Moated site in Crow's Wood, 700m south west of the ruined church of St James


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.

King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TF 65661 20334

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 in Crow's Wood survives well and is unencumbered by modern building. The earthworks and central platform, and also the smaller enclosure, will retain archaeological information concerning the construction and use of the site. Evidence for earlier land use and the local environment at that time will be preserved in the soils buried beneath the raised platform and the external bank on the east side. The proximity of the site to the ruined church gives it additional interest.


The monument includes a moated site located on low ground in the parish of Bawsey. The central platform of the moated site has dimensions of c.35m south east-north west by c.33m north east-south west and is raised c.0.5m above the prevailing ground level. This is surrounded by a moat ditch which has a minimum depth of 1.2m and measures up to 13m wide with shallow, sloping sides in the northern, eastern and southern arms, narrowing to a minimum of 5m wide in the western arm. The moat is silted but remains damp at the bottom and seasonally wet. The western arm is crossed by a causeway which has a dished profile and is probably not original. Along the outer edge of the eastern arm there is a broad, low bank c.0.4m in height and c.13m wide.

Adjoining the northern side of the moat, at the eastern end, is a smaller, external rectangular enclosure with internal dimensions of c.16m north west- south east by c.13m north east-south west, surrounded by a dry ditch c.4m wide and 0.75m deep. The eastern and western arms of this ditch end short of the outer edge of the moat ditch, in which there are corresponding bays, leaving causeways c.5m wide between.

The monument as a whole, including the external enclosure and the bank on the eastern side, has maximum overall dimensions of c.74m north east-south west by c.67m north west-south east.

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:


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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