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Moated site and medieval field system in Church Field, 60m north of St John's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Terrington St. John, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7193 / 52°43'9"N

Longitude: 0.2782 / 0°16'41"E

OS Eastings: 553967.734715

OS Northings: 315954.95341

OS Grid: TF539159

Mapcode National: GBR M2M.K51

Mapcode Global: WHJP5.7XQ5

Entry Name: Moated site and medieval field system in Church Field, 60m north of St John's Church

Scheduled Date: 15 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009984

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20821

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Terrington St. John

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Terrington St John

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument, which is located towards the northern end of the village of
Terrington St John, includes a rectangular moated site overlying, and partly
incorporating, a series of four parallel ditches which form part of a medieval
field system. It also includes a section of the western side of a medieval
drove road which borders the field system. The site lies on Fen silts
deposited after the Roman period.
The four ditches run east-west and are visible as earthworks approximately
0.5m deep, 4m-5m wide and 80m in length. They divide field strips, known as
`dylings', ranging in width from 17m to 28m, and they terminate in a line
approximately 50m from the western edge of the drove, which is visible as a
slight scarp in the ground surface. The drove road ran from Terrington St
Clement southward to the Smeeth.
The moated site measures 44m north-south overall, and the original dimensions
east-west are estimated to be similar. The moat ditches, which contain no
water, are 7m-8m in width and up to 1.5m deep. The northern and southern
arms of the moat were constructed by widening and deepening opposing sections
of the two southernmost of the field ditches, approximately 40m from their
eastern end. The north-south connecting ditch, which forms the eastern arm,
extends approximately 6m south of the south eastern angle of the moat towards
an irregular pond which still contains some water. The western arm of the
moat lies beyond the boundary of Church Field, and does not survive as a
visible earthwork. The moat encloses a central island measuring 28m north-
south by at least 31m east-west and with a level surface. The moated site
was evidently constructed at a relatively late date in the medieval period,
since it is clearly later than the field system. It does not correspond to any
of the manorial sites known from documentary sources, but the location
adjacent to the church suggests that it may be the site of the vicarage.
The fence and hedges surrounding Church Field are excluded from the
scheduling, although where these features cross the earthworks on the western
side of the field, the ground beneath them is included.

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 in Church Field survives well, as do the remains of the
earlier field system and the adjacent drove. The monument will retain
archaeological information concerning the construction and use of a moated
site of non-manorial status, of which there are very few in the region, as
well as of earlier and contemporary land use around it. It also preserves
evidence of a relationship between three elements of the local medieval
landscape which is of particular interest. It shows a development of the site
over a period of time, including the change in use from agriculture to
domestic occupation and the adaptation of agricultural features in the
construction of the moat, and it illustrates the relationship between the
drove and the settlement alongside it.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Silverster, R J, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project 3: Norfolk Survey, Marshland and Nar Valley, , Vol. 45, (), 44
Silverster, R J, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project 3: Norfolk Survey, Marshland and Nar Valley, , Vol. 45, (), 45
Silverster, R J, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project 3: Norfolk Survey, Marshland and Nar Valley, , Vol. 45, (), 45
Dossier compiled for H B M C, Leah M D & Mathews M, Fenland Evaluation Project: Terrington St John 30, (1989)
Dossier for H B M C, Davison, A, Fenland Evaluation Project, Norfolk, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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