Hutton John moated site

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are major building remains

NameHutton John moated site
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishHutton

Hutton John moated site, moated annexe, possible fishpond and enclosure survive well and remain unencumbered by modern development. It will retain evidence for the buildings which originally occupied the moated platform and annexe. Additionally the monument has an extensive and complex system of moats, connecting channels and a possible pond. These features offer the potential for an understanding of the elaborate medieval water management system at this site.

The monument includes a moated site, an adjoining moated annexe, a possible fishpond, a series of connecting channels and an enclosure. It is located a short distance to the east of Hutton John pele tower, the moated site, moated annexe, possible fishpond and some of the connecting channels being situated on low-lying land, the enclosure and main feeder channels being located on a steeply sloping hillside immediately to the north. The moated site includes an island measuring approximately 40m by 33m, at the eastern end of which is an undulating raised platform upon which are traces of sandstone foundations of the house which originally occupied the site. Surrounding the island is a moat, measuring 2.5m-7m wide and now dry, which was fed by an inlet channel at its north west corner and has outlet channels at its south east and north east corners. The moat is flanked on all sides except the west by an outer bank up to 4.5m wide by 1m high that projects westwards beyond the western edge of the moat for some considerable distance before terminating against higher ground. Immediately to the north of the outer bank, and running parallel with the moat's northern arm, is what may be a dry fishpond measuring approximately 40m long by 6m wide which was fed by two inlet channels at its western and north western ends. Two outlet channels issue from the 'pond': one connects with the moat's northern arm; the other runs from the pond's eastern end

To the west of the 'pond' and moated island there are traces of a rectangular annexe containing a raised building platform measuring 14m by 6m and two small artificially levelled rectangular hollows which are thought to represent the site of structures. This annexe is surrounded by a dry channel or moat originally fed by two inlet channels leading from the hillside to the north and has a connecting channel feeding into the main moat. On the hillside to the north there are traces of an enclosure, approximately 70m square, with its east and west boundaries being formed by a stone bank and its north boundary being defined by a terrace. Elsewhere on the hillside there are water channels, the main one surviving as a terrace cut diagonally across the hillside and through the enclosure just described. The feeder channel to the 'pond' runs downhill from this diagonal channel. Close to the foot of the hillside the diagonal channel connects with the 'pond' outlet channel and nearby two other channels also connect with the 'pond' outlet channel. The moated site is thought to be the precursor of the present pele tower at Hutton John. Although no documentary evidence for the building of the moated site exists it is thought to have been abandoned around the end of the 13th or beginning of the 14th century when William de Hoton is thought to have commenced work on the present site of Hutton John. The moated site is very low-lying and this factor, along with its location immediately next to a hillslope, suggests it may always have been damp and poorly drained. Attempts to remedy this situation may explain the complexity of channels and raised platforms evident at the site. Ultimately this situation may have led to its abandonment in favour of the adjacent higher site. (Scheduling Report)

TCWAAS xxiv, 161 records 'the site of the old moated homestead which (Hutton John) supplanted is clearly visible in the park some 150 yards to the east'; this requires survey work for a plan. (Perriam and Robinson 1998)

the old homestead destroyed by David Bruce in 1345 when the whole of the district was devastated. (Hudleston 1958)

Gatehouse Comments

The moated precursor to Hutton John Tower. Destroyed by the horrid Scots or rebuilt because of damp according to your preference.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceNY441270
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Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 190


  • Hudleston, N., 1958, 'Hutton John' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 115 p. 252 online copy
  • Hudleston, F., 1924, 'A Short Description of Hutton John' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 24 p. 161 online copy