Moated site at Denham Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019803

Date first listed: 09-Mar-2001


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Denham 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: Denham

National Grid Reference: TL 75719 61753


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 Denham Hall survives well. The island remains largely undisturbed by post-medieval and modern activity and will retain archaeological evidence for structures and other features relating to the development and character of the site throughout its periods of occupation. The remains of the banqueting house indicate the high status of the manor and reflect the wealth and social standing of the inhabitants of Denham Hall. The well documented historical association of the site with the Heigham and Lewkenor families adds considerably to the interest of the moated site.

Comparisons between this site and further examples, both locally and more widely, will provide valuable insights into the development and 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 Denham Hall which is situated 150m to the south east of St Mary's parish church.

The moated site includes a rectangular island which measures 136m NNW to SSE by a maximum of 56m ENE to WSW. The island is surrounded by a water-filled moat measuring up to 15m wide. Access across the moat is via two causeways; the causeway across the NNW arm has traces of brick revetting, and it is probable that it contains the remains of a brick bridge representing the original access to the island. The causeway across the WSW arm is thought to be a more recent addition.

Denham Hall, a timber framed Listed Building Grade II, which dates from the early 16th century, is situated on the NNW half of the island. Additions were made to the Hall in the late 16th and late 17th centuries, and it was encased in brick during works carried out in the 19th century. A ruined brick structure and associated brick revetting, which stands on the very northern corner of the island overlooking the moat on its NNW and ENE sides, is included in the scheduling. The structure, which is thought to date to the late 16th or early 17th century, is a Listed Building Grade II and is believed to have been a banqueting house, an ornamental building situated in a formal garden, where the final course of a meal might be served to guests. It may originally have been of two storeys and is built of red brick laid in English bond and decorated with dressed ashlar quoins at the four corners. The NNW side of the building has a mullioned window with ovolo mouldings. On the ENE side of the banqueting house are the remains of a doorway which has a wooden lintel beneath a pediment arch. There are two rectangular niches on the inner face of the SSE wall. The banqueting house is linked to the north corner of Denham Hall by a brick wall along the WNW side of the island. This wall is also Listed Grade II and is thought to post-date both structures.

The manor of Denham is first mentioned in the 13th century, under the ownership of the de Say family who held it until at least the mid-14th century. It is probable that the moat was constructed during this time. In 1396 the manor was purchased by Robert Hethe of Little Saxham and continued in his family until 1481. It was then acquired by the Heigham family who appear to have continued living at Higham Hall in Gazeley until the mid-16th century. In 1548 the manor was settled on Thomas Heigham on his marriage to Martha Jermyn, and they took up residence in Denham; it is believed that the present Denham Hall was built at this time. After both Thomas and Martha's deaths the manor was inherited by their daughter Susan and her husband Sir Edward Lewkenor. In 1605 the manor passed to their son, also Sir Edward Lewkenor who occupied Denham Hall until his death in 1618. The sermon at his funeral records that he `reered up one building near his own hous, furnished it with a large table to the onely use and release of the poore, that thrice a weeke resorted thither and were liberally provided for at his great expences'. It has been suggested that the building mentioned in the sermon was the banqueting house standing today on the northern corner of the island and would therefore date it to between 1605 and 1618. The manor continued in the Lewkenor family well into the 17th century before passing by marriage into the Townshend family who held the manor until 1795. The Denham Parish Register of 1892 states that Sarah Halls, tenant at Denham Hall, records a detached building `wainscotted with oak' standing on the west side of the house, which her husband's mother used as a dairy. It has been suggested that this building, no longer standing, may have been originally a detached kitchen associated with the hall.

Denham Hall and associated conservatories, the wall connecting the Hall to the banqueting house, the garage, fuel tank, all paved surfaces, fences, paths and inspection covers are all 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: 33307

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Copinger, W, 'The Manors of Suffolk' in Manor of Denham, , Vol. V, (1909), 220-224
Copinger, W, 'The Manors of Suffolk' in Manor of Denham, , Vol. V, (1905), 220-224
Grade II 5/24, Denham Hall and gazebo with linking brick wall, (1955)
Grade II 5/24, Denham Hall and gazebo with linking brick wall, (1955)
Hervey, S H A (editor), Denham Parish Registers, 1905, SRO (Bury)
Hervey, S H A, Denham Parish Register, 1905, SRO (Bury)
Notes in SMR, Martin, E, Denham Hall, (1999)
SMR, Martin, E, Letter to Mrs Farrow, 1, Denham Hall, (1996)

End of official listing