. . . but looking well thereabouts, and making diligent enquiry of the inhabitants, I found a large Moat,. . . . . . . . . . whereon they say a Castle long since was situate .
Some of the neighbourhood do call this Hoggs moat . . .
- Sir William Dugdale, 1656
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Taking up the history of a site or an artefact at the point where the historian leaves it, the archaeologist hopes to extend its story beyond chance survival and the whim of language. Often he is the only teller of the story.
Few observers recorded Hobs Moat over the centuries. It was visited in the 17th century by the notable Warwickshire historian Sir William Dugdale, who produced an account of its history as he believed it. Others gave similar, lesser accounts, all based on his work. The further meaning of the earthwork remained obscure.
The project therefore undertook a programme of limited archaeological enquiry.
Three areas of the moat platform were excavated, and four further areas outside the moat platform were added later, to examine the mediaeval landscape. Archaeology is a process of destruction. It is important to note that only about 7% of the archaeological record of the platform was lost by excavation. Whatever the quality of the remainder, 93% remains.
The work lasted from 1985 to 1988.
Excavation showed the earthwork we see today is a replacement structure for one earlier - encountered in a ‘section’ through the western rampart. Before that there was apparently an open settlement. A substantially-built building was also found, levelled in the construction of the present moat.
The relationship of this building to the earlier moat or the phase of open settlement was not established.
Finally, possibly towards the end of the moat’s occupation, a shed-like structure was built at the southern end of the platform.
The moat platform is protected (scheduled) under the Ancient Monuments Act 1979.
Who lived at Hobs Moat? Go to the history of the manor. The de Limesi family was without male heir at the end of the 12th century - part of their barony was conveyed to the de Odingsell family. This included Ulverley, geographically the future Solihull. William, a younger son, in turn inherited the manor and now needed a seigneurial residence, since he was the first resident lord of the manor. It is probable that he built the Hobs Moat we see today and was responsible for the earlier phases - the first moat and the earlier open settlement.
William, died in 1295. These may well be the years of Hobs Moat.
Section through the western rampart showing, below, the earlier earthwork.
Dressed and carefully laid stone
3 specimen videos of excavation taking place at Hobs Moat
There are 15 more videos in the Final Report !