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HER Number (PRN):01939
Name:Moated site and fishponds at Ludstone Hall
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1019834: Ludstone Hall moated site

Monument Type(s):


Scheduled Monument and Grade I Listed Building: A well-preserved and well-documented moated manor site, which belonged to the College of St Mary Magdalen, Bridgnorth, in the medieval period. Ludstone Hall moat has been shown to contain significant medieval archaeological remains as well as the early 17th century hall.

Parish:Claverley, Bridgnorth, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SO89SW
Grid Reference:SO 8001 9456

Related records

11770Parent of: Ludstone Hall, Claverley (Building)

Associated Finds

  • FSA2440 - SHERD (13th century to 15th century - 1200 AD to 1499 AD)

Associated Events

  • ESA2451 - 1981 field observation by Shropshire County Council
  • ESA4720 - 1998-1999 Excavations at Ludstone Hall by SCCAS


About one mile NE of the village is a square moat with the northern side is open to a small lake <1a>

The Deans of Bridgnorth maintained the manor house at Ludstone as a local residence till the end of the C14. In 1391-1403 it is described as comprising of a hall, chamber, feechamber, kitchen, and bakehouse, there was a well stocked fishpond and gatehouse partly of stone. In 1403-10 the greater part of the house was pulled down and the remainder allowed to fall into ruin <2>

Rectangular moated site with its N side opening to a small lake. The moat which is water filled is complete except for the W half of the S arm which has been filled in. From an archaeological potential aspect the actual moat ditch is a write off due to it having been heavily landscaped and formalised by its masonry lining and revetting which is probably contemporary with the brick built hall of c 1607. The moat arms vary in width from c 6m to c 8m. The N arm opens out into a small lake which was evidently much larger than at present-the present pond being only about one third the size of the original as is evident by a well preserved dam bank on the W side c 1.7m high and c 2.5m wide with its N side defined by a scarp cut into the natural slope of the land. It was apparently reduced in size earlier this century and the present pond dredged a few years ago. Bridges cross the E and W arms. The island measures roughly 55m transversely and is built over in its SW quadrant by Ludstone Hall. The SE quadrant is a lawn fronting the Hall and according to the owner building foundations can be clearly seen on it in dry conditions. The N half of the island has been disturbed by landscaping and gardening. M Watson FI <3>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-91: Medium score as one of 133 Moated sites; Medium score as one of 52 Fishponds <4>

Scheduled in 2001. Scheduling description: ->

-> The monument includes the earthwork, upstanding structural and buried remains of a medieval moated site and an adjoining fishpond to the north. Documentary sources indicate that the manor house located here was maintained by the deans of Bridgnorth from the College of St Mary Magdalen as a local residence from the 12th or early 13th century, until the beginning of the 15th century. Peter of Rivaulx obtained a gift of 18 beams for the repair of buildings at Ludstone shortly after his appointment as dean in 1223. The timber-framed house, which stood here when Thomas of Tutbury was dean (1391-1403), comprised a hall, chamber, 'frerechamber' (friar's chamber), kitchen and bakehouse. It is also recorded that there was a gatehouse, partly built of stone, and a well-stocked fishpond. Tutbury had intended to rebuild the house in stone, but his successor, Columb of Dunbar, sold the materials obtained for the purpose and had the greater part of the house pulled down allowing the remainder to fall into ruin. Immediately following the Dissolution of the College of St Mary Magdalen in 1548, the manor and tithes of Ludstone changed hands on several occasions before being purchased by John Jones of Ludstone in 1557. By the early 17th century the moated site and the surrounding land had been acquired , by the Whitmore family. The present hall, which is situated in the south western part of the moated island, was constructed by Sir John Whitmore about 1607. It is an elaborate H-plan brick-built structure with stone dressings, which was extensively restored in the late 19th century. The Hall is a Listed Building Grade I and the associated 19th century garden walls are Listed Grade II. The 19th century formal gardens and the small park surrounding the hall is a Registered Park and Garden Grade II*. ->

-> The moated site occupies gently sloping ground in an area of undulating land and is overlooked by higher ground to the east. The water-filled moat defines a rectangular island approximately 52m by 68m (maximum dimensions). With the exception of the northern side, the arms of the moat are between 6m and 9m wide and are lined with stone and brick walls, partly strengthened with regularly placed buttresses. The differences in the masonry indicate that parts of these retaining walls have been altered and repaired on several occasions. The tithe map of 1841 shows that access onto the island was via bridges/causeways located across the southern and western arms. The southern bridge or causeway was situated directly opposite the centre of the present hall, but is no longer visible as the adjoining sections of the moat arm were infilled as part of the development of the gardens in the late 19th century. The bridge across the western arm was also probably altered at this time. Here stone-built abutments of a former bridge, 7.3m wide, remain visible and now provide the supporting structure for a brick and stone-built footbridge. The principal means of access onto the island is now from the east, where there is a brick-built bridge of 19th century date across the moat. Constructed on the edge of the island and flanking this bridge is a small square stone and brick-built lodge of probable 17th century date. At the south eastern corner of the island are the remains of a small brick and stone-built outbuilding, also of probable 17th century date. The parts of these two structures standing above the current ground level are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included. ->

-> Archaeological excavations were undertaken in 1998 and 1999 in advance of the construction of a swimming pool in north western part of the island, to the north of a service wing attached to the 17th century hall. Stone foundations of rectangular structure, about 10m long and subdivided into two rooms, were discovered, aligned parallel with the western moat arm. To the east of this building an associated yard surface was found. The pottery recovered indicates that the building was probably constructed in the 13th century and was demolished in the 15th century. The high quality of the surviving masonry suggests that the building was used as a domestic outbuilding associated with the 13th century manor house. Parch marks seen in the lawn to the east of the present hall may represent the site of the manor house. ->

