Medieval moated site, Palstre Court


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013124

Date first listed: 25-Jul-1990


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

County: Kent

District: Ashford (District Authority)

Parish: Wittersham

National Grid Reference: TQ 88228 28344


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.

Palstre Court is a good example of a large moated site. The enclosed island is, with the exception of the area of the small ornamental lake, undisturbed and therefore considered to retain considerable remains of archaeological interest, particularly concerning the type and layout of original buildings on the site. Waterlogged deposits are also considered to survive well in the moat itself.


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


Palstre Court moated site comprises a sub-circular moat, water-filled on the northern side, which encloses an island 110m by 85m. An original entrance causeway on the east side has been supplemented by a second, also on the eastern arm of the moat. In places the moat has been enlarged and scoured while elsewhere it has silted up almost completely. Moats are generally seen as prestigious residences of the Lords of the Manor. The moat not only marked the high status of the occupier but also served to deter casual raiders and wild animals. Most moated sites were constructed between 1250 and 1350 and it is from this period that the moat at Palstre Court is likely to date despite a Domesday reference to the existence of an estate here. Nothing survives above ground of the buildings which are presumed to have stood within the moated area, although a number of undulations in the north- east corner may betray the position of foundations. The present buildings of Palstre Court, outside the scheduled area, date from the 17th century and later. All modern buildings within the scheduled area (not shown on the map extract) are excluded from the scheduling. However, the ground beneath these buildings is scheduled.

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: 12723

Legacy System: RSM


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)

End of official listing