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History Excavation
The first excavation of Moon’s Moat was started in 1969 and continued most weekends until August 1970 - permission granted to excavate by Mr E Bomford.  Later the land was acquired by the Redditch New Town Corporation, who allowed the excavation to continue.  The excavation was undertaken by Mr M D W Wise and Mr C P Medley, on behalf of the Redditch New Town Archaeological Committee and the Department of the Environment.

The following is a summary of the excavation results (Wise and Medley, 1970-1971).

The level area of the site measures approximately 27 metres by 20 metres and the shape and contours are well preserved.  It was possible to see fragments of white sandstone on the eastern edge of the site and a scatter of more stone on the northern sloping edge at the narrowest point of the moat.  An antiquarian, Carmouls, makes reference in 1826 “a stone wall of good workmanship was taken down from the inner ridge some years ago”.

The first excavation of a two metre section across the centre of the site revealed a cobbled surface which led to the edge of the island.  Pottery dated to the 18th century was found on the surface.  There was also a carefully laid series of dressed sandstone blocks resting on a prepared red marl (clay) surface to the south of the cobbles.  To the south of this stone was a broken stone area with postholes within it.  Later this western side of the site was stripped completely to reveal that the cobbles were part of a rectangular clay area, probably an interior floor surface, and there were sherds of 14th century pottery associated with it.

Further cobbled areas on clay were uncovered to the south and an intriguing arrangement of post-holes which suggested the original timbers would have formed a tripod arrangement but its function was not discovered.  A silver Edward II penny (1307-1327) was found here.

More dressed sandstone blocks were found on the red marl surface indicating further rooms of a building.  An area of rough stone between the building and the moat was interpreted as an outside yard.

A section across the southern sloping edge suggested that the site had been surrounded by a sandstone wall.  A large quantity of 14th century cooking pot sherds were found in this area and a number of post-holes.

Much of the northern section of the site was also covered with cobblestones.  A interesting find from this area was a small chest key probably of 15th century date. From this area, for some reason, a causeway had been built across the moat during the 18th or 19th century.  Probably to access the site to take away the stone and other materials for use somewhere else.  Under this causeway, as well as a quantity of 18th century pottery, was a medieval fig-shaped pewter spoon, which must have got mixed into the later layers during construction of the causeway.

Lots of broken roofing tiles and fragments of red sandstone were uncovered on the eastern side of the island which suggested an attempt at leveling after building materials had been robbed out of the site.  Underneath this area was found the top section of a fine chamfered masonry structure of uncertain function, made of red and white sandstone which had been re-used from another building.

Excavation of the banks of the island revealed that a continuous inner perimeter wall was running along the lower edge of the moat’s scarp.  It was in a large foundation trench and was made up of red and but mostly white sandstone and bits of tile and mortar.  Originally the side facing the moat had been covered with a white mortar and capped with flat sandstone slabs.  It was suggested that some of this stone had come from an ecclesiastical building and Bordesley Abbey has been suggested as a source.

After removal of the causeway on the northern arm of the moat a white sandstone pier was uncovered which was built into the wall which surrounded and enclosed the island.  The stone was well dressed and measured 4.5 metres long and projected 3 metres into the moat.  Two large post-holes at the top of the feature probably represented supports for a bridge structure.

The moat measured between 7 to 8 metres across and would have held water to a depth of about 1.5 metres.  An earlier smaller bridge was discovered on excavation of the moat, which would also have had a perimeter wall.  No dating material earlier than the 16th century has been found in the moat so it is impossible to say whether the moat was earlier.  It may have been that the moat was re-cut when the second bridge was built destroying earlier evidence or the moat was not constructed until the 16th century.  Further examination of the mere (pool),  which now forms part of the site, shows it was in fact of similar dimensions to the rest of the moat and so has been altered at a later date to form a large pool area.

There were two periods of destruction and re-construction - one during the 16th century, the other much later in the 19th century when the site was extensively robbed and the causeway built.  The earliest pottery found was in the south-eastern corner and dated to about 1300.  This would suggest that the site has no earlier evidence than the 13th century.  The perimeter wall was completely re-built and the moat re-cut during the 16th century and this work destroyed evidence of the earlier buildings and bridge.  Not long after this time the moated site appears to have been allowed to fall into disrepair and by the 19th century was probably used for agricultural purposes.  The robbing of the wall and construction of the causeway probably happened at this time and co-incided with the realignment of field boundaries during the time when smaller fields were being enclosed from the large medieval open fields.

Very little historical information is currently available on the moated site and no names have as yet been discovered of any families who owned the site or lived there.  Moon’s Moat was within the manor of Beoley and it was probably built and used by a prominent landowner or official.  It is possible that it started its life as a hunting lodge rather than a permanent residence, later becoming more domestic in character by the 16th century (Miller, 2004, Report 1256, Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service.

Original Material Courtesy of.
Deborah Overton