Playford Hall moated site
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007672
Date first listed: 03-May-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Suffolk Coastal (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TM 21345 47657
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.
The moated site of Playford Hall survives well and displays a variety of features. It is a very good example of a late 16th-century moated mansion, of which significant remains survive above ground, and retains valuable archaeological information concerning the construction and use of the mansion as well as earlier activity on the site.
The monument includes the moated site of Playford Hall, located on a slope on
the south side of the River Fynn. The rectangular central island, which has
internal dimensions of 38m east-west by 31m north-south, is surrounded by a
water-filled, spring-fed moat measuring 10m to 12m in width, and the northern
arm of the moat is retained by an external bank 8m wide, forming a terrace
approximately 1m in height above the river bank. The southern arm is crossed
by a brick bridge with two arches and both faces of the moat to either side of
the bridge are revetted in brick, with a parapet above. The bridge and
associated walls, which are Listed Grade II, are dated in part to the late
16th century, with early 18th-century additions and later repairs to
the bridge, and are included in the scheduling, as are traces of brickwork
visible along the outer edge of the western arm of the moat.
Playford Hall, which was built in the late 16th century, originally occupied
three sides of the island, facing onto a central courtyard, and with outer
walls rising from the moat on the west, north and east sides. The west wing
and the western half of the central range remain, with 18th-century additions,
and constitute the dwelling-house, which is listed Grade II* and is excluded
from the scheduling. The east wing and the remainder of the central range,
including a chapel, were taken down in the 18th century, leaving the outer
wall standing to mid-first floor height on the north side and to a lower level
on the east side. Both walls include the bases of chimney breasts
projecting into the moat and several blocked openings are visible in the
north wall. A fragment of relief sculpture has been set into the inner side
of one of the openings and a carved stone font stands against the east wall.
Both of these features, together with all walls relating to the dismantled
parts of the hall, are included in the scheduling.
The sloping ground to the west of the moat is terraced in two stages and
these terraces are included in the scheduling, with the exception of the
west side of the lower platform, which has been modified by modern
Playford Manor was held in the late 14th and early 15th centuries by the
Felbriggs. It then passed by marriage to the Sampson family and, in the 16th
century, to the Feltons, in whose line it continued until the early 18th
century. The hall was built in the time of Sir Anthony Felton, High Sheriff
of Suffolk, who died in 1613.
In addition to the listed dwelling-house, the gate to the courtyard, the
driveway and all paved surfaces and paths are excluded from the scheduling,
together with all service pipes and inspection chambers, the well located near
the southern end of the western arm, which supplies water to the house and a
garden wall to the north-east of the moat, but the ground beneath all these
features is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 21323
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Hervey, A, 'Proc Suffolk Inst Archaeol' in Playford and the Feltons, , Vol. 4, (1874), 14-64
Listing documentation: TM24NW 4/6,
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