Moathill Barn moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016698

Date first listed: 02-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Moathill Barn moated site
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This copy shows the entry on 10-Dec-2018 at 17:30:21.


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

County: Suffolk

District: Mid Suffolk (District Authority)

Parish: Westhorpe

National Grid Reference: TM 04091 69767


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.

Moathill Barn moated site is of particular interest because of its association with the medieval and Tudor deer park in Westhorpe and thus, historically, with Westhorpe Hall moated site, where an early 16th century great house was built by Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

The moat and buried deposits within the central island will retain archaeological information concerning its construction and use during the medieval and early post medieval period. Organic materials, including evidence for the local environment in the past, are also likely to be preserved in the lower fill of the moat. Moats were often constructed in medieval deer parks, usually around hunting lodges or park keepers houses. The deer parks themselves, the majority of which were established between 1200 and 1350, were areas of land set aside for the management and hunting of game, chiefly deer, and could contain a variety of features such as rabbit warrens, fishponds and enclosures for the game, in addition to lodges and other buildings, moated or otherwise. From the 15th century onwards, few such parks were constructed, and by the end of the 17th century most had disappeared in their original form.


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


The monument includes a moated site located to the north west of Westhorpe village, about 1.1km from Westhorpe Hall moated site, the subject of a separate scheduling, and 185m south of Westhorpe Lodge Farm.

The moat, which ranges in width from approximately 7.5m on the east side to 15m on the south, surrounds a trapezoidal central island with a maximum internal length of 65m north west-south east and a width of 65m at the northern end narrowing to approximately 38m. A causeway across the northern end of the western arm of the moat is not shown on a map made in 1842 and therefore is thought not to be original. The northern arm of the moat and the northern end of the eastern arm have been largely infilled, although the outer edges are still clearly defined. The remainder, although silted, is seasonally wet.

The moated site is within what is understood to have been the area of a medieval and Tudor deer park associated with Westhorpe Hall, near what was probably the western boundary, and was perhaps the site of a park keepers house. Westhorpe Lodge and several of the old names of the surrounding fields, such as Pale Close and Great and Little Lawn, relate to features of this park, and 19th century maps show a series of curving boundaries such as are characteristic of medieval parks and may originally have demarcated parts of the park boundary and the boundaries of compartments within it. In 1537, when Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk owned Westhorpe Hall, the park was stocked with 100 red deer and 200 fallow deer and noted as `ffyne ffedynge grounde'.

Farm buildings on the central island, yard surfaces and a service pole are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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: 30568

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Gunn, S J, Lindley, P G, 'Archaeol J' in Charles Brandon's Westhorpe: an early Tudor Courtyard House, , Vol. 145, (1988)
Title: Westhorpe: Tithe Map and Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: CRO, Ipswich:

End of official listing