Moot Mound 400m west of Knox Bridge
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Maidstone (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- TQ 78429 40676
Reasons for Designation
Moots were open-air meeting places set aside for use by courts and other
bodies who were responsible for the administration and organisation of the
countryside in Anglo-Saxon and medieval England. They were located at
convenient, conspicuous or well-known sites, often centrally placed within the
area under jurisdiction, usually a hundred, wapentake, or shire. The meeting
place could take several forms: a natural feature such as a hilltop, tree or
rock; existing man-made features such as prehistoric standing stones, barrows
or hillforts; or a purpose-built monument such as a mound. Moots appear to
have been first established during the early medieval period between the
seventh and ninth centuries AD. Examples are recorded in the Domesday Book and
other broadly contemporary documents. Initially, moots were situated in open
countryside but, over time, they were relocated in villages or towns. The
construction and use of rural moots declined after the 13th century. The
normal form of purpose-built moot was the moot mound. These take the form of
large, squat, turf-covered mounds with a flat or concave top, usually
surrounded by a ditch. Occasionally, prehistoric barrows were remodelled to
provide suitable sites. It is estimated that there were between 250 and 1000
moots in medieval England, although only a limited number of these were man-
made mounds and only a proportion of these survive today. Moots are generally
a poorly understood class of monument with considerable potential to provide
information on the organisation and administration of land units in the Middle
Ages. They are a comparatively rare and long-lived type of monument and the
earliest examples will be amongst a very small range of sites predating the
Norman Conquest which survive as monumental earthworks and readily appreciable
landscape features. On this basis, all well preserved or historically well
documented moot mounds are identified as nationally important.
The example near Knox Bridge survives extremely well and is of high archaeological potential. It is associated with a range of other types of monument, including the moated site of the head manor of Lovehurst, and is well-documented both archaeologically and historically.
The monument near Knox Bridge, formerly interpreted as the site of a Norman
motte castle, includes a moot mound and its surrounding quarry ditch. The
mound is circular in plan and measures some 50m in diameter. In height it
stands 2.8m above the level of the surrounding ground. A berm of 3m separates
the mound from the surrounding ditch, which is some 5m across and now less
than 1m deep, although this is largely the result of silting and the ditch
must formerly have been considerably deeper in order to provide sufficient
material for the construction of the mound.
The most characteristic feature of the moot mound is the deep, bowl-shaped
depression in the interior which served as the arena for debate and decision-
making. This depression is 2m deep and 27m in diameter.
The moot mound lies near the present boundaries between the parishes of
Frittenden, Staplehurst and Cranbrook which formed the Hundred of Cranbrooke
and over which the moot court had jurisdiction.
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
Hasted, E, History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, (1798)
May, 1978, Maidstone Area Archaeological Group, (1978)
TQ 74 SE,
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