Moated site at Letheringham Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009644

Date first listed: 12-Apr-1994


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Letheringham Hall
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Suffolk

District: Suffolk Coastal (District Authority)

Parish: Letheringham

National Grid Reference: TM 27967 58040


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 Letheringham Hall survives well and retains good archeological evidence, including the revetment of the inner face of the moat, for the important medieval house which once occupied the central platform. Further evidence for medieval and post-medieval occupation will be contained in deposits on the island and information concerning earlier land use will be preserved in soils buried beneath the raised surface. It is a good example of a moat fed by water from an adjacent river and the low-lying situation contrasts with the hill-top location and very different character of the nearby moated site of Letheringham Lodge. The historical link between these two sites and their connection with the locally and nationally prominent Wingfield family during the 15th and 16th centuries adds further interest.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a sub-rectangular moated site located on the east side of the River Deben, adjacent to Letheringham Mill and close to the site of Letheringham church which lay to the north and was demolished in the late 17th century.

The water-filled moat, which surrounds a central island raised 0.5m to 1m above the general ground level, is approximately 2.5m in depth and varies between 7m and 15m in width, with overall maximum dimensions of 75m north- east/south-west by 70m north-west/south-east. A short channel, at one time approximately 3m wide but now partly narrowed, leads from the river into the north end of the south-western arm. The south-eastern arm of the moat is crossed by a causeway which is faced with brickwork dated in part to the 15th or 16th century. The south-eastern face of the island to either side of the causeway is revetted variously with flint and mortar, ashlar and brick, and the section of this revetment to the south of the causeway includes the projecting bases of two buttresses or turrets. Fragments of revetting survive also on the south-western face and at the northern end of the north-west side. The causeway and the revetment and associated structures to the south of it, which together are listed Grade II, are included in the scheduling, as are all of the surviving revetment and the north wall of an outbuilding to the rear of the house, on the inner edge of the north western arm of the moat, which incorporates sandstone blocks. These structures remain as visible evidence of the important mansion which occupied the site during the 15th and 16th centuries and which was the seat of the Wingfield family, including Sir Anthony Wingfield, Vice-Chamberlain to Henry VIII and Comptroller of the Household to Edward VI. The manor was held after the Norman Conquest by Geoffrey de Mandeville, by the de Glanville family and then the de Boviles from whom it passed to the Wingfields, following the marriage of Margery de Bovile to Sir Thomas Wingfield in the mid-14th century.

The house which now stands on the island has been dated to the 17th century and is not known to include any part of the earlier Hall. It is listed Grade II and is excluded from the scheduling, as are the associated outbuildings, yard, the driveway and all service pipes and inspection chambers, but the ground beneath all these buildings and 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: 21300

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Kirby, J, The Suffolk Traveller, (1735)
Clarke, P, (1992)
Martin, E, Suffolk SMR Parish File LRM 001, (1991)
NAR TM 25 NE 2, (1992)
Typescript in possession of owner, Dyke, G, Letheringham Old Hall,

End of official listing