Blakemere Moat

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameBlakemere Moat
Alternative NamesBlakemere Castle; Black Mere; Blackmere; Black Park; Whitchurch; Whitecherche
Historic CountryShropshire
Modern AuthorityShropshire
1974 AuthorityShropshire
Civil ParishWhitchurch Urban

Although parts of the moated site immediately south east of Blake Mere have been modified and disturbed in modern times it remains a good example of this class of monument.

The moated island will retain structural and artefactual evidence of the buildings that once stood on the site, which together with the artefacts and organic remains existing in the moat will provide valuable evidence about the occupation and social status of the inhabitants. Organic remains surviving in the buried ground surface under the raised interior and in the moat will also provide information and the changes to the local environment and use of the land before and after the moated site was constructed. The archaeological excavation has helped to demonstate the nature of the structural sequences existing here, and has provided information about the length of occupation and the degree to which buried remains survive. The importance of the site is further enhanced by documentary sources which provide ownership information.

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated site situated in a prominent position overlooking a natural pool known as Blake Mere, and with extensive views of the countryside to the south east.

Documentary sources indicate that a manor house belonging to the Le Strange family existed here in the 12th century. It passed to the Talbots in the 14th century, and in 1383 was the birthplace of John Talbot, the first Earl of Shrewsbury. The Talbot family sold the manor in 1590 and by the end of the following century the house was in ruins.

The moated site was constructed on ground which rises from south to north, alongside the former edge of Blake Mere. This natural pool is likely to have served as a fishpond, although it is not included in the scheduling. Three of the four moat arms that define the island survive as visible earthworks and are now dry

The south western arm has been infilled but survives as a buried feature. The north western and south eastern arms are about 14m wide, the north eastern arm is about 20m wide and the width of the south western arm was probably similar to the arm on the opposite side. Material excavated from the moat has been used to raise the surface of the island up to 2m above the level of the surrounding land. The island measures approximately 56m north west - south east. Quarrying for soil in modern times has modified the original south western side of the island and has resulted in the formation of an irregular scarp along this side. From the adjacent moat arms it would appear that the island originally measured about 60m south west - north east.

A series of slit trenches each about a metre wide run across the western and northern parts of the island. These trenches, and other associated hollows and mounds, are the remnants of modern small-scale excavations. In 1963 a trench was dug across the south eastern moat arm. During this investigation artefacts dating between the 12th and 16th centuries were discovered, together with the remains of two 16th century retaining walls. (Scheduling Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSJ559424
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  • Duckers, Peter and Anne, 2006, Castles of Shropshire (Stroud: Tempus) p. 29-30
  • Salter, Mike, 2001 (2edn), The Castles and Moated Mansions of Shropshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 83
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 476
  • Jackson, M.J.,1988, Castles of Shropshire (Shrewsbury: Shropshire Libraries) p. 62
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 344
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 160
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 408 online copy


  • Watson, M.D., 1987, 'Gazetteer of Moated Sites in Shropshire' Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 65 p. 9
  • 1980, Moated Sites Research Group report Vol. 7 p. 53
  • Griffiths, R.W., 1963, 'Excavations at Blakemere Castle, Whitchurch' Shropshire Newsletter Vol. 24 p. 2
  • Egerton, 1920, Transactions of the Caradoc and Severn Valley Field Club Vol. 6.8 p. 51

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1904, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1321-24) Vol. 4 p. 175 online copy


  • Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, 1989, Scheduled Monument Report on SAM 35281 (21/08/1989)