Moated site, formerly the site of Rushbrooke Hall, 400m south west of Poplar Meadow
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- St. Edmundsbury (District Authority)
- Rushbrooke with Rougham
- National Grid Reference:
- TL 89069 61129
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 of Rushbrooke Hall displays a wide variety of features, including extensive remains of an early post-medieval moated mansion, and will retain much archaeological information concerning its construction and occupation. In addition to the above ground remains surviving in the form of brick revetting, the bases of towers, the brick bridge and the causeway, extensive buried remains of the 16th century hall in the form of foundations survive on the island, together with cellars beneath the surface of the island. The well documented historical association of the site with the Rushbrooke and Jermyn families is also of great interest. The ornamental canal to the north is a type of water feature often associated with early post-medieval gardens attached to high status houses. Comparisons between this site and others, both locally and more widely, will provide valuable insights into the developments in the nature of settlement and society in the medieval and post-medieval periods.
The monument includes a medieval moated site, formerly occupied by Rushbrooke
Hall, with an associated ornamental canal, located immediately to the west of
the Old Pump House and 470m to the south west of the parish church of
Rushbrooke. The moated site contains the remains of a great house built in the
mid-16th century for the Jermyn family.
Rushbrooke Hall, a red brick, two storey building, was E-shaped in plan and
dated from about 1550. It was constructed around a courtyard, about 30m square
with the main range of the house running along the north side of the moat and
two long projecting wings along the east and west sides. At the four outer
corners of the wings were polygonal turrets, three storeys high, capped with
low cupolas. Access to the main range on the south side of Rushbrooke Hall was
via the central porch, built of Barnack stone. Alterations made to the house
in about 1735 included the complete modernisation of the north side of the
building. The house was demolished in 1962 and is recorded in descriptions and
The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island which measures up to 60m
east-west by 54m north-south and is raised by about 1m above the surrounding
ground surface. It is enclosed by a water-filled moat measuring up to 16m wide
and 3m deep.
The outer walls of the 16th century house rose directly above the inner edge
of the moat, and the brick footings of these walls survive as a revetment on
all four sides of the island. The foundations of the brick corner turrets
survive to the height of the island and an arch and window in the east side of
the brick revetment locate the cellars sited beneath the wing on this side of
the house. The brick revetting extends to the wide causeway across the north
arm of the moat, and here it is decorated with blank arches.
The main approach to Rushbrooke Hall across the southern arm of the moat was
by the brick bridge supported on two arches. The bridge links up with both the
brick revetting around the island and also the brick revetting along the outer
edge of the southern arm of the moat which rises upwards into a brick wall. At
certain times of the year the original outline of the walls of the house can
be identified by parchmarks on the surface of the island.
An ornamental canal approximately 5m from the north west corner of the moat,
and aligned with the west arm, has been infilled but survives as a buried
feature. The canal, which measures 114m long by up to 18m wide and which in
1970 measured an average depth of 2m, is thought to represent an ornamental
feature within the former parkland, contemporary with the moated site.
The manor of Rushbrooke is named after the Rushbrook family who owned lands in
the parish of Rushbrooke from the 12th century. Between 1230 and 1703 the
manor was held by the Jermyn family. Thomas Jermyn's will of 1552 mentions his
`chambers in the new works' together with `the chambers all above as well as
those beneath next the ground', perhaps indicating the newly built Rushbrooke
Hall. Sir Robert Jermyn was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I in 1578 and is
recorded as entertaining the Queen at Rushbrooke Hall on two occasions. The
estate remained in the Jermyn family until the early 18th century, when it
passed by marriage to the Davers family who held it until 1806. It was
subsequently sold to Robert Rushbrooke, whose family owned the house until
1919. In 1938 ownership of the manor was taken over by the Rothschild family.
The fences which follow the south and west sides of the moated site are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Barker, H R, West Suffolk Illustrated, (1907), 310-12
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Suffolk, (1974), 409-10
RCHM, , Site of Rushbrooke Hall, (1970)
Copinger, W, 'The Manors of Suffolk' in The Manors of Suffolk, , Vol. VI, (1910), 329-338
Paine, C, 'Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History' in Rushbrooke Hall, , Vol. 39 Pt 2, (1998), 264,265
copies of photos in Estate office, Rushbrooke Hall,
NAU 13354/9,16, Norfolk Museums Service, Rushbrooke Hall, (1991)
OF 19 (TL 891 612), CUCAP, Rushbrooke Hall, (1954)
Title: 1st Edition 25" Ordnance Survey Map Source Date: 1886 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SRO(Bury): 44.16
Title: Tithe Map of Rushbrooke Source Date: 1843 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SRO(Bury): T59/1,2
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing