Moated site of Hale's Manor and associated earthworks


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018541

Date first listed: 11-Jun-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Moated site of Hale's Manor and associated earthworks
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: North Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Stiffkey

County: Norfolk

District: North Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Warham

National Grid Reference: TF 95748 41608


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 of Hale's Manor House and associated earthworks is a good example of this type of manorial complex. The remains of buildings occupying the raised platform in the southern part of the moated site are largely undisturbed by later activity and will provide archaeological information concerning the date of their construction, their occupation and eventual abandonment. Evidence for earlier buildings on the site is likely to survive beneath them. Further evidence relating to the construction and occupation of the site will be preserved in the fills of the moat and beneath the ploughsoil in the northern part of the moated enclosure, and for earlier land use in the soils buried beneath the raised platform. The evidence that there are buried remains of other buildings adjoining the moat on the north west side, and the presence of what are believed to be medieval garden earthworks give the monument additional interest. Systems of fishponds such as that to the south of the moated site were often constructed during the medieval period near manors, villages and monasteries for the purpose of breeding and storing stocks of fish to provide a constant and sustainable supply of food and, like the moats, are generally indicative of high status. The earthworks and buried deposits within and between the ponds will retain information relating to the design and function of the system, contributing to the understanding of the domestic economy of the manor.


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


The monument includes the standing and buried remains of the moated site of Hale's Manor, together with associated earthworks which include the remains of fishponds, and is located alongside a westward flowing tributary of the River Stiffkey, at the boundary between the parishes of Warham and Stiffkey and 750m east of the village of Warham. The stream now runs in a straight, man-made channel across the northern part of the moated site, but soil marks in the arable field to the north of this channel have revealed the sinuous line of an earlier water course, with a bridge opposite the moated site. The moated site as a whole is thought to have been an inverted `L' shape. The western and southern arms of the moat around the southern part of the `L' survive as visible earthworks, approximately 12m wide and open to a depth of up to 1.6m, with a later, much narrower drainage channel cut along the bottom. The southern end of the eastern arm is also visible as a shallower depression in the ground surface. These enclose the western side and southern end of a sub-rectangular raised platform on which can be seen parts of the ruined walls and wall footings of the house. The north western arm of the `L', which is not raised above the surrounding ground level, extends to north and west of the house and is bisected by the modern course of the stream. Beyond the north western corner of the building, the western arm of the moat bends outwards, continuing for a distance of approximately 25m along the south side of this extension. The probable line of the moat around the north eastern angle and along the north side has been traced as a curving soil mark and slight linear depression in the ground surface, midway between the modern and earlier channels of the stream, and many fragments of medieval roof tile have been observed in the ploughsoil in this part of the enclosure. There is evidence for a bridge or causeway across the northern arm opposite the site of the bridge over the earlier channel. The southern part of the `L' has overall dimensions of approximately 52m east-west by 45m, and the north western part measures approximately 35m north west-south east by at least 60m. The ruined walls and foundations of the manor house are constructed of flint masonry and bricks of 15th century type and cover a large part of the raised platform. On the western and southern sides and at the south eastern corner the wall footings rise directly above the inner lip of the moat and can be seen along the western side to stand on a vertical revetment of the inner edge. The face of the revetment on the western side is rendered and includes vertical and diagonal slots for timber beams such as could have supported either a timber bridge or a timber framed superstructure. On the platform itself, the exposed foundations and turf covered masonry define much of the ground plan of up to three closely spaced buildings subdivided by internal walls. Near the north western corner of the platform, a fragment of flint and brick masonry still stands to a height of 2.7m, with the springing of an arch on the south side, and in the south western corner traces of foundations underlying a mound of rubble approximately 1m in height may be the remains of a corner tower or gatehouse. A block of masonry on the outer edge of the southern arm of the moat opposite the mound could be the remains of a bridge abutment giving access to the garden and fishponds beyond. The remains of the series of fishponds lie immediately to the south of the moated site, opposite the building, and are visible as sub-rectangular dry hollows arranged in two rectangular groups. The northern group, next to the southern arm of the moat, comprises an east-west array of up to three parallel ponds, although only the westernmost, measuring approximately 18m north east-south west by 9m and 0.8m in depth, is clearly defined, with a longer pond, measuring approximately 32m north west-south east by 7.5m and 0.4m in depth, across the southern end of these. There are also traces of a possible channel running north eastwards from the eastern end of the latter and linking it to the south east corner of the moat, although it is largely obscured by a modern field drain cut on the same alignment. Alongside this, in the adjacent field to the east, is a low bank approximately 5m wide. The second group, immediately to the south of the first, includes an `L' shaped pond up to 1m deep and from 6m to 10m wide enclosing the northern eastern and north western sides of a rectangular area which has internal dimensions of up to 35m north east-south west by 32m, with a second pond along the south western side, both ponds being embanked along the inner edges. There are traces of flint masonry foundations for a wall along the outer edge of the north eastern arm of the `L' shaped pond, and the narrower, north western arm contains the footings of a small rectangular structure, open at either end and measuring approximately 7m north east-south west by 3.4m, which was probably a fish tank. About 14m to the west of the fishponds, exposed masonry and parch marks reveal the line of the partly buried foundations of a wall running south westwards from the south west corner of the moat, and a low, roughly parallel turf bank in the field to the east of the ponds is thought to cover corresponding foundations, indicating that the complex may have been wholly or partly contained within a walled enclosure. Earthworks visible to the west of the ponds and of a type characteristic of a late medieval or early post-medieval formal garden include a raised rectangular platform with a terraced walkway running south west-north east below the scarp of the south eastern edge. The surface of the walkway, probably of gravel, produces parch marks in the overlying turf which have been recorded on aerial photographs. Other parch marks which have been observed to the north east of the probable garden remains and west of the moated site are evidence for the survival of buried foundations in that area. To the south east of the fishponds and extending for a distance of about 170m along the southern side of the adjoining field, there are the remains of a series of enclosures of varying size which are likely to be contemporary with the occupation of the moated site and are included in the scheduling. These enclosures are separated by north-south ditches and defined along part of the south side by a slight bank and ditch. Along the northern side there is a natural, north facing scarp approximately 0.7m high. The manor of Warham Hales was held in the second half of the 14th century by Sir Stephen de Hales, and passed by the marriage of his niece and heir, Elizabeth, into the ownership of the Rokewood family. From them it came by marriage into the possession of the Appleyard family, and during the reign of Queen Mary (1553-1558) was conveyed by John Appleyard to Ralph Symonds. During the later 16th century and the first half of the 17th century it was owned by the Doyly family of Shotesham, and in 1709 was sold to Sir Charles Turner. Field boundary fence posts and gates 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: 30534

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk, (1805), 263-265
Copy and description in SMR file, Cushion, B, (1995)
NAU, TF 9541/A/GKK6, (1992)
Ordnance Survey, 70-009 006, (1970)

End of official listing