Ightham Mote Medieval moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013120

Date first listed: 16-Jan-1991


Ordnance survey map of Ightham Mote Medieval moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Tonbridge and Malling (District Authority)

Parish: Ightham

National Grid Reference: TQ 58443 53504


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.

Ightham Mote is a particularly important example because the detailed historical and archaeological documentation of the site makes it one of the most informative examples in the country, and underlines the importance of the large amount of archaeological evidence considered to survive beneath the present structures, beneath the lawn to the north and beneath the courtyard to the west.


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


Ightham Mote includes an exceptionally well preserved moated manor house, a nearly-square moat some 50m long by 7-10m wide, an infilled fishpond and an outer courtyard of buildings. The evolution of the building from a hall-house with adjoining solars and chapel in the mid-14th century to a grand Jacobean mansion set around a quadrangle in the 17th century is documented both historically and archaeologically. Such moated sites are generally seen as prestigious residences of the Lords of the manor, the moat not only marking the high status of the occupier but also serving to deter casual raiders and wild animals. In the mid-16th century an outer courtyard to the west of the house was enclosed by ranges of half-timbered stables, staff quarters and a gatehouse. Only the western end of this courtyard survives, a fire having destroyed the remainder. The central area is now a lawn. To the north of the house the lawn occupies the area of a former fish-pond which would have provided fish for the table. The date of its construction is unknown, but it was infilled between 1789 and 1849 as part of a change in fashion towards lawns and landscaped gardens. The standing remains include Listed Buildings: Manor House, Grade I, The West Range (Moat Cottages) and eastward projecting walls of the West Range, Grade II*. All standing remains, with the exception of the two lengths of walling on the north and south of the western courtyard, are excluded from the scheduling. The ground beneath all these structures is included in the scheduling.

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


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

Legacy System number: 12717

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Fowler, K, Kenright, C, The Development of Ightham Mote, (1988)
Nicholson, N, Fawcett, E, Ightham Mote, (1988)
Rackham, O, The History of the Countryside, (1986)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Listed Buildings Vol. 190 3/8,

End of official listing