Medieval moated site and remains of a manor house, 350m south-west of Elmers End Station.
Reasons for Designation
Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.
Despite having been infilled in the past, the medieval moated site and the remains of the manor house, 350m south-west of Elmers End Station survive comparatively well. The site will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to its construction, use and history.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 March 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a medieval moated site and the remains of an associated manor house surviving as archaeological remains and cropmarks visible on aerial photographs. It is situated on low-lying ground in Norwood Country Park, south-west of Elmers End. The site was used as a sewage farm until 1967 and the earthwork remains of the moats have become infilled and survive as buried features.
The moated site includes two concentric moats, sub-rectangular in shape, orientated NNE to SSW. The sides of the outer moat vary between 88m and 77m long whilst those of the inner moat form a rectangle 48m by 40m. The outer moat is about 4m wide and the inner moat is about 7m wide. At the south-west corner of the outer moat it extends ENE for a further 24m.
At the centre of the inner moat is a square island or platform, which is considered to be the original site of the manor house.
The moated site includes the below-ground remains of a manor house thought to date to about the 13th century. The principal owner may have been Lord Robert de Retford. A deed of 1467 mentions a garden and moats but not a house, which was probably abandoned by this time. Poor drainage and flooding may have caused or contributed to the abandonment of the site.
The moats were re-cut in the 17th century and oak trees set out in rows across the area. The site is shown on an estate map of Thomas Morley under the name ‘La Motes’ in 1736. In about the late 19th century, the moats were infilled and the area levelled prior to use as South Norwood Sewage Farm.
The moated site is shown on OS Maps of 1886 (Kent 1:2500) and 1896 (London 1:2500) but is no longer evident on the 1912 OS Map (Kent 1:2500). The sewage farm closed in 1967 and it is now part of open land of the South Norwood Country Park run by the London Borough of Croydon. It was partially excavated in 1972, which showed that the moats had silted up before becoming infilled but were originally up to about 4m deep. The excavation revealed remains of the manor house, which included dressed stone fragments, roof tiles, daub and pottery dating from the 13th century to the 15th century. Gravel recorded on the site suggested that the house may have been built on a slight mound capped with gravel. Oak beams, some of which had been reused, were recorded in the inner and outer moats. These are likely to be the remains of a bridge providing access to the site.