Medieval moated site, Filston Hall
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1013133
Date first listed: 27-Jul-1990
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Sevenoaks (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TQ 51606 60700
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 at Filston Hall is of particular importance because it survives in a largely unaltered form. The monument therefore retains a high archaeological potential for the recovery of archaeological information, perhaps including evidence of the original buildings of the moat island along with evidence of the environment of the moated site when it was built which is considered likely to survive in the waterlogged conditions of the moat.
The moated site at Filston Hall comprises an incomplete but originally nearly-
square wet moat and a moat island together with a large fishpond and an
adjacent silt-trap. A largely Jacobean house with an older, probably late
Medieval, timber-framed kitchen range stands on the island, but the building
is not the original building constructed with the moat and it is excluded from
the scheduling (although it remains listed Grade II*).
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 moats were constructed between
1250 and 1350, and it is to this period that the moat at Filston is likely to
The fishpond, a sizeable extension of the moat on the upstream side, was
probably originally separated from the moat by a wooden sluice gate to ensure
that the rubbish deposited in the moat could not contaminate the fish for the
table. The silt-trap, which still performs its function efficiently,
prevented the fishpond from silting up. The present bridge onto the island is
of modern materials but is likely to preserve the position of the original
bridge. The foundations of the bridge are therefore included in the
scheduling, but the modern bridge structure is excluded. Similarly, the
ground beneath the house is included although the house itself is excluded
from the scheduling. Additionally, the already disturbed upper deposits of
the infilled moat to the north of the bridge where a roadway onto the island
was constructed earlier this century are excluded, although the deposits
beneath this access roadway are included.
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: 12725
Legacy System: RSM
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Listed Buildings 771 38/1185,
Mr Dinnis (owner ), From Mr Dinnis' father,
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