Monastic grange at Friary Court


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Dartford (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 61281 70866

Reasons for Designation

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution. This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers (secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms, bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange. Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands. On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological survival are identified as nationally important.

Despite disturbance from recent construction, the monastic grange at Friary Court survives comparatively well, with the immediate area around the standing building having been left relatively undisturbed. The monument contains archaeological remains and environmental evidence which can give an insight into medieval farming practices as well as the way of life of its inhabitants.


The monument includes the monastic grange at Friary Court, Southfleet, situated on a gentle east facing rise in an area of chalk downland. The upstanding remains of the grange date to the 14th century and are now incorporated into the occupied house which was altered and extended in the 19th century. The standing building is Listed Grade II*. Surrounding the standing remains are the buried foundations of associated agricultural buildings as well as other below ground features which will provide evidence of agricultural and horticultural activities associated with the grange. To the north, south and east of the standing building are a number of slight earthwork features including the remains of a hollow way up to 0.5m deep which may have led to the church 300m to the north. The grange was a possession of the Priory of St Andrew, Rochester. It is mentioned in 1291 and 1535 amongst the possessions of the priory, and the Church of St Nicholas at Southfleet is documented as having `six ancient stalls, for the use of the monks of Rochester when they visited their manor here'. Excluded from the scheduling are the standing building and its cellar, garage, garden sheds, concrete pond, gravel drive surface, fences, gates and posts, although the ground beneath all these features is included except for the area of the cellar beneath the house.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1926), 124
Hasted, E, History of Kent, (1778), 271
Wallom,, (1992)


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

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