Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Fawns Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1625 / 55°9'44"N

Longitude: -1.9902 / 1°59'24"W

OS Eastings: 400719.252401

OS Northings: 585348.357101

OS Grid: NZ007853

Mapcode National: GBR G8JR.X6

Mapcode Global: WHB1G.DHHR

Entry Name: Moated site at Fawns Farm

Scheduled Date: 11 September 1963

Last Amended: 2 December 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011105

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21001

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirkwhelpington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirkwhelpington with Kirkharle and Kirkheaton

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a medieval moated site situated adjacent to the present
farm. The moated site is roughly rectangular in shape with a rounded northern
end, and is orientated north-west to south-east; it measures 120m by 95m
within a broad flat bottomed ditch 6m wide. There is a large stoney external
bank which stands to 1.8m above the bottom of the ditch and an internal bank
standing to 1.2m above the bottom of the ditch. The internal bank has been
faced with roughly coursed stonework. The interior of the moated site contains
the remains of at least four slightly raised rectangular building platforms
situated on the western side of the enclosure, and traces of several
associated enclosure walls. The largest building platform is 25m by 10m and is
thought to be the site of the bastle known to exist at Fawns in 1541. The
entrance to the moated site is in the north-west corner where a deep hollow
way enters the enclosure. An interesting feature of this monument is the
curious bend or re-entrant in the surrounding ditch at the north-east corner
of the moated site; this is suggestive of an earlier structure on the site.
The earliest mention of Fawns in documentary sources is in a reference to John
de Fawnes in 1303, and Fawns is again recorded in 1421 as a part of the
manor of Wallington. At the southern end of the site are at least two
rectangular hollowed out enclosures, one lies within the moated site at the
south-west corner while the other is a later feature attached to the southern
end of the site; these are thought to be the sites of fishponds.

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 at Fawns is exceptionally well preserved and is one of few
surviving examples in Northumberland. The site displays a wide range of
features including associated buildings on the internal island. The re-entrant
of the ditch at the north-east corner indicates the existence of an earlier
phase of settlement.

Source: Historic England

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