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Moated site at Letheringham Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Letheringham, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.1735 / 52°10'24"N

Longitude: 1.3327 / 1°19'57"E

OS Eastings: 627973.831819

OS Northings: 258038.369913

OS Grid: TM279580

Mapcode National: GBR WP7.MRQ

Mapcode Global: VHLBB.1MWP

Entry Name: Moated site at Letheringham Hall

Scheduled Date: 12 April 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009644

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21300

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Letheringham

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Letheringham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a sub-rectangular moated site located on the east side
of the River Deben, adjacent to Letheringham Mill and close to the site of
Letheringham church which lay to the north and was demolished in the late
17th century.

The water-filled moat, which surrounds a central island raised 0.5m to 1m
above the general ground level, is approximately 2.5m in depth and varies
between 7m and 15m in width, with overall maximum dimensions of 75m north-
east/south-west by 70m north-west/south-east. A short channel, at one time
approximately 3m wide but now partly narrowed, leads from the river into the
north end of the south-western arm. The south-eastern arm of the moat is
crossed by a causeway which is faced with brickwork dated in part to the 15th
or 16th century. The south-eastern face of the island to either side of the
causeway is revetted variously with flint and mortar, ashlar and brick, and
the section of this revetment to the south of the causeway includes the
projecting bases of two buttresses or turrets. Fragments of revetting survive
also on the south-western face and at the northern end of the north-west side.
The causeway and the revetment and associated structures to the south of it,
which together are listed Grade II, are included in the scheduling, as are all
of the surviving revetment and the north wall of an outbuilding to the rear of
the house, on the inner edge of the north western arm of the moat, which
incorporates sandstone blocks. These structures remain as visible evidence of
the important mansion which occupied the site during the 15th and 16th
centuries and which was the seat of the Wingfield family, including Sir
Anthony Wingfield, Vice-Chamberlain to Henry VIII and Comptroller of the
Household to Edward VI. The manor was held after the Norman Conquest by
Geoffrey de Mandeville, by the de Glanville family and then the de Boviles
from whom it passed to the Wingfields, following the marriage of Margery de
Bovile to Sir Thomas Wingfield in the mid-14th century.

The house which now stands on the island has been dated to the 17th century
and is not known to include any part of the earlier Hall. It is listed Grade
II and is excluded from the scheduling, as are the associated outbuildings,
yard, the driveway and all service pipes and inspection chambers, but the
ground beneath all these buildings and features is included.

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.

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 of Letheringham Hall survives well and retains good
archeological evidence, including the revetment of the inner face of the moat,
for the important medieval house which once occupied the central platform.
Further evidence for medieval and post-medieval occupation will be contained
in deposits on the island and information concerning earlier land use will be
preserved in soils buried beneath the raised surface. It is a good example
of a moat fed by water from an adjacent river and the low-lying situation
contrasts with the hill-top location and very different character of the
nearby moated site of Letheringham Lodge. The historical link between these
two sites and their connection with the locally and nationally prominent
Wingfield family during the 15th and 16th centuries adds further interest.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Kirby, J, The Suffolk Traveller, (1735)
Clarke, P, (1992)
Martin, E, Suffolk SMR Parish File LRM 001, (1991)
NAR TM 25 NE 2, (1992)
Typescript in possession of owner, Dyke, G, Letheringham Old Hall,

Source: Historic England

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