Medieval moated site, Great Barnett's


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013169

Date first listed: 15-Nov-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Jul-1990


Ordnance survey map of Medieval moated site, Great Barnett's
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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: Leigh

National Grid Reference: TQ 55558 46576


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.

The particular importance of the moated site at Great Barnett's lies in its unusual form. Additionally, archaeological investigation has revealed much information about the original organisation of the central island and about the buildings located there. Since two-thirds of the island remains unexcavated and undisturbed, the site retains considerable potential for the recovery of further archaeological information.


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


Although superficially altered in recent times, the site retains much of its original and slightly unusual form. A rectangular island 60m by 30m is defined by a moat of varying width with protrusions at the SW and NE corners which may have been fishpools. The moat is broadest at the southern arm, the likely position of the original entrance causeway or bridge. Excavation of about one-third of the moat island from 1966-9 revealed that a hall-house had stood at the north end of the site opposite the entrance, and that a second house had stood on the eastern side. Both buildings date to the late 13th/ early 14th century, from which date the local name of "Bernette" used by the nearby buildings (Great Barnett's), meaning "a place cleared by burning", can be traced too. Moated sites 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, and would have provided a supply of fresh fish for the table. Excluded from the scheduling are the areas of modern alteration on the south-west margin of the moat and the bridges across the moat and their supports.

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: 12714

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Parfitt, J H, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in A moated site at Moat Farm, Leigh, Kent, , Vol. 92, (1976), 173-201
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)

End of official listing