Moated site and associated earthworks at Westend Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018964

Date first listed: 03-Apr-2000


Ordnance survey map of Moated site and associated earthworks at Westend 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: Shadingfield

National Grid Reference: TM 42606 85246


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 greater part of the moated site and associated earthworks at Westend Farm survive well. The moat and buried deposits on the central island will contain archaeological information concerning the construction and occupation of the site during the medieval and post-medieval periods. Organic materials, including evidence for the local environment in the past, are also likely to be preserved in the waterlogged deposits in the lower fill of the moat. The associated earthworks display no evidence of recent disturbance and, together with the moat, are considered to represent the remains of part of a small greenside hamlet, of a type characteristic in this part of Suffolk, where dispersed settlements, as opposed to nucleated villages, are common. The monument as a whole, in association with the second moated site to the south east, is of therefore of particular interest for the study of the historic pattern of rural settlement in this region.


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


The monument includes a moated site and adjacent earthworks which are considered to mark the remains of an associated settlement. These are located approximately 1.7km north west of St John the Baptist's Church and grouped around what was formerly the north western end of Shadingfield Common, enclosed at the beginning of the 19th century.

The moat, which ranges from about 3m to 7m in width and remains open to a depth of about 1m, encloses the east, west and north sides and the south west corner of a sub-rectangular central island with internal dimensions of approximately 65m WSW-ENE by 52m. It is thought that originally it extended along the south side and around the south east corner, and these parts, although now completely infilled, will survive as buried features. The eastern end of the northern arm of the moat has been enlarged externally to form a sub-rectangular pond, and is crossed immediately to the west of this by a causeway cut by a later, narrower ditch. Within the north eastern angle of the moat and linked to it by the remains of a short channel is an internal pond measuring approximately 15m north-south by 9m which was perhaps used for conserving a stock of fish.

The settlement remains are to the west of the moat and include a complex of at least seven small rectilinear enclosures bounded by partly infilled, intersecting ditches, visible as linear hollows ranging in width from about 4m to 7m and in depth from 0.25m to 0.75m. The enclosures vary in size from about 45m by 15m to at least 67m by 45m and have the appearance of tofts (enclosures) and closes. The complex is bounded on the south western side by the remains of a ditch which runs south east-north west across the south western side of the modern field and was probably connected originally to the southern arm of a second moated site, situated about 63m to the south east on the north side of the former common. This moated site is the subject of a separate scheduling. On the north eastern side of this boundary are two enclosures separated by a long, narrow strip about 4m wide, possibly a ditched causeway giving access to the other enclosures beyond. In the larger of the two, to the south east, there are two shallow depressions marking the remains of small sub-rectangular ponds which are linked by short channels to the ditches on the north west and south east sides, and in the north western corner of the same enclosure is a slightly raised area which may have supported a building. The slight remains of another possible building platform can be seen at the south eastern end of the adjoining smallest enclosure, near the centre of the complex. The largest of the visible enclosures, at the eastern extremity of the modern field, contains the remains of a third, rectangular pond adjacent to the existing and probably post-medieval boundary across its north western end. To the south west of the main earthwork complex, on the strip of ground between the boundary ditch on that side and the modern field boundary, is the site of a cottage which was owned by the parish and is shown standing between two ponds on a map dated 1839. One of these ponds still exists, and the site of the second is marked by a slight hollow in the ground surface about 33m to the south east of it.

Westend Farmhouse and its associated outbuildings, summer house and greenhouse which stand within the moated site, are excluded from the scheduling, together with parts of farm buildings which overlie the south eastern corner of the moat, garden walls, a raised flower bed adjacent to the house, clothes line posts, supports for an oil tank, inspection chambers, a septic tank, modern paving and the surfaces of paths and the driveway, drinking troughs, service poles and 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.


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

Legacy System number: 30576

Legacy System: RSM


CUCAP BEQ 75, 77, (1971)
Title: Map of Suffolk Source Date: 1783 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Shadingfield: Tithe Map and Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Suffolk RO Ref FDA 212/A1/1

End of official listing