Moated site and associated earthwork enclosures 190m south east of Denver Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016486

Date first listed: 12-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Moated site and associated earthwork enclosures 190m south east of Denver Hall
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Denver

National Grid Reference: TF 61657 01389


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 moated site 190m south east of Denver Hall survives well and the associated earthwork enclosures add to the importance of the monument. The earthworks, together with buried deposits on the central island of the moat and in the surrounding enclosures will contain archaeological information concerning their construction and occupation during the medieval period. Organic materials, including evidence for the local environment in the past are likely to be preserved in waterlogged deposits in the southern and eastern arms of the moat and elsewhere.


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


The monument includes a moated site and associated earthwork enclosures located on low ground at the northern edge of Whin Common, some 350m south east of St Mary's Church and the centre of Denver village. The site is thought to be that of the medieval manor of East Hall, and the associated enclosures perhaps contained a garden and outbuildings such as stables.

The moat, which ranges in width from about 11m on the east side to 16m on the west, surrounds a rectangular central island measuring approximately 37m north west-south east by 28m. The northern and western arms contain water and narrower, water-filled channels have been cut into the outer edges of the eastern and southern arms, which are otherwise largely infilled. The system is fed by a water course which runs from the north east into the south eastern corner of the moat with an outlet from the south western corner. In the northern half of the central island there is a sub-rectangular pond which is not shown on a map made in 1839 and is probably an ornamental feature dating from the mid- or later 19th century when the moated site was within the grounds of Denver Hall. This pond measures approximately 14m north west-south east by 16m and is connected by a short channel to the northern arm of the moat.

Surrounding the moat and roughly concentric with it is a rectangular outer enclosure with overall dimensions of approximately 110m south west-north east by at least 115m north west-south east. On the east and south sides it is defined by the slight remains of a ditch, visible as a linear hollow up to 10m wide and 0.3m deep, and an outer bank up to 6m wide and 0.2m high. A similar ditch with an inner and outer bank have also been recorded as visible features on the western side, although much of the outer ditch apart from the southern end has since been removed or levelled. The ditch and inner bank which have also been obscured by the spreading of silt from the western arm of the moat will, however, survive as buried features.

Between the outer enclosure and the common to the south there is an associated platform approximately 118m wide which is enclosed on the west side by a ditch, visible as a linear hollow with a pronounced scarp up to 0.8m high on the outer edge, and on the east side by a low but clearly defined east-facing scarp which runs SSW from the south east corner of the enclosure around the moat.

East Hall was one of two manors in Denver, the site of the other, West Hall, being to the north west. At the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086 East Hall was in the lordship of William, Earl Warrenne, who held extensive lands in Norfolk. By the beginning of the 13th century it was held by the de Cailly family and remained in their hands until the mid-14th century, when it passed to Sir Adam de Clifton as heir to the de Caillys. The Cliftons held it until 1464 when it was conveyed to Sir William Willoughby, and Edward Willoughby, who was lord in 1491, was buried in the chancel of St Mary's Church. It remained in the ownership of the Willoughbys until the later 16th century.

All fences and gates, the surface of a made track across the northern and western sides of the monument and a log footbridge across the northern arm of the moat are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is 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: 30563

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk, (1807), 317-319

End of official listing