Howbury moated site
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1001986
Date first listed: 29-Jul-1960
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: Greater London Authority
District: Bexley (London Borough)
National Grid Reference: TQ 52788 76672
Howbury moated site, 72m north-east of Howbury Farm Cottages.
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.
Howbury moated site is a well preserved example of its type. The interior includes a 16th or 17th century country house, with some significant surviving architectural details. The moated site will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction, use and history of the moat and the medieval manor relating to it.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 September 2014. The 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 situated on a flood plain south-east of where the River Darent meets the River Thames.
The moat is sub-rectangular in shape and has rounded corners. The sides vary between about 62m and 50m in length and the moat is about 7m wide. At the centre is an island or platform, which is up to about 36m long and 33m wide but narrows towards the south-west end. A drawbridge across the moat was removed in about 1780, when it was replaced by a brick bridge with three arches that has since been demolished. The timber remains of the drawbridge were still evident in the late 19th century. A revetted wall of 12th century date faces the moat from the interior. It is up to 6m high and built of narrow-jointed ashlar except on one side where it has been patched in brick. The wall encloses a ruined house known as ‘Howbury’, dating from the 16th or 17th century. The remains include the south wall with external chimney breasts and four-centred arch fireplace in the upper storey. An internal wall, a fragment of the north-east angle and the rubble-covered foundations also survive. It is built of red brick in English Bond, similar to that of a nearby Grade II listed barn at Howbury Farm. The house is almost certainly on the site of a much older medieval manor house, probably dating to the 11th century. It was in use as farm tenements until 1935 after which date it stood unoccupied and became derelict. During the Second World War it suffered blast damage and collapsed. In 2001, an archaeological measured survey of the walls of the moat and surrounding area were carried out.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: LO 106
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
London SMR 070454/00/00, 070454/01/00. NMR TQ57NW4. PastScape 410568.,
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing