Medieval moated site, Quarrington Manor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017538

Date first listed: 13-Jul-1990


Ordnance survey map of Medieval moated site, Quarrington Manor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Ashford (District Authority)

Parish: Mersham

National Grid Reference: TR 05926 41151


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 at Quarrington is of particular importance because it survives in an undisturbed form and is therefore of high archaeological potential for the recovery of evidence both of the organisation and development of the buildings on the moat island and of the climate and economy of the manor in the form of plant remains from the waterlogged moat. The historical documentation of the site is also better than average, with not only records of the founding family of the manor but also an indication of the development of the landscape around the manor when it was provided with a deer park in 1291.


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


The moated site at Quarrington includes a well-preserved moat 55m by 35m with an adjoining fishpond on the south-west side as well as the island defined by the moat. 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 constructed between 1250 and 1350, but the example at Quarrington enters the historical record in 1275, when it was held by Simon de Quarrington, and so is a little earlier. The moat, which averages 8m in width, is a regular rectangle in shape and holds water in all but the driest weather despite the fact that it is no longer fed by the stream which formerly approached from the west. There is no evidence of the crossing point of the moat, but access to the moat island was presumably gained by a bridge. Similarly, the moat island shows no visible evidence of the structures which once occupied the area, but animal disturbance has brought to the surface pottery and tile fragments which indicate that the area was undoubtedly built upon. The small adjoining fishpond on the upstream south-west side would have supplied fish for the table, another indicator of wealth and status. A sluice will have separated the water in the pond from that in the moat to prevent contamination of the fishpond by the rubbish and sewage dumped into the moat. Water would formerly have escaped into the nearby stream but the channel no longer survives.

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: 12747

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cantor, L, A Gazeteer of Medieval Deerparks, (1983)
Hasted, E, History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, (1798)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)

End of official listing