Moated site at Folly Farm


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 23572 58784

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 Folly Farm survives well, including the infilled southern part of the western arm of the moat, which remains intact as a buried feature. The monument will retain valuable archaeological information concerning the occupation and use of the site and the building known as Monewden Lodge. Evidence for earlier land use will also be preserved beneath the platform in the interior. The association of the moated site with a medieval deer park gives it additional interest.


The monument includes a moated site located 340m north-west of St Mary's Church, in an elevated position above a north-facing slope. The moat ditch, which ranges in width from 8m to 13m, encloses a sub-rectangular central platform with maximum internal dimensions of 65m north-west/south-east by 55m north-east/south-west, and the site has overall maximum dimensions of 90m by 83m. The southern, eastern and northern arms of the moat, and part of the western arm around the north-western corner, remain open and contain water- logged deposits, with open water during much of the year. At the north- western corner is an outlet, approximately 5m wide and 1m in depth, which carries the overflow to a field ditch. The southern part of the western arm, including the south-western corner, survives as a buried feature, having been filled in with rubble from Folly Farm House, which was demolished with explosives in the 1950s. Maps of the site made before the demolition show a causeway across the western arm, to the north of the infilled section. The surface of the eastern half of the central platform is raised up to 1.8m above the prevailing ground level and the house stood near the centre of this raised area. According to an early 18th-century description this house, which was known at that time as Monewden Folly, was built on the ruins of an earlier building known as Monewden Lodge. The moated site has been identified as a park-keeper's lodge set in a medieval deer park. A barn which stood in the south-western corner of the central platform was blown down in the gale of October 1987. An associated concrete yard and access road which remain are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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
Farrer, E, 'East Anglian Miscellany' in The Folly Farm, Monewden, , Vol. 19, (1925), 12
Lindeman, F B, (1992)
NAR TM 25NW6, (1973)


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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