Moated site and medieval field system in Church Field, 60m north of St John's Church

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009984

Date first listed: 15-Dec-1994

Map

Ordnance survey map of Moated site and medieval field system in Church Field, 60m north of St John's Church
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Location

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: Terrington St. John

National Grid Reference: TF 53974 15955

Summary

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 Church Field survives well, as do the remains of the earlier field system and the adjacent drove. The monument will retain archaeological information concerning the construction and use of a moated site of non-manorial status, of which there are very few in the region, as well as of earlier and contemporary land use around it. It also preserves evidence of a relationship between three elements of the local medieval landscape which is of particular interest. It shows a development of the site over a period of time, including the change in use from agriculture to domestic occupation and the adaptation of agricultural features in the construction of the moat, and it illustrates the relationship between the drove and the settlement alongside it.

History

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

Details

The monument, which is located towards the northern end of the village of Terrington St John, includes a rectangular moated site overlying, and partly incorporating, a series of four parallel ditches which form part of a medieval field system. It also includes a section of the western side of a medieval drove road which borders the field system. The site lies on Fen silts deposited after the Roman period. The four ditches run east-west and are visible as earthworks approximately 0.5m deep, 4m-5m wide and 80m in length. They divide field strips, known as `dylings', ranging in width from 17m to 28m, and they terminate in a line approximately 50m from the western edge of the drove, which is visible as a slight scarp in the ground surface. The drove road ran from Terrington St Clement southward to the Smeeth. The moated site measures 44m north-south overall, and the original dimensions east-west are estimated to be similar. The moat ditches, which contain no water, are 7m-8m in width and up to 1.5m deep. The northern and southern arms of the moat were constructed by widening and deepening opposing sections of the two southernmost of the field ditches, approximately 40m from their eastern end. The north-south connecting ditch, which forms the eastern arm, extends approximately 6m south of the south eastern angle of the moat towards an irregular pond which still contains some water. The western arm of the moat lies beyond the boundary of Church Field, and does not survive as a visible earthwork. The moat encloses a central island measuring 28m north- south by at least 31m east-west and with a level surface. The moated site was evidently constructed at a relatively late date in the medieval period, since it is clearly later than the field system. It does not correspond to any of the manorial sites known from documentary sources, but the location adjacent to the church suggests that it may be the site of the vicarage. The fence and hedges surrounding Church Field are excluded from the scheduling, although where these features cross the earthworks on the western side of the field, the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 20821

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Silverster, R J, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project 3: Norfolk Survey, Marshland and Nar Valley, , Vol. 45, (), 44
Silverster, R J, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project 3: Norfolk Survey, Marshland and Nar Valley, , Vol. 45, (), 45
Silverster, R J, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project 3: Norfolk Survey, Marshland and Nar Valley, , Vol. 45, (), 45
Other
Dossier compiled for H B M C, Leah M D & Mathews M, Fenland Evaluation Project: Terrington St John 30, (1989)
Dossier for H B M C, Davison, A, Fenland Evaluation Project, Norfolk, (1990)

End of official listing