'Castle Rough' Medieval moated site


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of 'Castle Rough' Medieval moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Swale (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 91827 65966

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 Castle Rough is of particular importance because it survives to a great extent intact. This has preserved a diverse range of features in addition to the moat itself, including a barbican gate which has not been identified at any other Kent moated site. The continued wetness of the moat indicates that the site has high archaeological potential for the recovery of normally perishable artefacts and other evidence, while the undisturbed and raised nature of the island suggests that the archaeological potential is high there too, both for the recovery of evidence of the buildings on the island and for the retrieval of evidence of the environment in which the monument was constructed from the buried ground surface.


Castle Rough, which local legend has as a Danish/Viking encampment dating from 893, is a fine example of a Medieval moated manor site. A waterlogged moat some 6-8m across defines an island 45m square on which the buildings of the manor stood, although traces of these are no longer visible on the surface. On the south-west side of the moat a D-shaped raised area probably represents the site of an external gatehouse, while at the eastern and southern corners leats which guided the flow of water into and away from the moat survive. 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 built between 1250 and 1350, and small-scale excavation at the site has confirmed that Castle Rough originated at about that time.

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.

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Books and journals
'Kent Archaeological Review' in Kent Archaeological Review Spring 1973, , Vol. 18, (1973)
13 sources quoted, TQ94 NW10,
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)


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.

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