-> Abutting the northern side of the island is a roughly rectangular-shaped fishpond, approximately 110rn long and 50m wide. Much of the pond basin retains water, although the northern part has been drained and is now dry. The northern part of the western side of the pond basin is defined by an earthen dam, about 12m wide and standing to a height of 1.3m. A rectangular fishpond to the south of the moated site was enlarged as part of the 19th century, landscaping works and is not included in the scheduling. ->

-> A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these are; Ludstone Hall, the adjoining buildings and the outbuildings, all 19th century and later garden walls, the 19th century bridges crossing the moat, the driveway and yard surfaces, paths and paved areas, and all ornamental features; the ground beneath all these features is, however, included. <5>

Excavations carried out by SCCAS between 1998 and 1999 at Ludstone Hall, near Bridgnorth in conjunction with planning proposals to install a swimming pool to the north of the hall. Stratified medieval deposits c.0.6m thick were seen at a depth of between 0.6m and 1.25m below existing ground surface, which contained a good stratified assemblage of medieval pottery of 12th – 14th century date. Medieval features in the form of a yard surface and an associated stake hole were seen within these deposits at a depth of 0.85m. These features and deposits are likely to continue across the whole site of the proposed development. The recovery of 43 shreds weighing 794gm from the small area of medieval deposits sampled indicates the presence of a potential assemblage of regional importance within the study area. No significant features or deposits of post medieval date were encountered on the site. <6>

A further programme of archaeological works was recommended [SSA 20560] and in June 1999 SCCAS began a programme of works to excavate the pottery assemblage of possible regional significance at Ludstone Hall, near Bridgnorth. ->

-> The excavations revealed the foundations remains of three exterior walls of a structure 10m long aligned parallel to the western arm of the moat. The foundations had been cut into a former garden or yard soil. The building had been divided into two bays by an internal wall. The foundations were of sandstone rubble bonded in red clay and although their depth and thickness suggested that the superstructure they supported was probably at least partly of timber, the remains of one course of fine ashlar blocks survived on the east wall. The high quality of the finish to the outside face of this wall and the presence of the remains of a clay floor in the northern bay of the building suggest that it may have had a domestic rather than an agricultural function. Pottery finds from the soil into which the foundations were sunk and from the bonding of the foundations themselves, dated the construction of the building to the 13th century. On the east side of the structure was a rough cobble yard surface or contemporary date onto which soil had built up in the medieval and post medieval periods. The building was subsequently demolished to foundation level. The finds from the associated demolition deposits suggest that this may have been carried out in the 15th century. The date range of the pottery from the rubble layer over the remains of the building suggest that this part of the site may have remained derelict until the building of the present hall by John Whitmore at the beginning of the 17th century. Since that time, the north western part of the moated platform appears to have been used as gardens or unpaved yardage until the present time, although a new outbuilding, which formed the southern boundary of the present development was built in 1872 as part of J R Cartwright’s restoration works to the hall. <7>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2008. <8>

<00> Shropshire County Council SMR, Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards, SMR Card for PRN SA 01939 (Card index). SSA20722.

<01a> Victoria County History, 1908, Victoria County History 1, p403 (Volume). SSA178.

<01> Ordnance Survey, 1975, Ordnance Survey Record Card SO89SW7 (Card index). SSA6563.

<02> Gaydon A T (ed), 1973, Victoria County History 2: Ecclesiastical Organisation, Religious Houses, Schools and Sports, p127 (Volume). SSA540.

<03> Watson Michael D, 1981, Site Visit Form (Field recording form). SSA6564.

<04> Horton Wendy B, 1990/ 1991, MPP Evaluation File, Moated Sites; Fishponds (TEXT). SSA20084.

<05> English Heritage, 2001, Scheduling Papers (New Scheduling, 09/05/2001) (Scheduled Monument notification). SSA20557.

<06> Hannaford Hugh R, 1998, An archaeological evaluation at Ludstone Hall, Claverley (Excavation report). SSA20560.

<07> Hannaford Hugh R, 1999, Archaeological investigations at Ludstone Hall, Claverley (Excavation report). SSA20559.

<08> Shropshire Council, 2008-Jul-26, SA0811_053 (1 photo) Flight: 08_SA_11 (Oblique aerial photograph). SSA25315.


[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01939.
[01a]SSA178 - Volume: Victoria County History. 1908. Victoria County History 1. Victoria County History of Shropshire. Vol 1. p403.
[01]SSA6563 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1975. Ordnance Survey Record Card SO89SW7. Ordnance Survey record cards. SO89SW7.
[02]SSA540 - Volume: Gaydon A T (ed). 1973. Victoria County History 2: Ecclesiastical Organisation, Religious Houses, Schools and Sports. Victoria County History of Shropshire. Vol 2. p127.
[03]SSA6564 - Field recording form: Watson Michael D. 1981. Site Visit Form. SMR site visit form.
[04]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File. Moated Sites; Fishponds.
[05]SSA20557 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 2001. Scheduling Papers (New Scheduling, 09/05/2001). 33844.
[06]SSA20560 - Excavation report: Hannaford Hugh R. 1998. An archaeological evaluation at Ludstone Hall, Claverley. SCCAS Rep. 136.
[07]SSA20559 - Excavation report: Hannaford Hugh R. 1999. Archaeological investigations at Ludstone Hall, Claverley. SCCAS Rep. 166.
[08]SSA25315 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2008-Jul-26. SA0811_053 (1 photo) Flight: 08_SA_11. Colour. Digital.
Date Last Edited:Nov 21 2018 3:47PM