Camlet Moat

Camlet Moat is an ancient monument on a south-east facing slope near the summit of Ferny Hill in Trent Park near Parkside House and managed by English Heritage.

The monument includes a medieval moated site quadrangular in shape (about 69m long by 53m wide with rounded corners) with a water-filled earthwork and archaeological remains that stand 2m above the water level of the moat.

Documentary evidence suggests that Camlet Moat was the site of a manor house or hunting lodge. Access to the lodge was crossed via a wooden drawbridge, the base frame of which was lifted in 1923 and recorded in 1949. A small piece found recently was dendro-chronologically dated to c.1357. Other surface finds in the late 20th century included roof tiles and a 14th century green glazed floor tile.

In 1440, a house called ‘the manor of Camelot’ was apparently demolished and the materials used to pay for repairs to Hertford Castle. In 1773, the site is described as ‘the ruins and rubbish of an ancient house’. Later sources also refer to a well situated in the north-east corner (rumoured to hold the hidden treasure of Geoffrey De Mandeville before he was arrested for treason. Geoffrey De Mandeville was a Templar who revolted against King Stephen, now buried in Temple Church).

The lodge was originally located within the grounds of Enfield Chase, first recorded as Enefeld Chacee in 1325, chace of Enefelde 1373, from the Middle English chace ‘a chase’, a tract of ground used for breeding and hunting wild animals. For hundreds of years the chase was owned at first by the Mandeville family and then the de Bohun families while local inhabitants of Edmonton and Enfield manors claimed common rights. It is believed that Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I) often hunted on the Chase after she was granted the estate of West Lodge Park by her brother Edward VI in 1547.

For many years, Camlet bore the name of Camelot on historical maps and has subsequently been associated with Arthurian legend (although there is no evidence to support this).

Today the site is a place of pilgrimage to Pagans and Druids who believe that Camlet Moat is a nodal point for ley lines and the location of an ‘inner world grail castle’ or even the mythical seat of Camelot itself and have subsequently turned Camlet Moat into a forest church for ceremonial worship.

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