Moated site and associated fields, 460m north east of Pickney Bush Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Folkestone and Hythe (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TR 06417 29708

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the Eastern Weald sub-Province of the South-eastern Province, bounded by the North and South Downs and comprising an oval arrangement of inward facing escarpments of chalk and sandstone, separated by clay vales, all ringing a higher sandstone ridge. Apart from concentrations of nucleated settlements in the Vale of Holmsdale and around Canterbury, the sub- Province is dominated by high and very high densities of dispersed settlements, giving a countryside with farmsteads and associated enclosed fields, of medieval foundation, intermixed with cottages, medieval moated sites and hamlets bearing the names `green' or `dene'.

In some areas of medieval England settlement was dispersed across the landscape rather than nucleated into villages. Such dispersed settlement in an area, usually a township or parish, is defined by the lack of a single (or principal) nucleated settlement focus such as a village and the presence instead of small settlement units (small hamlets or farmsteads) spread across the area. These small settlements normally have a degree of interconnection with their close neighbours, for example, in relation to shared common land or road systems. Dispersed settlements varied enormously from region to region, but where they survive as earthworks their distinguishing features include roads and other minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In areas where stone was used for building, the outline of building foundations may still be clearly visible. Communal areas of the settlements frequently include features such as bakehouses, pinfolds and ponds. Areas of dispersed medieval settlement are found in both the South Eastern and Northern and Western Provinces of England. They are found in upland and also some lowland areas. Where found, their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. Most moated sites served as prestigious residences, with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. Although they were built throughout the medieval period, many date to the years between about 1250 and 1350. The greatest concentration lies in the Central and Eastern Provinces, although they are scattered throughout England (around 6000 examples are known). Moated sites 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 460m north east of Pickney Bush Farm represents the predominant dispersed form of medieval rural settlement within the Eastern Weald sub-Province and survives well, exhibiting little subsequent disturbance, in association with its contemporary field system. Field investigation has indicated that the monument will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the original use and abandonment of the settlement.


The monument includes an abandoned medieval moated residence and an area of associated small fields, or closes. It is situated towards the centre of Romney Marsh on low-lying, artificially drained land around 2km south east of Newchurch. The moated residence lies within the north western part of the monument and survives in the form of earthworks, below ground building foundations and associated buried remains. The north-south aligned, roughly rectangular moated island measures approximately 125m by 45m and is surrounded by ditches up to 15m wide and 1m deep. Projecting from the moat onto the island are three narrow ponds which have been interpreted as fishponds. The associated closes cover the remainder of the monument in an irregular grid pattern and take the form of at least 14 small rectangular fields enclosed by ditches which are now mostly dry. Mathew Poker's map of Romney and Walland Marshes, dating to 1617, depicts a dwelling on the moated island. Later cartographic sources indicate that the house had become abandoned and demolished by the mid-17th century. All modern fences which cross the monument and the wooden sheepfold situated on its north western edge are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Reeves, A, Romney Marsh Earthworks Survey 1995, (1996)


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

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