Godwin's Place moated site and ponds


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Godwin's Place moated site and ponds
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Suffolk Coastal (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TM 25948 58163

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.

Despite recent modifications to the south western arm of the moat, Godwin's Place moated site survives well, and evidence of a substantial building or buildings of brick, predating the present 17th century house, is known to exist within the moated area, which will also contain evidence of earlier activity on the site. The ponds associated with the moat are well preserved and, as earthwork remains of an early post-medieval formal garden, add to the interest of the site. Waterlogged deposits within them will retain organic material, including evidence concerning the local environment.


The monument includes a moated site located on level ground 1.25km west of the River Deben, and two adjacent linear ponds. The moated site survives as a sub-rectangular island, surrounded by a moat measuring between 2m and 4.5m deep and from 8m to 17m in width, and it has overall dimensions of approximately 70m square. The south western arm of the moat was redug in 1988, following the line of the original moat ditch, which had been been filled in completely. The outer edge of the recut has been dug within the fill of the earlier ditch, to the east of the original outer edge, which survives as a buried feature, together with infill deposits which are visible in section in the face of the recut. The moat is filled by surface water from field ditches, with a piped inlet at the west end of the northern arm. A causeway at the western corner provides access to the interior.

The house which stands on the eastern side of the island is of 16th and 17th century date and replaced a more substantial house built in the 15th century by John Godyn, or Godwyn. Remains of an earlier structure were observed on the western side of the island in 1988, when brick footings, moulded bricks and rubble were exposed on the inner edge of the northern western arm of the moat and in and to the east of the inner edge of the recut south western arm.

To the south east of the moat are two east - west linear ponds, parallel to one another and spaced 29m apart on a slight southward slope. The ponds are both 10m - 15m wide, and range in depth from 0.5m to 2.5m, the northern being the shallower of the two. Both contain water, although the northern is largely dry in summer, and they are linked to each other and to the southern arm of the moat by a rectilinear system of ditches, by means of which the flow of water could be managed. The ponds have the character of ornamental features of a 16th century formal garden, although they may also have been used for the management of fish stocks for domestic use. A causeway has recently been constructed across the northern pond.

Godwins was within the Lordship of Thomas de Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk and in 1346 was granted by him to Thomas de Hoo, whose son married as his second wife a daughter of Sir Thomas Wingfield. By 1544 the manor was in the possession of Sir Anthony Wingfield, and it remained in the possession of the Wingfield family throughout the 16th and earlier 17th century. It was sold with the Easton Estate in 1706 to William Henry Nassau, 1st Earl of Rochford.

The dwelling house, which is Listed Grade II, and adjacent garages on the island are excluded from the scheduling, as are the driveway, paths and paving, raised garden beds, the modern footbridge which crosses the southern arm of the moat, and all fences, including field boundaries and the post and wire fence surrounding the island, but the ground beneath 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Gault, W, A Survey of Suffolk Parish History, (1990)
H B M C Listing: TM25NE 5/72,
Report on Watching Brief, Suffolk SMR Parish File, HOO 002, (1988)
Rodwell, J, (1992)


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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