Moated site at Depden Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019804

Date first listed: 09-Mar-2001


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Depden 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: Depden

National Grid Reference: TL 77390 56880


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 Depden Hall survives well with a variety of early features and additional structural remains. The greater part remains largely undisturbed by post-medieval and modern activity and will retain buried evidence for additional structures and other features relating to the development and character of the manorial site throughout its periods of occupation. Buried silts in the base of the south, east and west arms of the moat will contain artefacts relating to the period of occupation. Organic remains including evidence for the local environment in the past are also likely to be preserved in waterlogged deposits in the moat. In addition, it is believed that further remains of the timber bridge, possibly representing the original access point to the island, will survive in the silts and waterlogged deposits of the moat.

Comparisons between this site and with 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 Depden Hall, 480m to the north west of Depden parish church.

The moated site includes a sub-rectangular island, measuring up to 76m north to south by 60m east to west. This is surrounded by a water-filled moat measuring an average 14m in width. A modern brick bridge provides access to the island across the north arm of the moat. In 1984 the north arm, which was previously infilled and survived as a buried feature, was re-excavated in order to create a continuous moat around the island. These excavations revealed the remains of brick and stone revetting around the north side of the island, which are considered to date from the 17th century. The revetting is aligned with a group of timbers, believed to be the remains of a timber bridge, which would have, at one time, crossed the north arm of the moat. Drainage of the moat in 1994 exposed the remains of another line of walling, slightly to the north, which has been dated to the Tudor period. This earlier wall appears to have continued around the north east, and perhaps also the north west, corners of the island. Both the 16th century walling/revetment and the 17th century revetting along the north arm of the moat are included in the scheduling. Depden Hall, which is a Listed Building Grade II and dates from the 17th century, is sited towards the north west corner of the island.

The moated site is thought to represent the manor of Depden, which was held from 1275 until the late 14th century by the de Wancey family. In the 15th century it came into the ownership of Thomas Gournay and continued in his family until well into the 16th century. By the end of the 16th century the manor was held by John Jermyn and his son Thomas before being passed into the Coell family who retained ownership up until the late 17th century.

Depden Hall and its associated cellar, the modern brick bridge and the modern brickwork above the 17th century revetting, the summer house, the jetty and associated steps at the south west corner of the island, the oil tank, all modern walls, sheds, outhouses, fences, gates, together with the surface of the 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: 33308

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Copinger, W, 'The Manors of Suffolk' in Manor of Depden, , Vol. V, (1909), 231-233
SMR, Carr, R, Site visit notes, (1984)
SMR, Martin, E A, Site visit notes, (1994)

End of official listing