Moated site at Cowlinge Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019524

Date first listed: 24-Jan-2001


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

County: Suffolk

District: St. Edmundsbury (District Authority)

Parish: Cowlinge

National Grid Reference: TL 71363 52467


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 Cowlinge Hall survives well. It remains largely undisturbed by post-medieval and modern activity and will retain buried evidence for structures and other features relating to the development and character of the site throughout its occupation. Buried soils beneath the external bank are also likely to retain evidence for earlier land use. The buried silts in the base of the south and east arms of the moat will contain artefacts relating to the period of occupation. Organic materials, including environmental evidence relating to the character of the landscape in which the moated site was set, are also likely to be preserved in waterlogged deposits in the moat.

Comparisons between this site and further examples, both locally and more widely, will provide valuable insights into the developments in the nature of settlement in medieval England.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site at Cowlinge Hall.

The moated site includes a trapezoidal island, measuring up to 56m north-south by 64m east-west. This is contained by a waterfilled moat measuring an average 12m in width. Outer banks, measuring up to 10m wide and 0.5m high and thought to have been constructed with material dug from the moat, are visible along the west, south and part of the eastern side. The causeway across the north arm of the moat towards the north east corner, is known to have been in use before 1846 and may represent the original access to the island whilst the footbridge which also crosses the north arm of the moat is believed to be modern. The centre of the island is occupied by Cowlinge Hall, a Listed Building Grade II thought to be of 16th century origin.

The moated site is thought to represent the manor of Cowlinge, which is mentioned in the late 13th century as being held by Geoffry de Aspale. By 1337 it had passed to Sir John de Aspale, who had a grant of free warren. In the 15th century the manor had descended through marriage to Philip Tilney and by the second half of the 16th century it was held by Charles Worliche who is known to have resided there.

Cowlinge Hall, the footbridge, greenhouse, watertank, all walls, sheds, outhouses, fences, gates, outside lamps, together with the surface of the patio, driveway and other modern made surfaces 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: 33288

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Copinger, W, 'The Manors of Suffolk' in Cowling, , Vol. V, (1909), 203-8
Title: Tithe Map and Apportionment of Cowlinge Source Date: 1846 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SRO(Bury): T74/1,2

End of official listing