Medieval moated site, Devils Den.


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013166

Date first listed: 11-Mar-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jul-1990


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

County: Kent

District: Sevenoaks (District Authority)

Parish: Edenbridge

National Grid Reference: TQ 43814 45208


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.

Devil's Den is one such example which has high potential for the survival both of perishable artefacts and evidence of the climate and economy during the use of the site because of the waterlogged conditions of the moat and of remains of the buildings considered likely to have stood on the island. Since it is also documented as having been held by Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester (d. 1295), who was a notable figure during the reign of Edward I, the site is of especial historical importance.


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


The site known as `Devil's Den' comprises a moat averaging 7-8m in width which encloses a square island some 40m across. Moated sites are generally seen as the prestigious residences of the Lords of the Manor. The moat 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 since the example at Devil's Den is thought to have been held by Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, who died in 1295, such a date appears appropriate. There is at present no visible evidence of the position of the entrance causeway or bridge across the moat which gave access to the island-- the existing causeway at the south-west corner is a relatively recent addition--nor of buildings in the interior, although heavy scrub growth makes such evidence difficult to detect. The site appears to have remained undisturbed, however, for many years and such evidence is considered likely to survive at the monument.

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: 12713

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Somers-Cocks, HL, Edenbridge, (1912), 37
Dell, A, Lake, N, Couldrey, P, 'Kent Arch Review' in A Homestead Moat at Devil's Den, Edenbridge, , Vol. 41, (1975), 20-1
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)

End of official listing