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HER Number:2687
Name:WALSALL MANOR HOUSE

Summary

Walsall Manor House lay 1.5km west of the town within its own deer park. A moat which enclosed the site survived until the 1970s. The date of the manor house is uncertain. The earliest documentary sources date to the late 14th century. Excavations in the 1970s, however, revealed earlier occupation phases, suggesting that the site had been the residence of the lords of Walsall during the 13th to 14th centuries. The moat was dug in the 14th century at the same time as the manor house structures were rebuilt.

Monument Types

  • MANOR HOUSE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
Local Authority:Walsall
Grid Reference:SP 0010 9850
Map:Show location on Streetmap
Designation:None recorded

Description

Walsall Manor House lay 1.5km west of the town within its own deer park. A moat which enclosed the site survived until the 1970s. The date of the manor house is uncertain. The earliest documentary sources date to the late 14th century. Excavations in the 1970s, however, revealed earlier occupation phases, suggesting that the site had been the residence of the lords of Walsall during the 13th to 14th centuries.

The site was excavated between 1972-5. Five phases were identified:
Phase 1: late 12th century. The remains of ridge and furrow ploughing were identified, demonstrating that the site was part of an area of cultivation at this time, probably a clearing or assart on the edge of Cannock forest.
Phase 2: early 13th century. The area was converted into a park by the lord of Walsall
Phase 3: 13th century. At the time of emparking, or at some date thereafter, the lord removed his manor house to the site, presumably from within the settlement at Walsall. Buildings were erected on the east bank of a stream, on top of the cultivation ridges. Within the structures the undulations of the ground surface were levelled up with clay.
Phase 4: 14th century. By 1388 a moat had been dug around the settlement, the western arm occupying the line of the stream. The clay upcast was spread over the interior, and it hurried the earlier occupation level to a depth of up to 1m. New buildings were erected upon the platform.
Phase 5: early 15th century. The site was abandoned as a manorial residence.

The excavated buildings of Phase 3 comprised three structures. Buildings A and B were suggested to be industrial buildings, while Building C was interpreted as a kitchen. Building C comprised a rectangular structure, of two rooms, with a corridor to the south. The corridor was suggested as leading to a manor house which may have been destroyed when the moat was excavated. The limestone foundations of the buildings survived but the above-ground structures would have been of timber above a stone sill.

Phase 4 comprised the moat, which was determined to be around 11m wide and 2.5m deep and structures within it. Within the moat three sets of buildings were located above a clay platform, of variable depth, created from the digging of the moat. To the north were industrial buildings and to the south kitchens, both overlying earlier structures with the same function. To the east of the kitchens, however, was a further structure, interpreted as a hall. It was suggested that the later hall was positioned in a separate location to the earlier one to allow the earlier one to stay in use until the completion of the later one. (1) (2)

The first documentary reference to a (manor) house at Walsall comes in 1275 when in 1276 Margery, younger daughter of William le Rous, acknowledged that it belonged to William de Morteyn, son of William’s older daughter, Emecina. In 1388-9 the roof of the hall was repaired, a wooden belfry was made for the chapel, a small room with a privy was built next to the knight’s chamber, a new draw-bridge was made over the moat, and the great gates were reinforced with iron. The chapel was apparently disused by 1417 and the house seems to have been abandoned by the later 1430s. Only the moat was thereafter of any value. In the late 1430s a 20 year lease of rights in ‘the fishery called le Mote in the park of Walsall manor’ was granted to the bailiff of Walsall foreign. The house had disappeared by 1576. (3)

Other refs (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)


<1> Wrathmell, Stuart, and Wrathmell, Susan, 1974-5, Excavations at the Moat Site Walsall, Staffs, 1972-74, 19-53 (Bibliographic reference). SBL724.


<2> Wrathmell, Stuart, and Wrathmell, Susan, 1976-7, Excavations on the Moat Site, Walsall,1975, 29-45 (Bibliographic reference). SBL725.


<3> Pugh R B (ed), 1976, Victoria County History: Staffordshire Volume 17, 170-1 (Bibliographic reference). SBL5477.


<4> Page William (ed), 1908, Victoria County History: Staffordshire. Vol 1, 1; 368 (Bibliographic reference). SBL5465.


<5> Larkham P J, 1982, Moated Sites in South Staffordshire, Site 70/01; 48 (Bibliographic reference). SBL3846.


<6> 1974, OS Card (Bibliographic reference). SBL5628.


<7> 1976, OS Card (Bibliographic reference). SBL5629.

Sources and Further Reading

[1]SBL724 - Bibliographic reference: Wrathmell, Stuart, and Wrathmell, Susan. 1974-5. Excavations at the Moat Site Walsall, Staffs, 1972-74. Trans South Staffs Archaeol Hist Soc 16, 19-53. 19-53.
[2]SBL725 - Bibliographic reference: Wrathmell, Stuart, and Wrathmell, Susan. 1976-7. Excavations on the Moat Site, Walsall,1975. Trans South Staffs Archaeol Hist Soc 18, 29-45. 29-45.
[3]SBL5477 - Bibliographic reference: Pugh R B (ed). 1976. Victoria County History: Staffordshire Volume 17. 170-1.
[4]SBL5465 - Bibliographic reference: Page William (ed). 1908. Victoria County History: Staffordshire. Vol 1. 1; 368.
[5]SBL3846 - Bibliographic reference: Larkham P J. 1982. Moated Sites in South Staffordshire. Trans Staffordshire Archaeol Hist Soc 24, 8-65. Site 70/01; 48.
[6]SBL5628 - Bibliographic reference: 1974. OS Card. RCHM.
[7]SBL5629 - Bibliographic reference: 1976. OS Card. RCHM.