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HER Number (PRN):01015
Name:Soulton Hall Moat
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1017236: Soulton moated site

Monument Type(s):


Scheduled Monument: An unusual and well-preserved example of a circular medieval moated site (believed to represent the manor site for the Domesday manor of Soulton), which has been incorporated into the 17th century formal gardens of Soulton Hall, the old house's successor.

Parish:Wem Rural, North Shropshire, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SJ53SW
Grid Reference:SJ 5456 3037

Related records

08247Related to: Formal garden remains at Soulton Hall (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FSA2737 - AMPULLA (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1540 AD)
  • FSA2700 - DAUB (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1540 AD)
  • FSA2738 - PILGRIM BADGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1540 AD)
  • FSA2701 - SHERD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1540 AD)
  • FSA2702 - SLAG (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1540 AD)
  • FSA2739 - STRUCTURAL TIMBER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1540 AD)

Associated Events

  • ESA1003 - 1968 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA1004 - 1981 field observation by Shropshire County Council
  • ESA9551 - 2019 Test-pitting (community excavations) at Soulton Hall Moat by DigVentures
  • ESA9844 - 2021 Excavations at Soulton Hall Moat by DigVentures
  • ESA9845 - 2021 Geophysical survey of land at Soulton Hall Moat by DigVentures


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 <1a-c>
The manor of Soulton belonged in 1086 to the church of St Michael's within the castle at Shrewsbury, to which it had been given by Earl Roger de Montgomery. In later days it was held under St Michael's by the Corbets, of Moreton Corbet, and under them by tenants taking their name from the manor. The moated enclosure still traceable in a field not far from the present house may be the site of the home of Ivo de Suleton, who in 1255 held the will under Robert Corbet, or it may go back to the days when Brictric, the Saxon franklin, was Lord of Soulton. <1c>
One of the compilers of the OS record card interpreted the site as a ringwork on the basis of an OS 1965 vertical AP <1>

Surveyed at 1:2500. <1d>
A stong, moated site situated in a pasture field on the bank of the Soulton Brook at about 70.0m above OD, in gently undulating country. It comprises of a well preserved, steep sided, rectangular platform, 2.6m in height above the moat bottom and 0.9m above surrounding ground level, with a level, grassy top, measuring 20.0m from north to south, by 16.0m transversely. No building foundations are visible on it.
The unusually strong flat-bottomed ditch, 15.0m wide and 1.7m deep, encloses the platform on the north and west sides. Although now dry it was undoubtedly designed to contain water, and it is still wet during the winter (Mrs Ashton Owner Soulton Hall). The modern road, running on a causeway as it approaches Soulton Bridge, defines the outside of the ditch on the south, "stones" were found here circa 1965 during channelling work. On the east it is at the former level of the stream before this was channelled. (Mrs Ashton Owner Soulton Hall).
The strength of the work and its overall appearance suggest it is the site of a fortified predecessor of the present (17th century) Soulton Hall.
Published survey (1:2500) correct. <1e>

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. M Watson FI 1981 <2>

Evaluated for MPP in 1990-1, High score as one of 133 Moated sites <6>

Scheduled with the formal gardens across the road in 2000. Relevant parts of Scheduling description: ->

-> 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* 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. ->

-> A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these are: all modern field boundaries, fences and gates, the water trough and fodder container, the pump house and a disused section of water pipe, (above ground and encased in brick and concrete); the ground beneath all these features is, however, included in the scheduling. <7>

Photographed during aerial survey in 2009. <8>

Briefly described for a student dissertation, looking at the moated sites of North Shropshire. <9>

A rectangular castle mound…the S arm of the ditch was destroyed by roadworks. Probably built by predecessors of Ivo de Suleton (d.c.1310). <10>

A community archaeology project in 2019 excavated 3 test-pits within the moated site - on the moated platform and on ground immediately outside the moat situated on the western edge of the flood plain of Soulton Brook. This also included an element of topographic survey of the moated platform. Its current form may be the result of significant alterations and landscaping associated with development of the formal gardens in the late-16th and 17th centuries. ->

-> Even though the size of the excavations was relatively limited all the test pits yielded pottery principally dating from the 13th-15th centuries. Interestingly, only a couple of pot fragments were recovered dating from the 17th-18th century, which may indicate relatively limited activity in the area during the post-medieval era. The test pits also revealed some tentative insights into the nature of the site (Aim 2, Q6). Most notable of the finds recovered were several substantially sized daub fragments (either low fired CBM or high fired burnt clay) that may have been the remnants of a furnace or kiln, or even possibly a wattle and daub building. Industrial waste typical of iron smelting techniques adopted during the Medieval era was also recovered. <11>

