Moated site in Hills and Holes Plantation, 30m north west of Home Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009983

Date first listed: 15-Dec-1994


Ordnance survey map of Moated site in Hills and Holes Plantation, 30m north west of Home Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Marham

National Grid Reference: TF 70527 09560


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 in Hills and Holes Plantation survives well and is one of the best preserved examples of this class of monument in the Fenland region. It is of particular interest as an example of a fortified manor, and retains good evidence of the building which stood on site. Evidence of earlier land use on the site, prior to the construction of the moat, will be preserved beneath the raised surface of the central platform


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


The monument includes a rectangular moated site which has been identified as the site of the fortified manor known as Marham Castle. It is located on chalk, to the south west of Marham village and close to the southern edge of the peat fen which at one time covered the floor of the Nar Valley. The moated site has maximum overall dimensions of 80m north west - south east by 77m north east - south west. The moat ditch, which is dry, measures approximately 1m in depth and between 11m and 17m in width. A channel, also dry and measuring up to 4m in width and 1m in depth, leads into it at the western end of the south western arm, and the eastern end of the channel, where it joins the moat, is included in the scheduling. The moat surrounds a central platform raised approximately 1m above the prevailing ground level. On this platform are the remains of a substantial building. The line of a circuit wall is indicated by low banks, consisting largely of chalk rubble and containing fragments of clay roof tile and other building materials, which enclose a rectangular area with internal dimensions of approximately 30m by 20m. Mounds up to 1.5m in height, projecting externally at the four corners of this enclosure, mark the location of what were probably turrets. The manor at Marham, known subsequently as Belet's or Denham's, was held in the second half of the 13th century by William Belet, who received licence to crenellate (fortify) his house there in 1271, although in 1277 there were complaints that the castle was a threat to the king's authority in the area. The manor then passed to Sir Ingelram Belet, a younger son who, according to an inquisition of 1313, held a castle at Marham, ditched around. In c.1365 the manor was held by John de Denham from the abbess of Marham Nunnery, which lies 190m north east of the moated site, and by 1385 it was in the hands of the abbess and convent of Marham. Fences bordering the moat on the southern side and along part of the northern edge are excluded from the scheduling, as are two drainage pipes issuing into the southern arm of the moat at its eastern end, 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: 20820

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Leah, M, Mathews, M, Fenland Evaluation Project: Norfolk, (1990), 3
Silverster, R J, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project 3: Norfolk Survey, Marshland and Nar Valley, , Vol. 45, (), 125
Dossier for H B M C, Davison, A, Fenland Evaluation Project, Norfolk, (1990)

End of official listing