Moated site at Moat Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018965

Date first listed: 03-Apr-2000


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Moat Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 15:01:40.


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 42791 85163


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 principal moated site at Moat Farm survives well and the moat and buried deposits on the central island will contain archaeological information concerning its construction and occupation during the medieval period.

The associated small moat, considered to be the site of a dovecote, is a good example of a comparatively rare feature, as the majority of dovecotes are not known to have been moated. During the medieval period pigeons were a valuable source of both meat and manure, and the building of large, free standing dovecotes in order to breed them and ensure a regular supply of these commodities was originally a privilege confined to the manorial classes. Surviving examples dating from this period are therefore generally associated with castles, monasteries, manor houses and manor farms. The majority of those constructed before 1400 were circular in plan, although rectangular dovecotes became increasingly common from late medieval times. Buried deposits on the raised central platform are likely to contain evidence for the date, construction and use of such a building. Organic materials, including evidence for the local environment in the past, are also likely to be preserved in waterlogged deposits which survive in the surrounding moat.

The monument as a whole is situated close to a second moated site and other earthwork remains which represent elements of a small medieval settlement clustered around the western end of a green in a manner characteristic of this part of Suffolk, where dispersed settlements, as opposed to nucleated villages, are common. As a group they are 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 an adjacent small moated island which is thought to be the site of an associated dovecote. The moated site is located approximately 1.5km north west of St John the Baptist's Church, alongside the north western end of what was formerly Shadingfield Common, enclosed at the beginning of the 19th century. To the north west of the earthwork there are remains of a medieval settlement and a second moated site which are the subject of a separate scheduling.

The moat, which is water-filled and approximately 6m wide, extends along the northern and western sides and around the north eastern and south western corners of a rectangular central island with internal dimensions of about 90m WNW-ESE by 75m. It is thought that originally it also enclosed the south eastern part of the central island, and although this part has been infilled, it will survive as a buried feature. The eastern end of the northern arm has been enlarged externally to form a sub-rectangular pond measuring about 24m east-west by 21m, and at the centre of the moated island is a separate pond measuring about 22m in length east-west by 6m, although it is depicted on an early 19th century map as somewhat wider. The western end of this central pond is linked to the southern arm of the moat by a partly infilled channel, the southern end of which remains visible as a linear hollow about 3m wide. A house, considered to be largely 16th century in date, stands on the eastern side of the central island, and to the south west of this an 18th century barn. The house, which is a Listed Building Grade II* and the barn, which is a Listed Building Grade II, are both excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

The second, much smaller moat, which is sub-rectangular, with maximum overall dimensions of about 32m WNW-ESE by 25m, lies approximately 20m to the north of the northern arm of the first and is connected to it by a partly infilled channel about 3.5m wide. The north western corner of this moat projects outward, with an extension about 4m wide running north westwards. The extension has been largely infilled, although it will survive as a buried feature, and the site is marked by a slight depression in the ground surface. The moat surrounds a roughly rectangular central island, raised about 1.2m above the prevailing ground level and with dimensions of about 12.5m east-west by 8m, and is identified as the site of a dovecote.

The house and barn, all associated outbuildings, standing walls, concrete surfaces, modern fence posts and service poles are excluded from the scheduling, 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: 30577

Legacy System: RSM


Title: Shadingfield: Tithe Map Source Date: 1839 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Suffolk RO Ref FDA 212/A1/1
Title: Tithe Map: Shadingfield Source Date: 1839 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Suffolk RO ref FDA 212/A/1

End of official listing