Following on from test-pitting in 2019 [<11>], a programme of excavation was carried out across the moat at Soulton Hall; this involved the excavation of two trenches; one on the SW side of the moated platform, one to the W of the platform itself. ->

-> Trench 7, measuring 20 x 3m, focussed on the southern side of the mound, targeting the mound and associated ditch. A slot excavated in at the top of the trench investigated the make-up of the mound itself, revealing that it was created by building up of layers of clay deposits probably brought in from the construction of the moat. The mound itself may have initially been a headland in the bend of Soulton Brook and was cut off to create the moated site. In the lower half of Trench 7 another sondage was put in to investigate the moat. Within this it was discovered that the moat was cut through alluvial clay deposits and a substantial timber structure, likely a moat bridge was partially revealed. A series of masonry blocks were seen loosely forming a wall that may have shored up the mound to prevent slumping or may have been a part of the superstructure of the moat bridge. Finds recovered from this trench include pottery, animal bone and various special finds such as a pilgrim’s badge, an ampulla, several jettons, and a silver penny of either Edward I or II. These all give the moat a probable date of the late 13th or 14th century. ->

-> Trench 8, measuring 12 x 4m, was positioned to the west of the mound adjacent to Test Pit 3 where metalworking debris was previously recorded. The aim of the trench was to potentially identify an area of industrial activity possibly associated with the mound. The 2021 excavations recovered a considerable quantity of material that indicated industrial activity was taking place in the area. This activity likely occurred on the site later than the occupation of the mound. It may be that this was related to the construction of the Tudor Hall, or subsequent activity in the 16th or 17th century. The most notable discovery in Trench 8 was a series of timbers discovered in the base of a ditch, these timbers likely formed a small structure such as a lean-to or shed, possibly where the industrial activity took place. Whilst the structure was still standing it burnt down, those burnt timbers were likely disposed of in the base of the ditch. <12>


[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01015.
[01c]SSA2916 - Volume: Anon. 1904. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 3 Vol IV (=Vol 27). pxix.
[01d]SSA31554 - Site visit report: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. Various. NRHE: Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F1 DRB 04-SEP-68.
[01e]SSA31554 - Site visit report: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. Various. NRHE: Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F2 DJC 26-SEP-79.
[01b]SSA3671 - Monograph: Woodward I. 1952. The Story of Wem and its Neighbourhood. p125-126.
[01a]SSA3676 - Volume: Anon. 1920/ 1926. Transactions of the Caradoc & Severn Valley Field Club. Trans Caradoc Severn Valley Fld Club. Vol 7. p67-70.
[01]SSA3677 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1973. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ53SW9. Ordnance Survey record cards. SJ53SW9.
[02]SSA3679 - Field recording form: Watson Michael D. 1981-Feb-05. Site Visit Form, 05/02/1981. SMR site visit form.
[03]SSA16950 - Oblique aerial photograph: Musson Chris R. 1983-Mar-20. CPAT 83/S/0039.
[04]SSA16951 - Oblique aerial photograph: Roberts M. 1990. Roberts M, Oblique View, 1990: 90/02/20 (Photographic medium).
[05]SSA3678 - Photograph: Watson Michael D. 1981. Soulton Hall Moat. Colour.
[06]SSA20084 - TEXT: Horton Wendy B. 1990/ 1991. MPP Evaluation File.
[07]SSA21275 - Scheduled Monument notification: English Heritage. 2000. Scheduling Papers (New Scheduling, 07/07/2000). 32307.
[08]SSA25741 - Oblique aerial photograph: Shropshire Council. 2009-Apr-5. SA0908_227 to SA0908_231 (5 photos) Flight: 09_SA_08. Colour. Digital.
[09]SSA29428 - Manuscript: Cashmore A M. 1980. Medieval moated sites of North Shropshire.
[10]SSA29943 - Gazetteer: Jackson M. 1985. A gazetteer of Medieval castles in England. Part 33- Shropshire. p.42.
[11]SSA31787 - Excavation report: Hogue J T, Caswell C, Ungemach J and Noon S. 2020. Soulton Hall: 2019 post-excavation assessment. Dig Ventures Ltd Rep. SOU20.
[12]SSA32219 - Excavation report: Jackson N, Swain B, Teale K, Hannis K, Tatton H and Ungemach J. 2021. Soulton Hall: 2021 post-excavation assessment report. Dig Ventures Ltd Rep.
Date Last Edited:Jun 8 2022 1:39PM