Moated site 530m north east of Manor Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020790

Date first listed: 16-Oct-2002


Ordnance survey map of Moated site 530m north east of Manor Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: Breckland (District Authority)

Parish: Colkirk

National Grid Reference: TF 93166 25927


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.

Fishponds are an artificially created pool of slow moving freshwater constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to provide a constant and sustainable food supply. Groups of up to twelve ponds variously arranged in a single line or in a cluster joined by leats have been recorded. Fishponds were maintained by a water management system which included inlet and outlet channels. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds in England began during the medieval period and peaked in the 12th century and they were largely built by the wealthy sectors of society. The moated site and associated ponds 530m north east of Manor Farm survive well as a series of earthwork and buried deposits. The buried remains will include archaeological information concerning the construction of the moat, the layout and construction of buildings which stood on the island and activities relating to its occupation. Waterlogged deposits in the moat and ponds will preserve organic remains (such as timber, leather and seeds) which will give an insight into the domestic and economic activity on the site and the local environment in the past. Evidence for earlier land use is also likely to be preserved in soils buried beneath the artificially raised platform.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site located approximately 530m north east of Manor Farm. In 1086 land at Colkirk was in the possession of Bishop of Thetford, William de Beaufoe, and from an early stage was held by the de Colkirk family. In the 12th century it passed by marriage to Roger de St Denys and subsequently to the de la Rokeles. In the 14th century it was held by the Baynards and descended, by marriage, through the Tilney and Bourchier families to the Knevets in the 16th century. The site is said to have been occupied by a hall which was abandoned in the mid-16th century. The moated platform, or island, is sub-circular in plan, measuring approximately 62m north-south by 50m, and the northern end is raised up to 1m above the surrounding ground level. It is surrounded by a moat which measures up to 10m wide and open to a depth of 2m and is partly water-filled. A low earthen causeway, measuring about 3m in width, crosses the western arm of the moat and is thought to indicate the position of an original access point. An east-west linear cropmark, visible on aerial photographs, is believed to mark the line of a former road leading towards the causeway. The cropmark feature is not included in the scheduling. Two sub-rectangular external ponds, interpreted as adjacent fishponds, are connected to the moat at the north east corner. The northern of the two is linked to the moat by a short channel which perhaps contained a sluice to control the flow of water, and the second, to the south of this, opens directly into the moat. The two ponds are separated by a low east-west baulk about 1.5m wide, and together occupy an area measuring approximately 30m north-south by 20m. A dry hollow and associated inlet channels, thought to be the remains of another fishpond and water management system, lie adjacent to the north west corner of the moat. The hollow is rhomboidal in plan, measuring 5m by 3m and up to 2m deep. Its longest side lies parallel to the moat, separated from it by a 1.5m wide earthen bank. The two inlet channels, separated by a mound, issue into the north east and north west corners of the hollow. All fence posts 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: 35067

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk , (1808)
Norfolk SMR, NF11373, (2001)
Norfolk SMR, NF7122, (2001)

End of official listing