Moated site and ponds at Dennington Place


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.

East Suffolk (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TM 26217 66702

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 at Dennington Place survives well. Small-scale excavations on the site have demonstrated that it retains important archaeological evidence of the medieval house which once occupied the central island, and evidence of earlier land use will be preserved in soils buried beneath the platform. The pond immediately to the west of the moat may have been created primarily as an ornamental feature but is also likely to have been used for keeping fish and is an integral part of the domestic complex. The monument is one of a group of moated sites which survive in and immediately around the parish of Dennington and which are of interest for the study of medieval land holding and land use in the area.


The monument includes a moated site and an associated pond, situated on a slight east-facing hill slope near the south-western boundary of Dennington parish. The moat ditch, which measures between 10m and 15m in width, with a depth of up to 2m, encloses a trapezoidal island with maximum dimensions of 45m north-west/south-east by 40m north-east/south-west. The moat is water-logged, with areas of shallow open water, and there is an outlet from the eastern arm into an enlarged field drain. The western arm is crossed by a causeway and the part to the north of this has been infilled, although surviving as a buried feature. The exposed south side of the causeway is faced with brick. The remains of a flint and mortar revetment, partly faced with brick, can be seen on the inner face of the northern arm of the moat and some brickwork is also visible on both faces of the eastern arm, near its southern end. A narrow causeway across the eastern end of the northern arm is of recent construction, overlying earlier deposits in the moat. The central island, the surface of which is raised approximately 0.3m above the prevailing ground level, is known to have been occupied from at least the later 14th century until 1662/3, when the house was demolished, and a mid- 15th-century document includes reference to a chapel. A small-scale excavation, carried out in 1976 in the north-eastern corner of the island, discovered evidence relating to this occupation, including brick and flint walling, floors and flint cobbles, as well as finds of pottery and window glass. In the 18th century the moated enclosure was in use as a stackyard, and part of a barn and the footings of other farm buildings still stand at the western end of the island. The present house, which is situated 20m to the east of the moat, has been dated to the 16th century, although details of the interior suggest that the northern end and part of the adjacent barn may be of earlier date. Five metres to the west of the moat, and at a higher level, is a rectangular pond, aligned east-west and with dimensions of approximately 30m by 12m. The pond is fed by a ditch approximately 3m wide which leads into it from the north and is included in the scheduling. The eastern end of the pond and the western arm of the moat were formerly connected by a sluice, traces of which will survive below the ground surface. Dennington Place was at one time the seat of the Rous family, including William Rous, Chief Constable of the Hundred of Hoxne at the time of the uprising of 1381. Sir Anthony Rous, who in 1538 acquired Dennington Hall with the manor of Dennington from Sir Charles Wingfield, was the last of that family to live there and in 1608 it was acquired by the Bacon family of Shrubland Hall. Excluded from the scheduling are the remains of the post-medieval barn and adjacent structures standing at the western end of the central island, the track which gives access to the house, and all service pipes, 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Suffolk, (1974)
Powell, E, The Rising in East Anglia, (1896), 21, 130
Ipswich Record Office : Dunthorne archive,
Ref. in will of Reginald Rous, d.1460, Ridgard, J, (1992)
Shrubland Hall: Archive,
Suffolk SMR: Dennington Parish File DNN 007, (1976)


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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