Moated site at Gayton Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019329

Date first listed: 18-Jul-2000


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

County: Norfolk

District: King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Gayton

National Grid Reference: TF 73085 18956


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 Gayton Hall survives as a well preserved example of this class of medieval monument. The moat itself has been altered very little by the landscaping of the adjacent stream and ponds and will retain evidence of its original construction. Buried deposits on the central island, which remains largely undisturbed by modern activity, will contain archaeological information concerning its occupation and use during the medieval period. The monument has additional interest in relation to two other medieval sites which survive in Gayton, the remains of a house and associated garden and an area of medieval settlement, which are the subject of separate schedulings.


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


The monument includes a moated site located approximately 21m to the south west of Gayton Hall, at the south eastern end of Gayton village. The moat, which is between 8m and 10m wide and water-filled, surrounds a roughly rectangular central island measuring approximately 50m WSW-ENE by 40m. On a map dated 1726 two rectangular fishponds are shown in line westwards from the south west corner of the moat, with a stream named Gayton River which rises in Springhead Plantation, about 280m to the south east, running some 12m to the south of the southern arm of the moat and the ponds and roughly parallel to them. The stream and ponds were landscaped at the beginning of the 19th century to form a serpentine water feature, and the site of the ponds is not included in the scheduling. The southern arm of the moat is joined to this landscaped water feature at its south western and south eastern corners, but much of the original strip of land which lay between the moat and adjacent pond and the original stream to the south of them is preserved in the form of two linear islands, one of which marks the outer edge of the southern arm of the moat, and the moated site otherwise shows little alteration from its appearance in the early 18th century.

It is probable that the moat was occupied by a medieval manor house. On the early 18th century map and in an accompanying field book the moated site is shown and described within an enclosure named as Abbots, which provides evidence of a link between the moat and a manor known as Gayton Abbots, Wendling Abbots or Wendlings. This manor was held by Wendling Abbey before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and after the Dissolution was vested in the Crown. In 1572 it was granted by Elizabeth I to Thomas Jennyns and Edward Forth, and in 1609 it was granted by James I to Sir Edmund Mundeford, who sold it to Samson Hopes in 1619. Subsequently it was joined with Gayton or Egerton manor, which in 1726 was in the ownership of Robert Iacomb. The manor house of the combined manors at that time was Gayton Hall (now Hall Farm), which had been built around 1587, about 66m to the north. The building now known as Gayton Hall was built as a shooting box at the beginning of the 19th century.

A summer house on the central island, a rustic bridge supported on modern concrete and brick abutments and a modern fence adjacent to the outer edge of the northern arm of the moat 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. 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: 30581

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk , (1808), 432
Cutting, W A, Gleanings about Gayton in the Olden Time, (1889)
NRO Ref BIR 190 398x, Field book, (1726)
Title: Map of Gayton Source Date: 1726 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: NRO Ref BL41/4

End of official listing