century. Further archaeological investigations were conducted in 1987 and 1988 around Moat House, prior to the erection of an extension to the southern end of the house. A geophysical survey, used to locate buried structural features, together with limited excavation, demonstrated the survival of well-preserved structural remains and associated deposits dating from the medieval period onwards. On the eastern side of the moated site there is a subrectangular water-filled fishpond about 30m wide and 80m long (maximum dimensions). Its size suggests that it was used for storing fish rather than for breeding them, in order to supply markets nearby and for local consumption. The ground that separates the moated site from the fishpond is between 6m and 9m wide and has been raised by up to 0.8m above the level of the surrounding ground to form a level platform. The fishpond is included in the scheduling to preserve the relationship between it and the moated site. (Scheduling Report)

Clearly an important moated house but it is questionable whether there were other defensive feature and the house did not have manorial status so this is not a fortified manor house.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:30

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