Walsall Moat

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameWalsall Moat
Alternative Names
Historic CountryStaffordshire
Modern AuthorityWalsall
1974 AuthorityWest Midlands
Civil ParishWalsall

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. (Staffordshire HER)

There was a manor-house by the later 14th century south of the present Moat Road about a mile west of the town. The first buildings there were erected on what had been cultivated land and may have dated from John's reign when William le Rous created a park in that area. He was described as of Walsall in the later 1220s. On the division of the manor between his daughters in 1247 a house probably passed to Emecina with the park and fishpond. The house was, however, first mentioned in 1275, and Margery, the younger daughter, acknowledged, apparently in 1276, that it belonged to Emecina's son William de Morteyn. He was holding it at his death in 1283, and it presumably passed with his moiety of the manor to his nephew Roger de Morteyn and subsequently to Ralph, Lord Basset, when he secured the Morteyn moiety. Basset, whose principal seat was Drayton, apparently kept Walsall manor-house in use. He may have established his son and daughter-in-law there, since Ralph, his grandson and eventual heir, was said to have been born at Walsall in 1333.

Excavation on part of the site has revealed at least two early phases of building, followed by the construction of a moat and further rebuilding

At some date between the first occupation of the site and the formation of the moat part of the site was used for metal-working: perhaps an unmoated lodge or manor-house was temporarily converted to industrial use before being rebuilt on a more substantial scale. No precise dates for those developments have been established, but apparently by the 1380s the moated house was the lord's Walsall residence. It was presumably there that Lady Neville and two of her children lived in 1385 and 1386, when they were staying at Walsall. Meanwhile the owner of the house, Ralph Basset the younger, Lord Basset, was preparing to build 'a new castle' at Walsall, but it seems that in fact no new house was built. Instead the existing 'manor-house within the moat of the park' was repaired and extended: 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 knights' chamber, a new drawbridge was made over the moat, and the great gates were reinforced with iron. Basset presumably stayed in the house during his three short visits to Walsall in 1389. After his death in 1390 there is no evidence that the owners ever stayed there. In the later 1390s, however, the house was repaired and a new chamber built. The chapel was apparently disused by 1417, (fn. 64) 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 the foreign. The house had disappeared by 1576. (VCH)

Gatehouse Comments

A moated manor house with a drawbridge, the home of a relatively minor baron. It is likely to have been dressed up with the trappings of lordship, including some martial symbolism, such as crenellations.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSP001984
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  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 343
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, Castles and Moated Mansions of Staffordshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 62
  • Salter, Mike, 1993, Midlands Castles (Birmingham) p. 84
  • Currie, C.R.J., Greenslade, M.W. and Johnson, D.A., 1976, VCH Staffordshire Vol. 17 p. 170-71 online transcription
  • Lynam, Charles, 1908, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm. (ed), VCH Staffordshire Vol. 1 p. 368 (homestead moat) online copy
  • Willmore, Frederic W., 1887, A history of Walsall and its neighbourhood (W.H. Robinson) p. 40-107, 239 (tenurial history) online copy


  • Larkham, P.J., 1982-3, 'Moated Sites in South Staffordshire' Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 24 p. 48
  • Wrathmell, Susan, 1976-7, 'Excavations at the moat site, Walsall, 1975' Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 18 p. 29-45
  • Wrathmell, Susan, 1974-5, 'Excavations at the Moat Site Walsall, Staffs, 1972-74' Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 16 p. 19-53
  • Palliser, D.M., 1972, 'Staffordshire Castles: A Provisional List' Staffordshire Archaeology Vol. 1 p. 5-8