Medieval moated site, Ripple Manor


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


Ordnance survey map of Medieval moated site, Ripple Manor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Maidstone (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 81875 56652

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 site of Ripple Manor, which tradition has as a hide-out of the rebel Jack Cade after the failed uprising of 1450, is of particular importance because the moat remains wet throughout the year so that the archaeological potential of the site, particularly for the recovery of climatic and economic evidence, is great. In addition, the small-scale excavations at the site have demonstrated that evidence of the buildings which stood there still survives.


The site at Ripple, situated in a tributary valley of the River Len, comprises a sub-rectangular moat measuring some 7-15m wide which encloses an island some 55m by 30m. The moat, terraced into the slope on the uphill side and embanked on the down slope side, has silted up to a large extent but remains waterlogged throughout the year. Moats are generally seen as prestigious residences of the Lords of the Manor. The moat not only 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, and it is to this period that the moat at Ripple is likely to date. Maps of 1746 and 1755 mark the site as that of "the old mansion house of Ripple". Some evidence of the buildings which once occupied the site survives on the island in the form of stone footings and roof tiles exposed during haphazard excavations. No definite trace of the fishponds etc. which are often associated with this class of site, can be found although the field on the north side contains a marked hollow which may represent the former emergence of the spring. A concrete culvert of early 1950s vintage marks the exit channel from the moat, which was fed by a spring as well as by recent land drains. This culvert, along with any modern fencing within the scheduled area, is excluded from the scheduling.

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:


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Recorded in Kent SMR, Quinnell, N., RCHME Survey Record, (1986)
Title: Survey of Land of Hon. Wm. Belford 1755 by Benjamin Biss Source Date: 1755 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


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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