Moated site at Bleach Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018963

Date first listed: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Bleach Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Suffolk

District: Waveney (District Authority)

Parish: Wissett

National Grid Reference: TM 37378 79557


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 Bleach Farm is a good example of a moat. The moat itself survives intact, and although part of the central island is occupied by modern buildings, the construction of which may have caused limited disturbance to underlying deposits, the monument as a whole will retain archaeological information concerning its construction and occupation during the medieval and early post-medieval periods.


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


The monument includes a moated site located close to the eastern boundary of the parish and approximately 750m south east of St Andrew's Church, on a ridge above the small valley in which Wissett village lies. The moat, which is between 5m and 12m wide and water-filled, with a recorded depth of up to 2.5m on the western side, surrounds a quadrangular central island with maximum internal dimensions of 90m WNW-ESE by 80m. A water-filled inlet approximately 14m long and 11m wide extends inward from the northern arm of the moat. Access to the interior is provided by a wide causeway across the eastern arm of the moat, and there is a second, narrower and slightly sunken causeway across the southern arm which is thought to be a later feature, created by infilling. Fragments of pottery found in the moat provide evidence for occupation of the site during the medieval period.

From the early 17th century at least Bleach Farm, including the moated site, was owned by Alburgh Townland Charity, purchased by the Trustees in pursuance of the terms of the will of Richard Wright who died in the early 16th century.

Bleach Farmhouse, dated to the 16th century, and an associated barn dated to the 18th century but possibly earlier in part, both of which are Listed Buildings Grade II, are excluded from the scheduling, as are all 19th century and modern farm buildings and associated yards within the moated site, modern track surfaces and paths, inspection chambers, service poles, and all fences and gates, although the ground beneath all 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.


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

Legacy System number: 30575

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Clark, Z, Account of Charities in Norfolk, (1811)
Norfolk R O Ref PT13/13, Hatton, T, A Plan of an Estate in Wissett, (1769)

End of official listing