Moated site immediately south east of St Mary's Church


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Moated site immediately south east of St Mary's Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Mid Suffolk (District Authority)
Brome and Oakley
National Grid Reference:
TM 14599 76428

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 immediately south east of St Mary's Church survives well and the moat, external bank and deposits on the central island will contain archaeological information concerning its original construction and occupation during the medieval period. Organic materials, including evidence for the local environment in the past, are also likely to be preserved in waterlogged deposits in the moat and external pond. The association with an adjacent moated site which has been demonstrated by excavation to have been the site of a medieval hall gives the monument additional interest.


The monument includes a moated site next to the south east boundary of St Mary's churchyard. A second moated site about 25m to the north east was excavated and levelled in 1967 and is not included.

The moat, which is wet and open to a depth of about 1m, ranges from approximately 8m to 10m in width and surrounds a central island with internal dimensions of about 54m NNW-SSE by 27m. From the south east corner an outlet approximately 6m wide and 20m in length extends eastwards to connect with a field drain. The northern arm of the moat is bordered by an external bank about 1.3m high and 8m wide at the eastern end, spreading to 14m in width at the lower, western end. The northern end of the western arm has been enlarged externally to a width of up to 14m to create what was probably a horse pond, and a causeway to the south of this, giving access to the central island, is also a post-medieval feature.

An external pond approximately 49m in length and up to 18m wide adjoins the eastern arm of the moat. It is connected to the eastern arm by a channel about 5m long and 6m wide, and a partly silted outlet channel issues from the southern end into the outlet from the south east corner of the moat. The pond was probably constructed originally for the conservation of a stock of fish for domestic consumption.

The excavation of the moated site to the north east revealed evidence for a timber aisled hall occupied from the late 12th to the early 14th century and probably contemporary in its origins with the moat which surrounded it. This was identified as the probable site of Davillers manor, an interpretation supported by the evidence of a map made in 1726 which records the name of a field to the east of the two moats as Davellers. The manor was held by Hugh de Avilers in the time of William the Conqueror and remained in the family until the death of Bartholomew Davillers, the last in the male line, in 1331, after which it passed to his daughters and their heirs. The date fits that of the evidence for the abandonment of the north western moated site. It is probable that the surviving moated site was part of the same manor and may have been occupied by bailiffs of the lord of the manor up to the mid-16th century, when the manor passed to Sir Thomas Cornwallis. No house remained on it in 1664, however, when the field which contained both moated sites was described as a `meadow' and `grove'.

Modern fence posts and a beam which serves as a bridge across the northern arm of the moat 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.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
West, S E, 'J Brit Archaeol Assoc' in Brome, Suffolk: The Excavation of a Moated Site, 1967, , Vol. 33, (1970), 89-121


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

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