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Moated site 150m south of St James' Church

List Entry Summary

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.

Name: Moated site 150m south of St James' Church

List entry Number: 1017913


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Suffolk

District: Waveney

District Type: District Authority

Parish: St. James, South Elmham

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 18-Mar-1998

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 30522

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 150m south of St James' Church survives in good condition, and all but a small part of it is unencumbered by modern structures. The moat ditch and buried deposits on the central platform will retain archaeological information relating to the construction and occupation of the site during the medieval period. Evidence for later use, and organic materials, including evidence for the local environment in the past, are likely to be preserved in waterlogged deposits in the moat. As one of several prominent features of the medieval landscape which survive or whose location is known within the parish, the moated site is of particular interest for the study of medieval settlement patterns and land holding within the area.


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


The monument includes a moated site located on level ground 150m south of St James' parish church. The moated site is rectangular in plan, with maximum overall dimensions of approximately 72m south west-north east by 58m, and the moat, which varies in width from approximately 10m at the western end of the southern arm to 4.5m, encloses the north, west and south sides of the central platform. The eastern side is defined by a modern field boundary, but on the inner (western) side of this, towards the southern end, can be seen a slight depression approximately 4m wide in the ground surface, which is believed to mark the buried remains of a continuation of the moat ditch, now almost completely infilled, around the south eastern corner. The moat, which is fed by surface drainage, contains water except at the eastern end, where both the northern and southern arms diminish in width and visible depth. There is evidence, however, that this part of the southern arm has become partly infilled and was originally wider, the line of the original outer lip being marked by a break in the ground surface. The corresponding end of the northern arm has become almost completely infilled, but can be traced as a slight linear hollow in the ground surface, beneath which it will survive as a buried feature. An external pond, which is included in the scheduling, opens off the western arm of the moat, extending approximately 25m south westwards from its outer edge. The western end of this pond has been partly infilled, but the outline remains visible as a break in the ground surface.

In the south eastern part of the area enclosed by the moat there is a slightly raised rectangular platform on which stood a cottage built of clay lump. The building was damaged by the blast from an explosion at a munitions dump at Metfield air base in 1944 and was subsequently demolished, but traces of it will survive below the ground surface.

Originally, the moated site probably contained a medieval manorial dwelling which, together with the church, the earliest parts of which are dated to the late 11th or early 12th century, represents the core of a medieval settlement. Elsewhere in the parish there is evidence for medieval settlement to the west, around the southern end of Greshaw Green (enclosed in the mid-19th century), and to the south east, skirting the north side of a medieval deer park belonging to the bishop of Norwich, which lay 500m to the south of the moated site. (St James was one of the nine parishes of what was termed the liberty, manor or township of South Elmham which, until the time of the Reformation was held chiefly by the bishops of Norwich.)

A shed standing within the moated site, and a modern barn and associated yard surface above the south east corner are excluded from the scheduling, together with all modern fence and gate posts, although the ground beneath these features 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Hardy, M J, Martin, E A, 'Proc Suffolk Inst Archaeol' in Archaeology in Suffolk: South East Suffolk Field Survey, , Vol. 86 pt 2, (1986), 146-149
Hardy, M J, Martin, E A, 'Proc Suffolk Inst Archaeol' in Archaeology In Suffolk: South East Suffolk Field Survey, , Vol. 86 pt 3, (1987), 232-235
Chilvers, G, (1997)

National Grid Reference: TM 32258 81069


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This copy shows the entry on 25-Sep-2018 at 11:44:06.

End of official listing