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A moated site and associated garden earthworks 460m south east of Boys Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Sevington, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1302 / 51°7'48"N

Longitude: 0.8993 / 0°53'57"E

OS Eastings: 602957.989264

OS Northings: 140761.73921

OS Grid: TR029407

Mapcode National: GBR SYG.05X

Mapcode Global: VHKKN.JVSH

Entry Name: A moated site and associated garden earthworks 460m south east of Boys Hall

Scheduled Date: 11 March 1953

Last Amended: 21 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009006

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24401

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Sevington

Built-Up Area: Ashford (Ashford)

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Details

The monument includes a rectangular medieval moated site and associated garden
earthworks situated on low lying ground on the northern side of the broad
valley of the River East Stour.

The moated site is a NNW-SSE orientated island of 1.6ha surrounded by a
water-filled moat between 6m and 15m wide. On the outer side of the north
western and south eastern arms of the moat are earthworks indicating the
original causeways, which provided access onto the island. Although no
upstanding buildings survive, fragments of roof and floor tiles, building
mortar and medieval pottery sherds, indicating the former presence of a known
manorial residence, were found on the island during a recent archaeological
survey of the site. Traces of the buildings can be expected to survive as
buried features beneath the present ground surface.

Surrounding the moat are the remains of an elaborate formal garden believed to
have been laid out in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, some time after
the original construction of the moat, but before the abandonment of the site
as a residence by the 1630's. These garden earthworks include raised terraced
walkways, courts and complex arrangements of linear ponds and other water
features designed to enhance the setting of the manor house. These features
survive as earthworks up to 1.5m high.

The moated residence was the main home of the Barry family from the 13th
century until 1588. The Barrys were a leading Kent family, successive members
of whom are known to have held important public office in the county during
this time. In the 1620's, Thomas Boys demolished the medieval house, using the
materials to rebuild his main residence, Boys Hall, at nearby Willesborough.
During the excavation of land immediately adjacent to the north eastern
boundary of the monument in June 1993, linear ditches containing large
quantites of pottery sherds, animal bone and fragments of a quernstone dating
to the Late Iron Age (c.100BC-43AD) were discovered. The ditches were observed
to extend into the monument and indicate the remains of an earlier Iron Age
farm or settlement underlying the later manorial residence and gardens.

The fencing which defines the monument is excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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 and garden earthworks 460m south east of Boys Hall survive
well, despite some damage caused by the construction of the adjacent railway
line, recent levelling works next to the railway and peripheral excavations in
advance of the planned development of the surrounding land. The waterlogged
moat and garden ponds provide ideal conditions for the survival of organic
remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape
in which it was constructed.

Gardens have been a feature of higher status residences since at least Roman
times. In the medieval period, most gardens were relatively small and formal,
whilst later gardens were designed to be grand in scale and Romantic or
picturesque in form. Recurring themes are terraces, ponds, canals and viewing
points, and in the design of these there was a continuous interplay between
social aspirations, artistic aims and changing fashions. The earthwork remains
of such gardens are of importance as archaeological features, illustrating the
importance of recreational and ornamental surroundings to people of high
social status.

The garden earthworks surrounding the moat near Boys Hall are a good example
of the carefully planned elaboration of the grounds of an earlier manorial
residence. In addition, they are of the less common `water garden' type and
survive unaltered by later landscaping.

Excavations of the area surrounding the monument have shown that the valley
was farmed during the Iron Age and Romano-British periods (700BC-AD450), and
the remains of several farmsteads dating from this time were discovered
nearby. The Iron Age remains which underlie the medieval moated site are a
well-preserved example of this phase and illustrate the longevity and
diversity of human activity in the landscape over time.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Philp, B, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in Excavations on the Orbital Park Site - Ashford, (1991), 74-77
Philp, B, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in Excavations on the Orbital Park Site - Ashford, (1991), 74-77
Other
OAU, Boys Hall Moat, Archaeological Excavation, Interim Report, (1993)
OAU, Boys Hall Moat, Archaeological Excavation, Interim Report, (1993)
RCHME, Survey of Medieval Moated Site at Sevington, (1990)
RCHME, Survey of Medieval Moated Site at Sevington, (1990)
RCHME, Survey of moated site at Boys Hall, (1990)
RCHME, Survey of moated site at Boys Hall, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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